In the past two years, I have traveled to multiple cities in the US and I really found something very endearing about Portland, Oregon that makes me keep talking about this city to my friends.Honestly, I feel people should start putting this lovely city in their itinerary for the next year.
I have lived almost 2 years in Texas and I can definitely differentiate between both the cities. Houston, Texas has a charm of its own. It was more of a busy city with a lot of people and companies around. Portland, Oregon is a quiet city but weird in its own way.The word “weird” reminds me of the popular slogan that appears on bumper stickers, signs, and public buildings throughout Portland, Oregon – “Keep Portland weird” :). The first thing that struck me when I landed in Portland, Oregon is the massive difference in the weather. Oregon was colder and it falls under the mediterranean warm climate whereas Texas is in the subtropical climate which has extreme hot summers. Rain is very common for Oregonians.It rains almost 6 to 8 months in Oregon whereas the annual precipitation in Houston is just 248.33mm.And I can’t miss out on the landscape. Oregon is much more beautiful and scenic than Texas. It has amazing waterfalls, forests, mountains and state parks that you can explore and enjoy.The backdrop of Mount Hood (it was amazing to see the Mt.Hood while descending down in the aircraft), the turning color of the trees (I reached almost in the beginning of December and still I could find fall colors) and the soft mist of rain made the city seem even more romantic to me. And to add on to the list, I happened to even enjoy the snow this year. It is said that Oregon faced snow after about 2 years and the city was definitely not up for it. Well, I was happy though 😀 So the gist is, there is a vibe to this city! This was something I couldn’t find anywhere else. I wanted to put a word to that vibe…what could that be?…and at last I zeroed it down to two words – “JOY” & “PRETTY”. This is the most joyful and prettiest little city in the USA that I have seen so far.
Haven’t you been to Oregon before? Goooo! You can find some getaway places in Portland, Oregon in my special series called “Oregon Diaries”. And here is my first weekend getaway destination up on the blog for you all – “The Multnomah Falls”.
Oregon is a state where water is available in plenty because it rains almost more than half of the year. Waterfalls are pretty common in this state. But Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon which is about 620 feet tall and hence, you should never miss visiting this beauty.
We decided to take a small trip to Multnomah on Christmas day. The day is even more special as it is my Hubby’s birthday too. Moreover, we were blessed with a sunny day and so made a spontaneous plan to drive up the hill to the waterfalls. It is located about 30 miles east of Portland Downtown along the Historic Columbia River Gorge. As soon as we entered the Multnomah County, we could really feel a difference in the landscape. There were snow clad mountains on the one side and the famous Columbia river flowing gracefully on the other. I couldn’t stop gazing out of the car window at this beautiful scenic route!
Time to reach Multnomah Falls from Portland International Airport:
36 minutes (32.7 miles)
Multnomah falls is a very picturesque waterfall and it draws people of all age groups. There are wheelchair accessible viewing platforms and also steep hiking trails that would lead all the way to the top. The water here flows year-round. It is fed by rainwater, and melting snow, and the highest volume comes in winter and spring. A few weeks back when it snowed heavily in Oregon, news channels reported that Multnomah falls was still flowing with full strength even at temperatures below freezing; it was gorgeous to view.
The hiking trails were closed due to the slippery conditions on Christmas day. Still, some brave souls were walking up the hill to reach the Benson Bridge. I did not have the guts to do that! Never mind, I can come back again to do the 1/4 mile hike to the Benson Bridge.This is most scenic part of the waterfall – a bridge that connects two cliffs.And of course, it is a phenomenal spot for photos. I would say it is not only a great place to enjoy the view or click some photographs but it’s also perfect for catching your breath before heading to the top. Those who are making plans to visit Multnomah falls in winter, my suggestion would be not to do this hike. It is not safe at all.
The Legend of Multnomah Falls
Now, this magnificent waterfall has a Native American lore attached to it. Do you want to know how this waterfall got its name? The story goes back to many years ago when the Native Americans were ruling these lands. The head chief of the Multnomah tribe had a beautiful daughter whom he cared about very much. The chief had lost all his sons in battles. Hence, he chose his son-in-law with great care – a young chief from his neighbors, the Clatsop people. The wedding happened with great pomp and glory. People had come from the neighboring villages, and there were dancing, feasting, horse riding, boat racing, and what not. The whole crowd was happy for the young princess and her new husband.
As soon as the merriment was over, the whole village was struck by a sickness. Children, young men and old men were sick first and finally, they would die in a day or two. The grief of the women was heard around the Multnomah village. The people started worrying about the cause and the Chief decided to call everyone to find out a solution. They concluded that the Great Spirit was angry with them. Many opined that they should just go with the will of the Spirit and face death bravely. But there was an old medicine man who bravely said to the chief “My father told me that someday when I grow old, a great sickness will come to our people. All will die, he said, unless an innocent maiden of a chief is willingly sacrificed to the Great Spirit.”
When the people heard about what the old medicine man said, dozens of young maidens, including the chief’s daughter presented themselves to the chief. The chief could not bear the thought of any maiden having to sacrifice her life so he ended the council and asked everyone to face the death bravely.
That’s when the young princess’s husband got ill. But she knew what she had to do to save the love of her life.After caring for him one last time, she slipped away secretly, and followed the trail to the cliff. She stood at the edge of the cliff, looked down the rocks at the bottom, and shouted out loudly to the Spirit asking him to send a sign that the sickness will end upon her sacrifice. When she looked at the sky, she saw the moon rise. She counted this as a sign and jumped from the cliff. The next morning, surprisingly everyone woke up healthy and happy and they got to know that the princess sacrificed her life to save them.The young chief raced to the cliff, and was heartbroken to see his wife buried below on the rocks. All the people gathered down the cliff and buried her body.
Her father called to the spirits to offer them a sign that his daughter’s spirit had been welcomed into the land of the spirits.Instantly, they heard the sound of water atop the cliff and when they looked up, a stream of water began flowing over the cliff. Since then, the water has flowed continuously off the cliff. Hence, the name Multnomah falls which means “down the river”.
Some tips for the visit
- Pets are allowed to the falls.
- Whether you climb the top or be at the bottom of the waterfalls, make sure you have your sweaters on. The mist and spray cause a cooler climate all throughout the year.
- Wear shoes with traction because the waterfalls make the entire viewing area wet and slick.
- Carry a raincoat with you becasue that could prevent you from the storm cloud if it happens to pour down.
- During winter, make sure you have all winter tires or snow chains on your car. The paths are narrow and skidding.
That’s about one of the waterfalls in the Oregon State. There are many more to visit and share with you all.See you all soon and “Wado” (Thank You in Native American language) for stopping by. 😛