Crown Point, Columbia River Gorge
Everyone said that Easter Sunday would be rainy here in this corner of Oregon. (Yes, it did rain, didn’t it? But not until the late afternoon though!) Despite the forecasted gloom, my friends and I went to watch the sunrise by the Vista House at Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge.
Leaving Portland bright and early (before dawn!) we drove out to old Highway 30, the Historic Columbia River Highway. Taking exit 22 off Highway 84 to Corbett, we picked up 30 and headed northeast along the State Scenic Corridor, driving above and parallel to 84 and the Columbia River.
Somehow I thought we would be alone up at Crown Point at sunrise (7:09 a.m.), but others were already parked there when we arrived. One man had a tripod and camera set up, and out of another car a guy would hop out into the cold to quickly take a few photos or a panorama before hopping back in the car where he and a gal would just sit for awhile. During our time there, several other cars came by. Some people paused awhile and ventured to briskly amble along the walkway, while others slowly cruised by and then sped off. The view is worth the stop. For simply miles you can see up and down the river.
While the cloud cover prevented us from actually seeing the sun appear over the horizon, it was beautiful to see the Gorge awake and the daylight emerge. Birds chirped, blossomed trees swayed and the moon shone bright in the west. My fingers, despite my gloves, froze, loose hair and clothes whipped in the breeze, and all the while my eyes savored the views and teared up with every cold gust. As the sky slowly lightened, the little lights of towns and dwellings along the river faded along with what earlier were bright pricks of light speeding below along 84.
From one of the information signs I learned, “Samuel C. Lancaster, the design engineer of the Historic Columbia River Highway, envisioned this outcropping as the ideal site for a rest stop and observatory where the Gorge ‘could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite’.” As I was there contemplating the rising of the sun (along with the Easter risen Son aspect), I felt that his vision was satisfied.
Up at Crown Point the visitor’s center, the Vista House, sits as the “Jewel on the Crown”. A lovely stone building, almost 100 years old (built in 1917), it sat majestic and closed while we were there. Next time we visit Crown Point we might be there during visitor hours.