Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Around Mt. Adams

We arrived back at Hood River in the mid afternoon.  As we drove north we thought we were imagining things.  Straight ahead was what looked like Mt.  Hood.  But we had left it behind us.  We realized that what we were seeing was Mt Adams.  
We headed east along the Columbia River, and left both mountains behind us.  The landscape changed drastically as we drove.  The sides of the Gorge hollowed out over centuries rose in rocky cliffs with crystaline angles.  
The river rose in white caps as the swift downstream current was whipped by the strong west wind.  
As we drove east the hills lost their lush green vegetation, and shadows blackened the cliffs.  
We imagined the thoughts of the Lewis and Clark team as they steered their dugout canoes down this treacherous waterway.  
Finally we crossed at Maryhill and stopped on the northern bank to take a last look at the Columbia River before heading north.  The hills around us were covered with hundreds of wind turbines contrasting sharply with the ancient rocky landscape.

As we came over the bluff, the landscape turned green and fertile again.  And against the lush farmland Mt. Adams rose, peaceful and majestic.  But in this farmland no scenic turnouts appeared on the roads.  And the heavy trucks barreling past made us think twice about just pulling over unless there was enough space.  At times we could see both mountains clearly.  We never found a good spot to stop for a photo so this sight will only remain in our memories.  
We entered Yakima Nation and drove many miles through barren hills. At one point we began to see the charred remnants of a recent fire (was it last summer?).
 Finally we entered a broad and beautiful valley with prosperous farms, miles of orchards, large refrigerated warehouses, and all the trappings of a successful fruit industry.  Yakima itself is not impressive but we had a good dinner, and our hotel is comfortable. Tomorrow we drive through the Cascades.

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