Now, you are in for a real treat! We are going to take a look at some of the fabulous scenes that can be found here. (Sorry, this may take a bit to load as it is full of photos. But, it will be worth it! So, have patience.) Now, on with our tour...
Here is a shot of the State Highway 14 as it winds through the Tunnels Area, along the Columbia River. This is the Gateway to the VIKING domain of the Columbia River Gorge. And it is one of the most scenic Highways in the World. (Now, how is that for Nordic Scenery? Just like the Alps! Or, Norway!) And, in case you don't recognize it, section of the highway was also the site of a few famous car commercials, a few years back. Also, just beyond the end of the road (actually, it turns to the left there), you can see a notable landmark, Alligator Point. (More on that, later.) A small bit of the Columbia River is seen just to the right of that.
Moving up on the Hill to the VIKING Plateau above our first scene (on the highway), we can now see Eastward, over Alligator Point. And the wide Columbia River now comes into view, giving it that Fjord look! Just over the back of Alligator Point and across the River is the Columbia Gorge Hotel, favorite overnight spot for movie stars and celebrities. (They have a great waterfall and tons of white lights for Christmas--Nordic style.) And, just a little on up the River from them is Hood River, the Windsurfer's Mecca of the world. (And, there is also a small Finnish Community over there.)
Turning to our right a bit, and looking Southward, over the Big Field on the VIKING plateau, we can see across the River, to Mitchell Point. (More on that, later.) This is the Homeland of the Viking Revival! So, take a good look at that wide River and the steep, tree covered Mountains all around. Is it any wonder that we say it looks like a Norwegian Fjord? (And just like one of those legendary Norsemen Gardens!) Or, perhaps the Scottish Highlands?
(Oh, yes, as we are sometimes asked, the large black blob in the field is not a bear. It is our big black dog. Yes, the guard dogs tend to keep the critters, and other varmits, away! And, if you are a dog lover, see the Lassie story, below!)
Standing at the base of one of the trees here, you can see that it is a long way up! (Mitchell Point across the River, in the background.) The Timber Industry use to be the main economic base for the area. Hence, many Scandinavian lumberjacks moved into the the Fjord area, here. But, not long ago, the environmentalists all but shut down the logging. So, now everyone is trying to turn the place into a Tourist Trap, in order to make a living and survive. However, one major industry that still survives is Orcharding. They grow lots of pears here, some apples, and a few cherries. Also, a winery was put in up in Bingen, so grape culture is beginning to grow here in the Fjord.
But, other businesses and industries are badly needed!
Got any ideas?
Coming down off the VIKING Plateau and below the State Highway, we find the Tracks of the Burlington Northern Railroad. Beyond them is the wide Columbia River, forming a small bay here--good spot for a marina??? (Alligator Point is just to the left, up the River shore.) This is one of the main routes for the passage of goods for the China trade. Also, on up the tracks, futher eastward, you come to Broughton's Lumber Company (more on them, later) and the Fish Hatchery. This is one of the big hang outs for all the Windsurfers! And, go on up the tracks a bit further, and you come to Bingen (with its sister city in Germany: Bingen am Rhine). Bingen holds an annual Huckleberry Festival in September. Above Bingen, on top of the cliffs, is White Salmon. They hold an annual Mayfest. Both towns are decorated in the traditional Bavarian or Nordic style. So, if you are Tysk or German (or Nordic in any way), that would be a good place to visit, too!
Back up the Hill from the River, you will find some of the remains of the Broughton's Lumber Flume (though most of it has since fallen down or been removed). The Flume use to be one of the man-made wonders of the Gorge. Stretching around 11 miles, it ran from Mill A, up in the Mountains, down to the Broughton's Mill along the Columbia River. Some have mistakenly thought that logs were sent down the flume, but it was mainly rought cut lumber. Rahter, the logs were squared up into beams at Mill A, and then floated down the flume to the main mill where they were plained, cut into other pieces, and loaded aboard railroad cars to be shipped all over. This is also the location for one of the famous Lassie programs, which were seen all over the Nation on T.V., where Lassie (supposedly) road the Flume canoe down to the big mill in an emergency. (Adventurous teenagers use to report that the ride was more wild than anything in Disneyland!) And, the Shaddox Family tells the story when one of their dogs accidently fell in the Flume and turned up down at the big mill, riding one of the boards, like a surfboard! (Yes, it was a major miracle that the dog was not killed.)
Looking out from the VIKING Plateau Westward, we see the wide Columbia River Gorge before us, with the steep, tree coverd banks along its sides (like a Fjord). To the extreme right, you can see just a bit of the old Broughtons Flume. (But you have to know what you are looking for!) Across the River, you might notice the snow covered peak. (This was taken in late Spring, so the snow does stick around for awhile, farther up in the hills--though down along the River it tends to stay milder, from all the warmer water.) Down River a bit, you will come to Cookes (Indian Camp) and then Home Valley (park and camping site). A little farther down River and you will come to Carson (hot springs), and then to Stevenson--and the man-made Bridge of the Gods. Stevenson holds an annual Octoberfest.
Well, guess who this is! Yes, the Veritable Viking himself and in casual, everyday attire. (Don't tell him that this picture is here! It will be our little secret.) Yes, not only are we full of Mediavel mirth and merriment over here, but as there are plenty of glossy, PR style photos of him around, we just thought that you would like to see what the Master Viking looks like, ordinarilly. Yes, it is casual logger style, but what do you expect from a family of lumberjacks? (And, we do note the Icelandic color scheme, though this was not apparently intended, as the Family came to America from Scotland--which did happen to be a Viking colony for centuries, during the Dark Ages.)
The main Internet Server here is www.Gorge.Net, which is located in Hood River, Oregon. You can punch them up yourself or use the Link, below:
To get Gorge.Net (Click Here):
In addition, if you are looking to come across the River onto the Washington State side, then you may want to look at www.WhiteSalmon.Net As you may recall, they and Bingen are decorated in the Bavarian style and hold the annual Mayfest.
To get WhiteSalmon.Net (Click Here):
On the other hand, if you want to hang more with the big city, Portland Oregon, then you may want to go more down the River towards Stevenson. They have the famous Skamania Lodge and they hold the Octoberfest. You can access this area from www.Skamania.Net which has its own brand of attractions.
To get Skamania.Net (Click Here):
One such Site is down in Junction City, Oregon (South of us). They host an annual Scandinavian Festival in August. You can get them at www.JunctionCity.Com or use the Link below:
To get JunctionCity.Com (Click Here):
Farther North, and up on the Puget Sound, is the town of Poulsbo. They have a large Norwegian settlement there and maintain a link with their sister city, Namos, in Norway. You can get them at www.Poulsbo.Net or use the Link below:
To get Poulsbo.Net (Click Here):
Now that you are here, don't just run off! We are very VIKING and Scandinavian orientated. So, just relax and sit a spell. Take a peek at what else we have to offer. Cruise around our Web Site a bit. You never know what you might find, huh? (Perhaps this will be your lucky day?) For, he who seeks, shall find.
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Dated: 5-28-99 . . . Up-dated 03-18-00