Kyle Kotajarvi

Day 8: Oregon

How do you see as much of Oregon in one day as possible? Well first, you wake up really damn early.

Today we woke up at about 6:30, but weren’t out the door until about an hour later.  Our goal was to try and see the sunrise at the Vista House, which overlooks a vast portion of the Columbia River Gorge. 

The Vista House is a memorial dedicated to Oregon Pioneers and resides 733 feet above the Columbia. Unfortunately, the house itself was closed, but the scenery around it was pretty incredible. 

After waking up a bit and getting out of our sluggish moods, we drove down to Multnomah Falls, which was less than 15 minutes away.  The drive down there was incredible.  There were waterfalls all over the prominent cliffs of the Gorge.  The road itself was very narrow and winding and was covered with pine needles and various branches. 

We arrived at Multnomah Falls shortly before 9:30 a.m.. The falls were right off of Columbia River Highway. It was hands down the largest waterfall I’ve ever seen.  The multi-tiered waterfall barreled over the cliff-face 542 feet, where then it falls another 69 feet over the lower cascade. The falls are Oregon’s tallest and one of the tallest year-round waterfalls in the United States.

A path winds up the hill towards the iconic footbridge over the lower falls which offers an incredible perspective, as you’re standing on top of the waterfall.  The mist from the falls was thick, so it was difficult to take photos.

From Multnomah, we drove the 30 minutes back to Portland to Voodoo Donuts.  The donuts were INCREDIBLE, the best I’ve ever had.  I had two chocolate covered raised donuts. The place wasn’t all that busy, which we were very lucky to find, because there were barricades outside for when the line gets super long. 

We left Portland at about 10:30 for Cannon Beach.  The drive out there was about an hour and a half through thickly forested, mountainous terrain.  It kind of reminded me of the Olympic Peninsula.  We made a few stops along the way, but it wasn’t until more than half the way through that we found a perfect place to take photos. 

After the selfie stop, it took us another 20 minutes to get to Cannon Beach.  Cannon Beach left me speechless.  We came into town on a big hill, so we immediately saw Haystack Rock.  The size of it was indescribable.  We parked at the northernmost end of the beach, and walked along the beach towards Haystack Rock.  It was the most beautiful beach I had ever been to.  It was very flat, so that swell came way up on the beach, creating a mirror effect in the perfect lighting that we had.  When we arrived at the beach it was cloudy, but the closer we got to the rock (about a one mile walk), the clouds parted and the sun came out.  It was glorious. 

We stayed at the beach for probably about half an hour before walking back up to the road and back to the car.  After that we got in the car and began the long 7 and a half hour drive to Crescent City.  We stopped at a few look outs along the way.  The majority of the drive was unfortunately in the dark, which was definitely a bummer.  Had we gone during the day, I’m sure we would have seen some beautiful scenery. 

We stopped in McDonald’s so I could get some food in southern Oregon.  Again, I can’t remember the name of the town.  We arrived at the California border at about 11:30.  We were all exhausted.  I drove the last 3 hours or so, and around 10 we decided that we were going to sleep in the car in the Redwood Forest.  None of us wanted to spend money on a hotel for 6 hours, so it just seemed to make the most sense.  We drove through Crescent City at about midnight and headed along 101 towards the Del Norte Redwoods.  Even at night we were amazed by their size.  We couldn’t even comprehend how large they were. We pulled onto a large shoulder and turned off the lights, and we were immediately freaked out.  It was way too dark, there wasn’t anyone else around, and we didn’t really feel safe, so we turned around and headed back to Crescent City.  Kassidy had the idea that we should stay in front of Safeway, which we all agreed was smart since they were open all night, so we hunkered down with sleeping bags and just as we were about to call it a night, a sketchy-looking girl on a bicycle circled our car and stared at us before biking away.  We were all freaked out, so instead we drove to a hotel parking lot near the coast and called it a night.  It wasn’t comfortable.  Kassidy and I slept in front while Dustin and Clancy slept in back.  I probably got three hours of very uncomfortable sleep overall.