Upon returning home from my vacation, I took a regional puddlejumper flight from Eugene, Oregon to Seattle, and reserved a seat on the right side of the plane in order to see the Cascade Mountains and the main cities in the Willamette Valley as we flew north.
It was a glorious flight. Perfect views of the Cascades, which had gotten their first coating of snow since I had hiked in them the previous week, and fascinating glimpses of the cities I grew up in. Everything looks so different from the air. Also, I’m a map lover, so flying over the Willamette Valley felt like swooping across a particularly well-drawn, three-dimensional version of a map I’ve studied and used for years.
It was early afternoon, so I didn’t see Portland looking quite like this in terms of color. But some things will always be the same: Mt. Hood looming directly east of the city, with the truncated Mt. St. Helens just north of it, and not one but eleven bridges crossing the Willamette River within city limits. (Two more cross the Columbia River just north of the city, where it marks the dividing line between Oregon and Washington.) For this reason, Portland’s nickname is Bridgetown.
Another advantage of that flight: a brief glimpse straight down the Columbia River Gorge and into the high plateaus beyond the Cascade Mountains. Might have to scare up another wallpaper featuring that for next week.
I’m sure it was just coincidence that the moment we crossed the Columbia River and began flying over Washington, the clouds appeared and I couldn’t see anything but white fluff.
(Click the image to Portlandate.)