Friday, June 6, 2014

Portland with Amy and a Baby: Part II

After we finished up our hike to Upper Latourell
Falls, Amy and I continued driving down the Columbia River scenic highway to Sheppard's Dell Falls. I'd learned from the tour guide at the Vista House that I hadn't seen this one yet. I thought I had since it's a roadside waterfall and Oscar and I have driven on the scenic highway before, but he told us that the waterfall's shape forces you to leave your vehicle and at least peer over the bridge in order to see it. The pic on the left is what you will see from the bridge (which is actually much cooler and scarier than it looks in the picture), and there is a little trail that will lead you down under the bridge to closer views.
Once you go down the first steps on the trail, you can get this nice view of the main drop (upper right pic). It winds you down and around the bridge to a lookout for the middle drops (upper left pic), and you can also see the top of the main drop from here (middle pic). As you hike there's a small upper drop that can be seen through the trees, but as far as I could tell there was no way to view it properly or get a decent picture of it from the trail. The World of Waterfalls, however, were able to get it in this picture they took from a separate turnoff.   
Amy appreciated all the moss and other foliage we passed through along our way. She kept pointing out pretty little flowers that I wouldn't have noticed if I'd come on my own.
Next we kept our raincoats on for a short, steep hike down to Bridal Veil Falls. I last visited it in the fall when it appears more veil like, but it was cool to see it in the spring too. It was still beautiful, but less obvious why it's named "bridal veil falls." You can climb down some slippery rocks to get to the base, but the view's actually not as good from there (right pic). You'll get a closer shot of the lower drop, but your view of the top drop is cut in half.
Next we drove down to Wahclella and the famous Multnomah Falls.
We're so cute! Amy caught a great pic of me that looks like I'm smiling before I eat a semi! The pic on the right taken in the Multnomah Falls parking lot gives some good perspective for the height of the waterfall. The blue dot next to the right side of my head is a guy wearing jeans.

And to finish up our daily waterfalling, we made one last stop at Horsetail Falls. It was deserted in spite of the large parking lot across the street. I think most tourists miss it since it's after Multnomah. If they've also seen Latourell, Sheppard's Dell, Bridal Veil, and Wahclella Falls, they assume they've seen it all or just feel too exhausted to continue even if they do know it's there. They must not know that it only takes a few minutes to drive to and can be viewed from the road. There are actually many other pretty falls along the gorge that are also east of Multnomah, but they would require hiking and a much longer amount of time.

The next day was very rainy, which put a damper on being able to take Amy to more pretty scenery. But we did have a few indoor things planned, including touring the Pittock mansion and eating at Rheinlanders. There's a lovely view of Portland from the Pittock mansion grounds, which would be about twice as beautiful on a clear day with Mt Hood in the background. It also just happened to be half off admission that day, which was a nice little surprise for us.

The tour guide said the Pittock daughters' old piano is still kept in tune, and they invited anyone to play it if they wanted to. I was the only pianist in the group, but I don't have any piano music memorized, so I asked if they had sheet music I could look at. She said no, but when I passed by, I saw there was a piece on the piano already opened that just happened to be at my intermediate level. The tour guide had continued talking about the next room on the tour, but once I started playing, everyone turned to listen and applauded me when I was done. I'm not the greatest pianist, but I'm a pretty good sight reader as long as it's not beyond my own playing abilities. I made a few mistakes, but fortunately nothing too noticeable.
 They had some delicious waxed pears for me to eat!
Oscar played with Tyler during the day, who seemed to be his normal playful self. We had no sign that he would end up needing to go the hospital the next day. That night we took him out to Rheinlanders where he was fascinated watching the accordion player and all the servers in lederhosen.

Ty ended up in the hospital for the next two days (more about that in the next post), and since Oscar and I stayed with him, Amy was stuck back at the Hansens' house without a car or wireless internet. She spent the time eating pizza and Tyler's Trix while watching some Redbox movies and working on her novel. She also had to call a locksmith after accidentally locking herself out of her room the night before. Since her clothes and computer were all in there, she needed to get back in. I couldn't reach the Hansens on Charlie's cell phone to ask where the key was, and they wouldn't be home until the day before Amy had to fly back home. We spent the previous evening trying to open her door with bobby pins and stainless steel zip ties, I scoured their house and tried opening the lock with any additional keys I could find, and Oscar went to several different stores looking for a lock opening kit (he never found one. Apparently they only sell them seasonally). Nothing would make this door budge. Amy tells me even the locksmith had a hard time with the door. It took him about 15 minutes of hard work and the right tools to get her door to open. Those are some crazy sturdy locks!
After we were discharged from the hospital, we drove right home during rush hour. Fortunately Oscar's GPS took us around the traffic and over the Lewis and Clark bridge (which Oscar informed Amy was not actually built by Lewis and Clark). We drove through rain and then through a rainbow on the way back. It started small but then grew into a beautiful double rainbow (all the way across the sky). After all the craziness and stress of Ty's hospital stay, it was a nice omen to go home with.

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