Fast forward to the mid-1990s when the decision was made to re-open the tunnels for tourist use. First, the rubble had to be removed and the tunnels made safe from rock falling from above. The solution could have been to reinforce the tunnels from within but that wasn't good enough. Sooooo, a unique catchment structure was built to catch rocks falling from above. The structure is designed to catch rocks (up to 5,000 pounds falling 200') and not let them bounce off the edge and down the mountain. I remember reading all about this in The Oregonian when we lived in Portland, but I supplemented my memory with an article from Portland Hiker's Field Guide.
|Trail under the Catchment Structure. |
I feel pretty safe here!
|Twin Tunnels Catchment Structure|
We signed up and paid for all seven walks this morning and we will do the walks at our leisure. Today we will do the Mosier Tunnels 13K walk and the 5K Cascade Locks Town walk.
After we signed in, we headed out to Hood River where we started our walk at the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The path was paved all the way so we had a nice level walking surface along with shade and sunshine, ups and downs. Fauna consisted of big leaf maple, Douglas fir, wildflowers and lots of poison oak (which we avoided like the plague!). We did the 13K in three hours. Wow, we're so proud of ourselves.
Samuel Hill had a great quote: "Tourists want three things: a good road to drive on, something worthwhile to see and something worthwhile to eat..."
The Columbia Gorge Historic Highway helped develop road-building skills in our nation. With the curves and loops shown below, steep terrain could be traversed in a manner that cars could travel upon it.
|How the highway was made, a precursor of modern roads.|
Here's where we walked...
|Susan photographing the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge.|
|The Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trail|
|Gorgeous views of the Columbia River Gorge and I-84|
|Geology of Washington state (across the Columbia River)|
|Eighteen Mile Island in the Columbia Gorge.|
|Mosier Twin Tunnels|
|Susan M. at an adit (opening) in the tunnel wall.|
|Me goofing off at the adit.|
|Looking east from the viewpoint at Twin Tunnels Overlook|
|Susan M. ahead in the tunnels.|
|These grow all over the cliffs.|
|Susan M. fighting off the mountain lion|
|Sacajawea sculpture. She's pointing the way to the ocean.|
|Sternwheeler under Bridge of the Gods. On the docks,|
people are fishing for salmon and shad, catching them too!
|Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge on a tour.|
|Windsurfers on the Columbia River at Cascade Locks|
|View of the gorge from Thunder Island in Cascade Locks|
|This studio crafted the Sacajawea sculpture. |
Too bad they were closed.
One of the things I wanted to mention about today were some sights and flavors we experienced. Walking the Mosier Twin Tunnels Trail we had the sweet scent of the Douglas fir trees. Thimble berries were just ripening along the Tunnels Trail. Susan M. and I each found one ripe berry. They taste a little like raspberries. On Thunder Island, we walked on clover which filled the air with a wonderful perfume.
Back at the hotel, we decided to do a Walmart run to pick up a few items. Susan M. had lime potato chips for dinner and I walked over to Taco Bell and brought back three tacos for myself. She didn't want anything. We each had one of mom's chocolate chip cookies for dessert. So good!
Time now for me to check email and play Scrabble, then get some sleep.
Travel Bug feeling stiff from all the walking. Tomorrow, we conquer two 10K waterfall hikes.
Over and out.
* 2S2G - Two Susans to Go