After leaving the coast, we headed inland to visit one of my favorite Oregon landmarks - the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
The cheesemaking is done in large rooms below observation windows. We could easily see the workers grasping the cheese...
...stacking the cheese...
...and sending it down the conveyer belt to the sorter.
Of course, they sell wonderful cheese here, and fabulous ice cream. Even the animals love it - this stray cow was very cheerful indeed!
After eating our fill, we headed back to the coast. Tillamook Bay is an amazing place. Although it was cold and rainy, we clomped through the boggy grasses...
...and looked for wildlife. We found deer scat, but no creatures were stirring just then...
...other than sea birds, gathered at the water's edge.
One thing I remembered well from the parts of my childhood spent in the Pacific Northwest is the green. Green lichen on the rocks...
...and moss, too.
Moss even grows on the trees here...
...and so does lichen.
It's a beautiful combination.
We hiked the 1.5 miles from Tillamook Bay to Cape Meares through the rain. The trees began to give way to sea grass. It was so quiet and so isolated that we were surprised to come upon a goat pen just before the gentle swells of the dunes.
The goats seemed happy and well-fed. We enjoyed a little visit with them before pushing on to the coast.
It was so foggy that we could barely see the water beyond the dunes!
The water was slate grey and calm, and the coastline was completely empty. We walked for a while and picked up a few souvenirs before heading back to the car.
The frequent rain and damp is another thing I remember well from my childhood, but I don't mind it a bit. If you've got your wellies and a rain slicker, you're ready for anything!
Another day, we headed to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River Gorge. Those trees on the other side of the river are in Washington! The dam is almost 200 feet high and 2,690 feet long, which was a world record size in 1938. Now, it's considered rather small.
One of the giant turbines used in the production of electricity sat near the parking log, almost comically big. It's remarkable to think about how these things all fit together!
The construction of Bonneville Dam did disrupt the spawning of sturgeon in the area, so several fish ladders were built to assist them. Also, a nearby fish hatchery helps to stabilize the population. We stopped by to see if we could see one of the giant sturgeon. Many buildings, of course, had mossy tops, which looks charming and storybook-like to me, although I know it does damage the roofs eventually.
We saw several giant sturgeon, which can grow as long as long as 18 feet. Some salmon hovered nearby, too.
The area is so beautiful, with lots of hidden streams...
...and little bogs.
If it weren't for the persistent rain and lack of rain gear, I think we may have lingered a bit longer!
Before heading back into Portland, we stopped at the second-largest waterfall in the Unites States, Multnomah Falls. At 620 feet, it's a real stunner. The mist from the falls obscures most of the nearby landscape.
The waterfall is split into two parts. The top part is close t0 550 feet...
...and the bottom section is a little under 70 feet.
The crash of the water is deafening!
A bridge stands between the two sections so you can get a nice view.
The moss around the falls was truly amazing!
Not long after that trip, we left the cold and wet of Portland for the cold and snow of Indiana...
...and some pretty sleepy cats. We were glad to have a few sleepy days ourselves!
I hope you had a great holiday season!