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Thousands of visitors crowded on to the grounds that served as the entryway to one of the Northwest’s most popular tourist destinations: Multnomah Falls. East of Portland, the city of many bridges, “Rip City”, “Little San Francisco” or other popular monikers, roughly forty minutes down the beautiful Interstate 84, there is a left exit to the parking lot.
It was time to do what we did when we lived in Oregon for twenty years. Natural shade and misting waters from cold waterfalls popped into our minds. The drive was fast, short and easy. Just like many visits when we were locals, now we repeated the familiar journey as tourists.
When we emerged from the pedestrian tunnel, clearly this idea to escape the city heat was shared by many people. Every piece of shade was crowded with people clutching snow cones, ice cream and heavily iced beverages. The creek that followed the trail had little children splashing in the clear shallow refreshing water.
But, the real draw is beyond people. People-watching is fun but something far more fascinating is waiting for any and all who stop at this destination. Drinking in the natural beauty of this “wide-spot on the road” is beyond memorable.
The sound of water crashing after a tall drop telegraphs the presence of a water feature. When God carved out the steep cliffs of this mountain side, He knew He was creating a chance for many waterfalls to be formed. He really took some extra time to make this place special.
My steps on the main trail stopped. I looked up and saw the falls through the trees. Wonderful!
Cradled in the Douglas Fir trees, the mighty Multnomah Falls sent thousands of gallons of water pouring over the cliff. The cascading water takes two jumps. The first step is a 542 foot drop while the second is 69 feet.
Statistics aside, these falls always bring relief from the unrelenting heat of the summer days. The sun takes its toll on uncovered heads, but if a pilgrim finishes the short walk into the shade of the forest, the cool mist from the never-ending falls feels like a refreshment from the heavens. The power of gravity and the thunderous sound of crashing waters adds to the wonder of this special place. Relief and refreshment from this divinely creative design has blessed many heat weary traveler.
Do you have favorite spots to escape the heat?
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography