The lodge at Multnomah Falls is open again — and that’s not fake news. But the lodge is about all that’s open. The route to the first viewpoint is screened off with a section of chain-link fence. This is the best shot I could get holding my camera up over my head to clear the fence. You can see the railing of the distant observation area in the lower right corner. Even as I stood behind the barrier, workers brought more fence to make sure that certain ‘gray areas’ of access were no longer open to interpretation.
The wind was hurtling westward down the gorge, and plastic chairs that may have earlier welcomed winter tourists’ butts were now stacked in compact piles, perhaps to avoid the prospect of flying furniture.
Tree limbs combed the sky for litter nits.
Already, it’s hard to be certain if one is looking at fire damage, or autumn’s annual tree stripping.
It’s so windy that some waterfalls stop falling.
The iridescent sheen of charcoal is the tell-tale signature of the fire.
The high ridges exposed to the wind bore the brunt of the flames.
At least some of the railing at the top observation platform appears to be intact.
Fire has rhymes and reasons that I don’t understand.
The same niche that protects the falls from today’s wind must also have provided some degree of aerodynamic shelter during the fire.
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Some of the burnt trees have been removed, and I suppose park personnel have taken steps to make the area look nice. But enough evidence remains to speculate that the lodge’s survival — is a surprise.
|Artist's depiction of Eagle Creek Fire at Multnomah Lodge 09/05/17|