Re­cently a pho­tog­ra­pher friend who had just re­turned from Costa Rica con­fessed

Country - - GOD'S COUNTRY -

to me that the trip had in­creased his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a place much closer to home.

“In just 10 miles of the Columbia River Gorge, there is vastly more to see and pho­to­graph than in all of Costa Rica,” he told me.

The pre­cip­i­tous canyon sep­a­rat­ing Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton con­tains one of the world’s great rivers and 85 rugged miles of in­cred­i­ble things to see and pho­to­graph. At no time of year is the gorge more spec­tac­u­lar than in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber. Then, the bigleaf maples in the west and the oaks in the eastern sa­van­nas turn yel­low and gold. The tow­er­ing, glacier­clad vol­ca­noes of Mount Hood and Mount Adams are framed by the brilliant reds of vine maple and dusted with fresh snow. But the gorge is a premier place for pho­tog­ra­phy any time of year.

And it is also a par­adise for just about ev­ery form of out­door recre­ation, in­clud­ing white-wa­ter raft­ing, hik­ing, back­pack­ing, kayak­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, fish­ing, wind­surf­ing, kite­board­ing, bird­ing, ski­ing and moun­tain climb­ing.

The gorge is the only sea level gap or in­ter­rup­tion in the 700-mile-long Cascade Range, which di­vides the Pa­cific North­west into two dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent worlds. On the windy west side of the moun­tains, clouds drop 75 inches of rain on the heavy for­est each year. On the shel­tered east side, the grass­lands are gen­er­ally dry as bone—a dra­matic rain-shadow desert. The gorge’s nat­u­ral di­ver­sity is a re­sult of the abrupt el­e­va­tion change from the canyon’s sea level floor to the misty heights of peaks such as Mount De­fi­ance, which soars to al­most 5,000 feet above the river.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.