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Oct. 26, 2002

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It was a nice sunny day so we decided to get outside and hike around some to warm up. We drove farther east into the gorge than we've ever been before and it was amazing how much the leaves had changed since last Sunday. The brilliant yellows are turning rust and brown, with the leaves abandoning the trees at a rapid pace. We hiked up an old historic highway that was built when Model A's were the kings of the road and is only open as a hike and bike trail now. The man who designed it was deeply inspired by the beauty of the gorge and it was his wish to make it accessible at its best vantage points. His goal was to create a "poem in stone" and in my opinion, he succeeded.
There are numerous turnouts where you can stop and admire the view and the guardrails are arched stonework ledges that contribute to the beauty of the panorama rather than detract from it. The Twin Tunnels in Mosier are unique in that there are arched "windows" in the side of the mountain as you go through the tunnel so you can see the outstretched views across the river to Washington.
It was a picture perfect day and the brisk weather actually added to its enjoyment. As we walked along, the golden crispy leaves got tired of hanging on, so they'd drift down floating on the air in front of us, leaving a crunchy trail for us to walk through. With the bottom of the gorge and the river shimmering far below us on one side and the jagged colored mountains on the other side, it was one of the prettiest walks we've enjoyed so far.
We continued driving east and the road descends into the Rowena Loops, a pretty, narrow road with sharp curves that you see a lot in car ads. On the way back, we crossed the Hood River Bridge into Washington and stopped at Skamania Lodge, which I was drawn to because I read it had a fireplace that would hold six-foot logs. After a day in the brisk air, the warmth of the large fire was so welcoming, but it was too crowded to sit at, so we headed on home to the warmth and coziness of flannel heat, happy with the way the day was spent.
Weekend in Eugene
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