Vacation Day 4: Mt. Hood Railway and Columbia Cruise

For the fourth day of our vacation the whole family group took a ride on the Mount Hood Railroad and, later, a dinner cruise on the Columbia Gorge sternwheeler.

The historic Mount Hood Railroad runs about twenty miles south from Hood River, Oregon—a mid-sized town nestled against the Columbia River—to the tiny town of Parkdale, Oregon, almost in the shadow of Mount Hood. Along the way you pass through one of only five switchbacks still in-use across the United States. Built in 1906 and 1909 the line served commercial traffic in the area until Union Pacific threatened to shut it down in 1987, at which point it was purchased by private investors. It continues operation primarily as a tourist line, although it still serves a handful of small commercial customers. Although the weather was quite overcast, we still got a good look at some of the local sights.

Then, after a rest back at the house, we drove out to the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon, to board the Columbia Gorge sternwheeler for a dinner cruise. The food was okay, but the views of the cloud-covered Columbia Gorge (and a different angle on the Bonneville Dam) were pretty impressive.

Photos from day four are below. Don’t expect any from day five, since it is shaping up to be a quiet day at the house with the family. We’ll be in Portland on day six.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.