A couple years ago, we were driving from Washington to Idaho and we came across Multnomah Falls. Our friends told us to look out for it as we were driving but we took it a step further and stopped to take a look. Unfortunately, there had been fires that summer and all the trails had been shut down. So we looked from afar and then got back in the car and kept on driving.
This year, on our way from Washington to Idaho we made plans to hike up to the overlook bridge which is the easiest paved .2 mile trail. (We had to make a reservation on the reservervation.gov website.)
Within minutes, we were standing on the bridge looking at the waterfall a little closer than the previous vantage point. But when we stood there looking up at the beautiful waterfall cascading down, we realized there was an even better vantage point if we hiked further. We asked a few people who were making their way down the trail and they said it was a climb, but it was worth the hike. The map showed it was a mile up…switchbacks.
4 of my 5 kids wanted to keep hiking. We were this close, and we probably wouldn’t hike this again. I had one kid (who shall remain unnamed), that was overly anxious for the 6 hour drive ahead of us that day so he could see cousins. He was outnumbered and so we pressed forward hiking.
It was quite the climb. It started out fairly easy, and it got progressively more steep the higher we climbed. We took some shady breaks between switchbacks, cooled off and enjoyed the beautiful views.
In the end, we were rewarded with a beautiful (but cold) stream that turned into the magic that is Multnomah Falls. It’s amazing that something so calm and peaceful can flow with such force over the side of a mountain.
In the end – they were all good sports. It was hotter and took longer than we anticipated (and we played at the top for a bit) but that is part of the adventure. We had a long car ride ahead of us and it was nice to get out and stretch for a bit before making the drive – not to mention, we had a car full of fresh berries waiting for us when we were done!
When we made plans to visit Washington, my friend sent me a text of ideas of things we could do and see while we were there. As I read through the list, one activity jumped out at me: Mount St. Helens – the volcano. It erupted just before I was born and yet I heard stories of it growing up – ash fell all the way in Idaho where we lived. It was a big deal and I wanted to see it almost 40 years after it’s eruption.
When I read the list to the kids, surprisingly everyone’s top choice was the volcano. Except Cannon – he thought we were messing with him because “volcanos are just pretend and only in movies.” He was going to have his mind blown!
It was a littler further of a drive than we anticipated – although we could’ve stopped at a “viewing site” much earlier in the drive – we were determined to see it up close and it was worth it.
We watched a movie about the eruption in the visitor’s center. I was prepared to wrangle a two-year-old through it and eventually walk out. To my surprise he was captivated by the poorly produced 1990 film – and he repeated over and over again, “Volcano broken, it’s broken”. He wins the award for the most excited because that excitement is still strong. Every mountain is now a volcano and he repeats in his yelling talking voice, “Cano, Cano Cano.” This visitor’s center proved to be interesting to every age group!
Here’s a before picture (from here) and how it stands now.
This valley has been desolate for years and years due to the ash and eruption – and yet new life has sprung forth and beauty is being restored. The landscape is forever changed, but it still has its beauty – just far less trees.
We were there for hours. And even then we were pulling the kids away. They could’ve stayed there all day! They already have it on our to-do list if we ever make it back to Washington.
The funny thing about road trips is once you’ve driven 17 hours, the idea of driving another six seems totally reasonable. That’s the logic that landed us in Washington. I was hoping to see a college roommate and good friend this summer. We were making plans for her to drive down to Idaho and just two weeks before setting out on our summer adventures I had a crazy thought to drive the gang to see her.
When I ran it by the kids they didn’t register that it would take 6 hours (each way) to drive there, they only heard Washington – and they’ve never been to Washington so it was a unanimous yes! And we don’t regret that decision one bit. Washington was just as beautiful as I remembered and even more fun than the kids had hoped for. We were all reunited for a couple short days and they are some of the most memorable from our summer.
The beautiful green lush landscape was a stark contrast from where we came from and the weather was ideal – we took advantage by being outside the whole time we were there.
Hunter’s skateboarding skills are minimal and yet he had the confidence (or lack of better judgement) to attempt to ride this hill. I walked on to the scene just in time to catch this picture. I could tell at this point he was picking up too much speed and I started yelling for him to hit the grass and take a softer fall.
It was too late. He was out of control which led to him putting his foot down in an attempt to ditch the skateboard and make a run of it. That was also poor judgement because as soon as that second foot hit the pavement his body was going too fast for his feet and he proceeded to land face first, arms outstretched and skid several feet down the path. I was already running to him at this point and I reached him face down on the pavement, crying and all bloodied up. His friend told him that’s the life of a thrasher! 🙂
I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before attempting a stunt like that again!
We explored the Columbia River – the largest river in the pacific northwest. It was a little chilly for my kids liking but that didn’t stop them from enjoying themselves. We’re just used to bath water pools!
The weather was beautiful and warm while we were there (which we learned was not normal) but as to not disappoint – Washington showed it’s true weather the day we were leaving which was slightly more chilly and some light showers. We made a stop at Multnomah Falls on our way home – just outside of Portland. We were disappointed to learn the hike was closed due to the serious wildfires last summer – but it was still a breathtaking pit stop. We’ll make our way back and hopefully we’ll be able to hike it then.
The best part of the drive is following the Columbia River for two hours – it’s beautiful green scenery like this the whole drive. I wish I wasn’t driving so I could’ve enjoyed it a little bit more.