Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon, and the fourth highest mountain in the Cascade range that stretches from California up to Washington. It hosts year-round skiing, a famous lodge where the Shining was filmed with fantastic views, and summertime Alpine sledding. So OF COURSE we were there on a cloudy, rainy day. Here was our view up at Timberline Lodge, where we stopped for lunch.
Just compare that to our view the evening before, outside of Bend, where we had stopped for the night. We had just spotted a buffalo, and its not everyday we see one of those, so we stopped the car and went to take a closer look. When I looked back and saw we had captured the mountains off in the distance, I just about cried. This was what my views were supposed to be like (but closer).
So because of the weather, we skipped Adventure Park, and just went to Timberline Lodge. Its a famous sort of hotel that a lot of guidebooks and travel folks say you should stop at. And it was pretty cool. But the practically freezing temperatures (in the 40s, and for Texans, that is below-freezing) and windy rain kept us from doing anything outside, even appreciating the snow.
After lunch, I tried to keep an open mind about the rest of the day. I was excited to be going on the Hood River's famous "Fruit Loop," which takes you to all sorts of locally-owned wineries, fruit orchards where you can pick your own cherries, and a lavender farm. We did some geocaches, and passed some interesting places, like finding ourselves in the middle of the world.
By the time we were down in the valley, the rain had mostly stopped. It was drizzling off an on, but for the most part, we could still have fun. Except that the only way to pick the cherries is to climb a ladder, and you had to be 18 to climb the ladder. Way to build it up for Team Danger.
We drowned our sorrows at a wine tasting, and let the boys play on their tablets for a good half hour.
Then it was time to make our way to a lavender farm, where you can cut your own lavender.
The rain had stopped, thankfully, and it was lovely.
Over 70 varieties of lavender, and I loved getting to smell and cut all sorts of different varietals of my favorite herb.
The lavender helped keep our car smelling nice for the rest of the trip.
The boys weren't as in to the lavender picking as I was.
Carl definitely wasn't as in to the lavender picking as I was (he grudgingly came out of the car to take this picture).
And it was a lovely experience, and I came home with a nice souvenir bottle of Hood River Lavender lotion, but... I can't help it. My views were supposed to look like this while we were in lavender heaven.
Also on the Fruit Loop: a llama farm and yarn shop.
The boys enjoyed the llama farm.
I think it was their favorite part of the Fruit Loop.
I wanted to stop at some more wineries or fruit farms, but then I remembered I was with Team Danger. The fact that I got Ryan to hop out of the car and snap this photo when we passed a particularly lovely vista is a miracle. He's smiling because he knows he's about five minutes away from the hotel.
So off to the hotel we went. Our hotel was right along the Columbia River, and the views were lovely. We loved looking across at Washington, a state we had never been to and which was SO CLOSE, and yet we still had to wait until tomorrow to cross over.
The restaurant inside the hotel was listed as one of the town's best spots, so we just camped in.
We were given fantastic spots outside, and despite the earlier rains and clouds, the view was incredible. (Yep, still bitter about earlier)
The boys swam for a long, long time, and the adults read on our kindles with a some new Oregon wine, enjoying watching the sun set. A great, relaxing evening.
The first part of our day was my least favorite time on our trip. But the end was so nice, it almost made up for it.