Water & Beer

Like I said earlier, there is so much water in Oregon it seems illegal, especially to someone from Southern California where rain is a rare and welcomed experience.  Yesterday we set out from Portland to the wilds of Multnomah Falls and the backwoods of Hood River, home of the Full Sail Brewery and other places of interest.

Leaving Portland – a big city to me! – and heading out along the 84, the buildings of the area soon give way to the inevitable trees and brambles.  The landscape changes, too, from hills to more rugged terrain formed by volcanic action and the relentless activity of the Columbia River.  Moss grows on everything.  Trees and rooftops have moss on them.  Vines trail into every space.  Flowers dot the open fields with pink and white and yellow.  Everywhere I look there is greenery and water, and clouds as well, which can be very different than the unrelenting blue of the sky where I live (unless there is a hurricane in Baja).

We stopped at the Multnomah Falls enroute to Hood River, Oregon.  The falls are narrow, but drop from a great height into a rocky pool.  The fact that this area has been set aside has allowed the natural vegetation to take over, and it is well worth looking at in detail.  The red cedars that grow here are graceful trees – all covered in moss! – and are interspersed amongst deciduous trees and viney undergrowth.  The dampness of the area is apparent everywhere, and provides a lushness for plant life.

We wandered up the path to the bridge – built, not in a WPA project like I thought, but in 1925 – and a bit beyond.  Around every corner were wonderful views, and too many people, but the latter did not really distract that much; that is something to choose whether or not to focus upon.  I took a lot of pictures, sometimes holding up traffic, sometimes having to wait my turn, and thankful for the camera strap as I leaned out here and there!

From Multnomah Falls we continued on to Hood River, which houses many different breweries, the most well known to us being Full Sail Brewing.  Like many breweries, they offer a sample tasting of their beers, and a variety of meals in their restaurant.  Staff were friendly, and the food was delicious.  We also took a tour of their facility, which is small, but very modern, and boasts some very unique characteristics.  One example is the fact they are employee-owned.  Another is their history – how they got started is an amusing story.  The equipment to produce their beer is very modern and high-tech, but their beer, despite the multitudinous gallons produced daily, is still made by hand.  Yes, 1000 lbs. of yeast is a lot – far more than what Josh pitches – but there are also a few tons of barley and hops in the mash tun!

Hood River is on the Columbia River in Oregon.  Across the river is Washington State.  It is a small town, nestled along the river and tucked into the space between the river and mountains.  When we were there, it wasn’t a hoppin’ place, but it was clean and friendly, and the views were spectacular.  This could be a great place to live, I think!

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