You can see it from anywhere in the Portland Metropolitan area. It’s like a giant, white capped hat, a beacon of hope, a comfort that is always there. Mt. Hood, the extinct volcano that is as much an icon of the Oregonian as the Welcome to Portland sign, micro-brew, sandals and socks, and the Portland Trail Blazers.
This gorgeous piece of nature is a gem; a treasure which we all take for granted.
It’s majestic and gigantic and yet, somehow consolatory and quaint. Like a lazy train ride through snow-capped mountains or hillsides full of wild flowers. Now, there is an idea.
Wait a minute. There IS an idea. Turns out, I can get up close and personal with Majestic Hood AND do it from the comfort and charm of a train. The Mt. Hood Railroad.
Mt. Hood Railroad offers “A scenic excursion…through the Columbia River Gorge with a 30-minute stop in Odell for a picnic or nature hike. Passengers enjoy relaxing and refurbished vintage rail cars with views of forests, orchards, and local vineyards. A meal is included in diamond- and first-class seating and available for purchase in standard-class seating.”
I’m sure that there are people out there that don’t like trains. But, I don’t want to meet said people. Really, it’s the only way to travel anywhere so, you can imagine my joy on that day when we finally decided make our excursion to the Gorge for a train ride of epic proportions. The kids, bundled like they were boarding the Polar Express, could barely suppress their excitement. Ditto their father.
The train started up. Chug, chug, chug. Oh. It was like traveling back in time. To simpler times when people looked at the scenery around them and didn’t have their faces glued to a pix-elated screen. I felt like I was among the first riders of the train, back at the turn of the 20th century and I swear, as Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood smiled down on me, I could smell the processed wood and the freshly harvested fruit (two of the areas biggest exports) as the train meandered through the Hood River Valley.
As we rode, though, my tummy rumbled, just in time, as a dinner, made primarily from locally produced farms, was served. The savory aromas and Five Star presentation tantalized me as I waited for my family to come back (they were experiencing the Pullman Club Car) from an excursion of their own. The wait was worth it, as the food managed to please every sense and left me satiated and smiling.
A trip that satisfied my love of nostalgia, filled my stomach, and pleased all of my senses…I definitely plan on taking a trip on the Mt. Hood Railroad again at my next available opportunity. Not too far from Portland, it’s something every Oregonian should experience at least once.
For more information, please visit http://www.mthoodrr.com/.