Columbia River Gorge, Day 2 (March 24)

The next day dawned sunny, and we set out for some exploration on the Washington-side. A beautiful rainbow spanned the river as we approached the bridge, and seemed to touch down on the wind-whipped waters as we crossed!

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(Photo courtesy of Spencer)

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We drove away from the river, into the Washington countryside, in search of an Ice Cave…And we encountered a bit of a surprise! The park road was still snowed in!

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But, it was walkable, and not very far, and so our Ice Cave adventure just became slightly more adventurous!

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The cave itself is a funny little hole-in-the-ground, and the steps were quite snowed over, but with a tight hold on the railings, we were able to make our careful way down…

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To the underground wonderland! 

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How fun! Water dripping down through the rocks formed amazing icicles and ice sculptures of all sorts…

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Mmmmmmmm, fresh icicles!

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On the way back, a group of gray jays came to check us out, fluttering around us inquisitively before winging away into the forest…

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Oh my goodness, can I have one?

What a great way to start the day! Our next stop was the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center….

Vivi? Viiii-viiiiii?! Hey! I said “Our next stop is the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center!”

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Where it was just another day at school! (Photo courtesy of Spencer)

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The interpretive center was great, filled with such a variety of exhibits beginning with First Nations and walking you through the timeline of the development of the gorge, including this giant fishwheel…

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And the Mack Truck 🙂

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Outside, the large equipment displays continued…(Photos courtesy of Spencer)

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And led up to a replica gold mine, complete with a rubble-heap, where Spencer captured these really spectacular crystal formations!

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We enjoyed another scenic drive along the Columbia River back to the hotel, where we called it an early night, preparing to get back on the road first thing in the morning, ever east-wards and south-wards!

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