Above is this weeks free desktop. Back again to this beautiful place in the Pacific Northwest called the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. For those not familiar with the Columbia River Gorge, it's a magnificent 80 mile long, up to 4000ft deep river canyon which cuts through the volcanic rock of the Cascade Mountains. The Columbia River is the only sea-level river running through the Cascades which makes it an important transportation corridor, as much today as it was in the past. The history of this area is extremely fascinating and well worth a little reading on the subject, but we won't get into it here, there's just not enough space. Now, what I do have space for is pointing out some of the prime sights here. The view at Vista House on Crown Point is breath taking, Bonneville Dam - not a natural wonder, but an impressive piece of work none the less, Multnomath Falls and the other 76 falls on the Oregon side, miles of hiking trails, these are just a few sights which make this a must visit area. The photo this week is from the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge at Cape Horn Viewpoint on Route 14. This is eastward view down the Columbia with one feature I want to point out. Center of the picture, just to the left and peeking out from behind a hill, you will notice a bump of rock. This is Beacon Rock, a 848 ft remnant of an ancient volcano (it is possible to climb to the top of it and gain a unique perspective of the gorge (;). Honestly, there is so much to do and see in the Columbia River Gorge, one needs to consider this a "destination" rather than a "stopover" (2-3 days are necessary just to hit the high points here). If you find yourself around Portland, OR with a couple of days on your hands, take I-84 east on the Oregon side or Route 14 on the Washington side and be prepared for some amazing sights.

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