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Daily View

Daily View: The Oregon Trail

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Early morning fog along the Columbia River Gorge.
I am not a morning person, not by a long shot.  But on this particular morning the view outside our truck windows was well worth the waking up for.  Coffee in hand I climbed into the front seat early (for me) as we started our trek across Oregon.  We were on I-84 across the top of Oregon which follows the Colombia River and Gorge area – The Oregon Trail.

To the left of us was thousands of acres of mountains and evergreen trees rising high into the sky.  To the right was the Columbia river in all its glory.  There were rock cliffs, deep water, white water rapids, and old trails.  The far side of the river was the state of Washington, mountains and hills rising and falling to meet the water.  Some peaks snow-capped, others rocky, and still others covered in thick evergreen forests.

Washington State side of the Columbia River.
Around each bend there was another view that made me gasp in wonder and point, “See that baby!?”  Unbelievably lush green and thriving vegetation, especially for this time of the year.  Ancient railroad tracks still in use.  Rocky gorges and waterfalls.  And OH the waterfalls!  Pure and clean mountain water escaping from the mountain tops, some in little trickles, a few in massive gushing cascades.

Then, rounding a bend, right there in a tree on the side of the road sat the most majestic creature alive, the Bald Eagle.  It was so close I could almost reach out and touch it!  I nearly came out of my seat in excitement.  I've seen a few of these beautiful birds from a distance as they were flying high in search of prey, but never one so close and sitting still.  When I say these birds are beyond description, I mean it.  No words or pictures can do them justice.  They are huge, powerful, regal, and just.... wow!  But my excitement didn't end there, a few miles up, on the same side of the road, my side, the passenger side, was yet ANOTHER Bald Eagle perched on a tree branch, not even 20 yards from my window.  If I never see another one of these birds again in my lifetime, I will never forget their strength and beauty, those eyes ever watchful as they sit above the world keeping eye on all that is below.  I finally understand why this bird represents our nation.

Grassy cliff along the Columbia River
where we went "hiking".
Finding a rest area along the river, he stopped so we could stretch our legs.  And stretch them we did!  A  trail near the back led to some rocky cliffs, then down to the river.  What morning isn't complete without a little trail hiking and mountain climbing?  The cool crisp air filled our lungs and the landscape dazzled our eyes.  We spent about an hour hiking, not long, but long enough to get a little exercise and fresh air.  And definitely long enough to create a morning to remember for a lifetime in my mind.

There were many of these little island
in the river. The native indians used
them as burial grounds and were
called "memaloose", literally
'Island of the Dead'.