Summer Bucket List #1: the Falls!


This was a great first outing for our summer ‘bucket list’ because it was so easy! (More info on the 2013 Summer Bucket List Challenge here)

Multnomah Falls is a popular sight in the Portland area–and it’s only half an hour east on the freeway!


The freeway (I-84) cruises between the Columbia River to the north and thickly forested foothills to the south. Then suddenly, bam, a big waterfall!


It’s actually two levels, an upper falls and then a near-immediate lower falls, but my 50mm lens wasn’t wide enough to get it all in one shot. 🙂


Including the distance from the parking lot, it takes maybe five minutes to get to the viewing area at the base of the falls. There’s a trail that goes uphill to that higher viewing bridge, but we were not up for that with our baby carriers.


We looked around the gift shop and informational area and then we were basically done. It was a very quick activity (and free!!), so we decided to drive the scenic byway part of the way back. On that road, we passed by two more falls before detouring again to the freeway.

We stopped for a break at a rest stop to try to feed the babies. Of course with all the noise and new things to see, they were very distracted and not interested in eating. So we got back in the car, I sat in the back between the car seats, and helped them finish their bottles. Happily that worked pretty well. 🙂

A companion outing on our list is to go back and drive more of the Scenic Byway, visit more of the waterfalls, and visit Vista House. I think that should be an easy and fun daytrip!

We did another short activity the following weekend, to the Grotto. Wasn’t on the list, but it was a good family outing. It’s close to us, and very nature-y.


It’s basically an outdoor Catholic sanctuary. We are not at all religious, but we thought it would be nice to stroll around the peaceful gardens.


It’s actually in two parts; most of it is on top of this cliff here. You buy a ticket for the elevator and then you follow the path around and through trees and gardens, passing statuary and plaques along the way.

E volunteered to digest the information in the brochure for us. Heh.


I was expecting manicured gardens, and there are some, but most of the time you’re winding through tracts of forest! It’s quite beautiful.




And what a neat surprise to find that there is a labyrinth there! (For one of my AmeriCorps NCCC projects back in 2002, my team and I built one at a park in Wallingford, Connecticut. Ever since then I’m always delighted to find them when I’m out and about. For instance, there’s a ‘secret’ one in Battery Park in NYC!)



We didn’t spend a ton of time there, but it was really nice to walk around such a lovely, quiet place, right in the city! And the best part was that we hit up the Burgerville drive-thru on the way home for some fries and an Oregon strawberry shake. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Summer Bucket List #1: the Falls!

Add yours

  1. What a lovely trip! There is a serenity garden on the grounds of a hospital near us. When my husband was having physical therapy, my daughter and I would wander around and travel the labyrinth. There were also some massive wind chimes that made the most haunting noise. What a great little outing for your family. Your babes are adorable!

  2. i probably say this every time, but MAN the photos you take of places like this are just so pretty. how cool to live close to so much amazing greenness! (that bridge with the waterfall in the background.. i mean.. whoa.)

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