Monday, July 22, 2013

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It was in March this year that my husband, Abhay and I moved to Beaverton from Bangalore. For all of you who haven’t heard about Beaverton, here is a quick dossier: Beaverton is a city in Washington County in Oregon, USA. Oregon is a beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Oregon boasts of a diverse landscape. It has deserts, lakes, mountains, rivers, beaches, hot springs, forests, waterfalls, volcanoes and everything else you can think of.

A long weekend (25th May-27th May) is what we were waiting for – a long weekend so we could rediscover a few places in Oregon. So, everything was planned. We drove in our Toyota Camry with our friends Karthik and Suhas.

Our destination on Day 1: May 25th 2013: Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is in the southern part of Oregon, about 370 km (4 hour drive) from Beaverton. The weather is a concern in Oregon whenever we are travelling. It rains a lot here. Thankfully, it was bright and sunny when we left home that day. We left around 8:30 in the morning, hoping we would reach by 12:30-1:00 in the noon. We took a route, Freeway 22, which is a scenic route with greenery all around.

We reached Crater Lake at around 2 in the afternoon after a brief stop at Subway to cater to our grumbling tummies. Thankfully, for us vegetarians, Subway is a saviour of sorts, especially when we are travelling by road. The snow hadn’t melted yet and we were sure Crater Lake was going to be good. But, we were in for a surprise.

Crater Lake was not good,  infact, it was awesome. The history behind Crater Lake is that it was formed when a massive eruption of Mount Mazama took place around 7000 years ago causing the mountain to collapse, leaving a steaming caldera. Centuries of rain and snow filled the caldera creating the beauty called Crater Lake. We took a lot of pictures so that we could show our folks what a beauty Crater Lake was. But, I guess no picture can do justice to experiencing Crater Lake in real.

After seeing Crater Lake from all viewpoints possible and after mentally noting that we have to come back to the place during summer so that we could go near the Wizard Island in the middle by a boat, we decided to open the packet of Dinamita we had. The weather was cold because of the high altitude and the snow all around. Dinamita justified its name, it was hot and spicy and we all had red hands and panting mouths after we finished eating just a few pieces of it. But, after that, it was a part of all our conversations, thanks to Suhas. The fact that I am mentioning Dinamita here shows how fond a companion it had been to us during our trip. :D

After spending 4 hours in and around Crater Lake, we decided to head back and choose a place to stay for the night. My husband was very confident that we would find some accommodation in Medford. But, we had great difficulty finding one because it was a long weekend and hotels during long weekends are usually booked. All rooms were full. So, these guys saw some cottages on the way and wanted to stay there since it looked like it belonged to no one and a few ghosts here and there wouldn’t mind our interference. But, thankfully, that idea didn’t work out and we did find accommodation after an awesome meal at an Indian restaurant.

Our destination on Day 2: May 26th 2013: Oregon Caves National Monument

After having breakfast at 8, we set out to rediscover our destination for the day – Oregon Caves National Monument. Oregon Caves is situated in the Siskiyou Mountains, and is around an hour and a half drive from Medford. We reached there by 10 and took the 12 noon slot for the 90 minute tour in the caves. Since we had some time left, we went on a hiking trail to see the beautiful Siskiyou Mountain surrounding us. It was around 12 by then and we were on our way to explore the caves with our ever smiling Julia Roberts look-alike guide and yes, the boys were gushing.

The history behind the caves is that it was discovered by Elijah Jones Davidson in 1874 and then developed by others much later as a business venture and then was taken over by the US Government. Oregon Caves is unusual because it is made of marble depositions.

We found the cave to be mesmerizing. It was cold inside the caves and we could see a lot of unusual structures made by the water and the bacteria and the like. Bats are known to reside in these caves, but, fortunately or unfortunately, we couldn’t find any. But, nonetheless, the cave had a lot of stories waiting to be told.

After the cave tour, we had our lunch in the cafeteria there and left at 4 in the evening and reached Beaverton at 9 in the night.

Our destination on Day 3: May 27th 2013: Latourell and Multnomah Falls

Rain was predicted on the 27th and we woke up to a rainy morning. Since we didn’t want to waste a holiday, we set off to the nearby Multnomah and Latourell falls which are situated in the Columbia River Gorge. We left around 12 in the noon when rain had stopped intermittently and reached Latourell Falls first. To reach Latourell falls, it took us around an hour and half since we took the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway. The route was filled with beautiful greenery all around, the rains only adding to the already beautiful location.

Latourell Falls is famous because it falls straight down from a cliff without tumbling down. It was just beautiful. After the usual photo sessions, we headed towards the most famous Multnomah Falls which is only 10 minutes away from Latourell Falls.

Like I said, rains are imminent here. It started raining heavily when we reached the falls. We borrowed umbrellas from the visitor centre and headed towards Multnomah. Multnomah is known to be the tallest of falls in Oregon and it drops in two splits, the upper and the lower falls. It is a sight to watch and the magnanimity of the falls engrosses the one viewing it.

The end
Since our friends had to leave for their respective cities the same evening, we, with a heavy heart, set off to Portland airport to drop them off. We reached the airport on time inspite of a reroute we took due to the huge pileup of traffic on the I-84 due to a major 25 car pile-up accident. After dropping them off, we returned home with a heavy heart but some wonderful memories. 

P.S. This week for UBC, I am going to post about a few of the places we have visited in and around Oregon.

*As a part of Ultimate Blog Challenge !


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