Thursday, December 6, 2012

Through Solid Rock

Trey Smith


In the next few posts, I'm going to share some info and photos (none taken by me) of the Columbia River Gorge region.  It is an interesting place.  There are numerous ecosystems and the topography changes significantly throughout its 80 miles.  For example, the climate is different between The Dalles and Hood River, Oregon, even though they are little more than 20 miles apart!

Anytime Della and/or I have traveled through the Columbia Gorge over the past 30 years, we've done so via Interstate 84 on the Oregon side. It is a well constructed highway and you can make good time.

For our little trip this week, we decided to travel down Highway 14 on the Washington side. While Hwy 14 offers the same kinds of beautiful breathtaking scenery as the Interstate, the terrain is far more rugged and you can't make half as good the time.

Highway 14 hugs the Cascade Mountains and there are places that you are driving on rugged bluffs a few hundred feet about the river. Not only that, but you must traverse through a series of tunnels cut through solid rock.

Road and Railway Tunnels No. 2



By the time you reach Tunnel No.5, the train tunnel is on the OTHER side!
I HATE tunnels and Della wasn't too enthused with them either.  The majority of the tunnels are located between Stevenson and White Salmon.  Della was so unenthused with driving through these tunnels that one of the places we looked at in Stevenson was immediately crossed off her list!  She remarked that she would hate to have to traverse them daily both ways, particularly in inclement weather.

Just to give you an idea of the rugged terrain, the photo below shows some of the bluffs we were driving on.  (It's damn beautiful country, though.)

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