I should have started daylogging my master plan earlier. I have been a long time fan of long walks, and have visited many of the scenic and not-so-scenic areas around Portland, Oregon and the Willamette Valley in general. Recently, I have started to do it in a methodical way, using public transportation and my feet to knit together all the different walks until I have covered scores of miles, north and south, east and west.
Today I decided to go to Crown Point, a famous scenic attraction in the Columbia River Gorge. I had always considered it quite a ways east, but looking on a map, it is only six miles out of Troutdale, the eastern most suburb of Portland where you can catch a bus. Of course six miles can translate into many different things when walking on rural roads in the hilly country around the Columbia River Gorge, and that is why I went on the walk in the first place.
I wasn't disappointed. Oregon is rich in microclimates, especially while traveling between the plains of the Portland area and the West Cascades. Some of the differences in geology and botany would be noticable to anyone, but many would only seem interesting to the careful observer. There was also obvious differences in culture. What I found interesting about Corbett and Springdale is that they are two of the remaining towns I have been to that are truly rural towns. Most of the rural towns around the Portland area have been turned into bedroom communities, with the usual assortment of big box stores. but these two towns are still small rural communities. I do wonder what will happen to small towns like this, where the residents must commute into the Portland area for work, or even for groceries, as the cost of gasoline continues to increase.
As for the famous Crown Point itself, it was almost anti-climactic. I have been there before, and its reputation as one of the more beautiful spots in the United States is indeed well-deserved. I felt almost pressured to enjoy it though, expecting a rapture at the panorama that never materialized. It was on the way back, as the day started to get gloomier and darker that I started to feel something different. Even though it was getting late, and I didn't know which way the road led, I decided to take a slightly different route back. This led me into a narrow, deep hollow where a ditch quite quickly became a quite loud flow. This was the road to Springvale, which, according to a sign, was fed by a number of springs in the surrounding hills which always maintained a temperature of 37F. The valley had a cold, dark feeling that seemed to offer a different texture and feeling that the expansive, picture perfect vista of the Columbia River did not.
So that was my walk, besides having a car swerve to threaten to hit me; and the fact that after eighteen miles of walking, I will probably not do much tomorrow.