Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pics: Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook


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A few photos from the overlook at Bridal Veil State Park. Bridal Veil Falls is the main event at the park, and until I visited back in August I didn't realize there was anything else there worth seeing. To get to the spot pictured here, there's a trail blandly marked something like "interpretive trail". Interpretive trails tend to be boring affairs aimed at children and the elderly, with endless signs lecturing you about native wildflowers and so forth. I don't think the signs even mention there's a view, or at least they don't play it up very much. Once you've located the trail and decided to give it a try, it's a brief, flat walk to sheer cliffs overlooking the Columbia. From the parking lot you wouldn't have any idea they were there.

Bridal Veil Overlook

Looking west. The island in the center is known as "Sand Island", for reasons that will become apparent in a subsequent photo.

Bridal Veil Overlook

Looking north at the area called Cape Horn, on the Washington side of the Gorge. It's a fairly dramatic area with surprisingly little in the way of public facilities. busy SR14 runs over the top and I think there's a viewpoint somewhere up there, but that's about it so far, except for a few unofficial trails that I understand are kind of rough and scary. The land's slowly being acquired from various private owners, so maybe someday there'll be more to see and do over there.

Bridal Veil Overlook

Back in the 19th century, some imaginative soul saw the rounded rocks shown here and named them "The Pillars of Hercules". People just don't do silly romanticized names like they used to. What you see here is actually just one of the pillars. The other's just to the left, now covered by dense trees. When it was named originally, it's likely the area had been clearcut not long before. Victorian-era Oregonians may have been silly and melodramatic and all that, but in the end they were a practical lot, so a bit of dramatic geology wasn't going to stop them from cutting the trees down. In any case, the hidden pillar really isn't a pillar at all, but is part of the cliff face, similar to what I was standing on when I took the photo.

Apparently some people have taken to climbing the pillar you see here. Which I find precisely as incomprehensible as I do climbing anywhere else.

And here's an old photo of the place, circa 1885. Seems that once upon a time the railroad tracks passed through the narrow gap between the pillars instead of curving around the outside like they do now. I suppose even hardheaded railroad engineers were into the whole melodrama thing back in the day.

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

Bridal Veil Overlook

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