America's Vancouver charms, too
By Wendy Donahue
Here is consolation for any Olympics fans who find themselves in the wrong Vancouver — Vancouver, Wash., instead of Vancouver, British Columbia:
Spectacular sights surround America's Vancouver too, where you'd be best off not only missing your Olympic mark by about 300 miles but also postponing your arrival by about six months.
Multnomah Falls: About 30 miles east of Vancouver is one of the tallest waterfalls in the nation. "We get 7,500 gallons of water per second over the falls in winter and 750 per second in the summer," said Flora Huber, a Multnomah Falls volunteer, mountain climber and lifelong resident of the area. www.multnomahfalls.org.
Timberline Lodge: Boasting the only ski area in North America open 12 months a year, the national historic landmark, about 60 miles southeast of Vancouver, was built during the Great Depression on Oregon's tallest mountain — the 11,240 -foot volcano, Mount Hood.
From mid-July to October, hikers can trek the 40-mile Timberline Trail circling the peak. Experienced climbers can attempt to summit the world's second-most-climbed mountain, surpassed only by Japan's Mount Fuji. "People think it's an easy thing to do, and it's not," Huber said. timberlinelodge.com.
Bonneville Lock and Dam: Spanning the Columbia River about 40 miles east of Vancouver, this national historic landmark has fish ladders that allow salmon to swim upstream in the spring to spawn, with an underwater glass viewing area. Various fish species migrate at different times. For fish viewing as well as other sightseeing, "mid- to late-summer is the best time to visit," said Robin Norris, a park ranger at the Bonneville Lock and Dam. "July, August and September are just beautiful." www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/b/home.asp.
Mount St. Helens: The volcano blew its top in May 1980, killing 57 people and inflicting serious damage. The volcano's Johnston Ridge Observatory, northeast of Vancouver, reopens for the season May 16. "They show a movie of the eruption," Huber said. "Then they raise the curtain, and the crater is right in front of you." Helicopter tours are $149 per person; www.mt-st-helens.com. They run July through September.