“Hidden” Multnomah Falls
During the winter, or periods of heavy rain, a second falls shows up at Multnomah Falls. In this case, higher elevations of the Columbia River Gorge had seen several inches of snow and it was starting to melt off.
Nearby are these two history signs.
It says: “The Human-Caused Falls Fire was first sighted at 11PM on the cliffs near Multnomah Falls on October 9, 1991. The raging fire threatened homes and buildings, but local forces combined with 1,426 firefighters from around the United States battle the 1,600-acre blaze in six days. The fire came within thirteen feet of historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, which firefighters covered with protective foam to prevent damage.
Fire is a natural part of our ecosystem, but 90% of Gorge fires are human caused. The west end of the Columbia River Gorge receives close to 75 inches of rain per a year, and Multnomah Falls, is one of the wettest areas in the Gorge. Even though the area is at times saturated with water, it can still burn. The Gorge’s extremely strong winds, seasonal drying, topography, and humans carelessness all contribute to the probability of forest fires.”
It says: “Viento means wind in Spanish, but travel was anything but a breeze for the early emigrants venturing through the Columbia River Gorge. Perilous rapids, rocks, and currents threatened those who traveled by water. Steep cliffs, thick forests and muddy quagmires made land travel just as challenging.
With thousands of settlers trekking to Oregon, impassable segments of the Columbia River provided golden opportunities for entrepreneurs. The region’s first railroads follow portage trails around rapids at the Cascades and The Dalles. The first of these opened on the Washington side of the river 1851, and within six years another operated on the Oregon side.
Although these railways were little more than flat-cars drawn along wooden rails by mules, they held promise. Competing railroad owners eventually joined forces, and within 30 years, Oregon’s link to the Northern Transcontinental Railroad was forged through the Columbia River Gorge on Iron Rails.”