The Gorge is burning and it breaks my heart.
It was such a beautiful place and now it’s in flames, up and down the Columbia River on the Oregon side, and jumping across to Washington side today. It’s stranded hikers on local trails, closed the Pacific Crest trail as it runs through Cascade Locks in the heart of the Gorge, and shut down I-84 for miles. From one day to the next, it grew from 3000 acres to 10,000 acres. And all because, allegedly, some teenagers threw fireworks off a cliff.
If you’ve never been there, here’s my photos from two visits to the Gorge so that you can see what we’re losing right now. This is a shot from the Washington side, looking up the Columbia towards Cascade Locks.
It was a gorgeous place to take a boat ride and see the Bridge of the Gods from the water. Most of that green you see in the photo below is now burned away.
The breath-taking Multnomah Falls is threatened and firefighters worked all of Monday night to save historic buildings there. Will they win in the end or will the fire take it all?
It was such a stunning place and I’m glad I got to see it before this happened. I did a half-marathon here in 2015 and saw it up close, trails and forest roads, and it was one of the most beautiful races I’ve ever done.
Here’s what it the Gorge looked like last night:
I don’t have a good ending for this post because the fire rages on. Keep the Columbia Gorge in your thoughts, I know it’s in mine even as I watch Houston’s recovery, the Montana and Idaho fires, and Irma’s path south of me.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King