Mystical Latourell Falls in Oregon

LATOURELL FALLS, OREGON: Latourell Falls is another gem of Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Located on the Historic Columbia River Highway, this holds no less charm than its granddaddy Multnomah Falls. This is a perfect place for family, kids, beginner hikers, photographers, nature-lovers, and anyone who enjoys outdoors. When this highway was completed in 1915, generous landowners donated property to create scenic retreats along the route. So when you are here, don’t leave the site without visiting the nearby historic bridges, numerous stunning falls, friendly hiking trails, and breathtaking views of the river, gorge, and mountains.

Latourell Falls - a gem of Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

Latourell Falls – a gem of Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

Latourell is a plunge falls with a majestic height of 249 feet that drops straight down from an overhanging basalt cliff. I took the Historic Columbia River Highway, passed Bridal Veil and Shepherd’s Dell to reach here. You don’t need to hike to see this one of a kind Columbia Gorge falls. It’s a nice and short walk from the parking lot. I was there around 9 in the morning in November 2014 and I was lucky to have that misty autumn morning surrounded by Latourell Falls and Creek all to myself. Autumn colors, mossy rocks, misty water, and wet wooden footbridge made this place right out of a fairy-tale book.

Latourell Falls drops straight down 249 feet from an overhanging basalt cliff...Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Latourell Falls drops straight down 249 feet from an overhanging basalt cliff…Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

It’s located in Guy W. Talbot State Park. I didn’t hike to see the upper Falls, but after a 0.8 mile of hike from the lower one, that’s supposed to be very rewarding too.

 

Autumn in Latourell Falls and creek in Oregon

Autumn in Latourell Falls and creek in Oregon

A magical fall morning in Latourell Falls in Oregon

A magical fall morning in Latourell Falls in Oregon

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Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN, OREGON: “Here, miles from Japan, I stand as if warmed by the spring sunshine of home” is what the Poetry Stone of Portland Japanese Garden inscribed with. Truly, this place makes you feel like you are in a place far away in the East. This 5.5 acre garden is proclaimed to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Tucked away in the scenic hills of Portland, this is a tranquil haven for anyone.

Heavenly Falls in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Heavenly Falls in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden features five different garden styles and some of these styles are typically found in Zen monasteries. It changes its face with every season with different blooms and colors. Different trees adorn this place at different times of the year. My favorite is probably the autumn when colors change and you see eloquent beauty of this place. I still have to visit this place during the cherry blossom in April. Try to avoid weekends as this garden is packed with tourists and enthusiasts photographers trying to capture its striking beauty from different angles and perspectives.

Falls colors in Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

Falls colors in Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

The garden hosts different art exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and lectures throughout the whole year in the Pavilion. My first visit here was a brief one only with my camera and a tripod. During my second visit with my family and uncle-in-law from Chicago, there was an exhibition on Japanese lacquered art “Urushi”. Also standing on the veranda of this Pavilion offers a magnificent view of Mt. Hood and the valley.

Intimate pond and crane statues in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Intimate pond and crane statues in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Stroll around stone pagoda lantern, stand on the Moon Bridge, enjoy Lower Pond and crane stones, marvel at traditional constructions, walk along the Zig Zag Bridge that leads to Heavenly Falls where koi swim beneath the clear water. You will enjoy the trees, shrubs, ferns, mosses, and mushrooms that grow in their natural form. Make sure to stop by their gift-shop for unique Japanese arts and traditional trinkets at the end of the trip.

Mushrooms on the ground of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Mushrooms on the ground of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

The garden is located on Kingston Avenue in Portland, very close to Children’s Museum and Washington Park. It’s open year-round. There is a paid parking space for the visitors. Entrance fee is $9.50 per adult and extra $5 if you want to use a tripod. Free guided tour is available few times in a day during summer time.

A small stream running down in the middle of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

A small stream running down in the middle of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

 

 

Autumn Reflection on Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

COMMONWEALTH LAKE PARK, OREGON: It’s been about three months since we’ve moved back to our home in Oregon from Europe. We are enjoying our lives here no doubt, but we miss the fact that (along with thousands of other things about Europe) there is no more eager waiting to go to a new place in weekends or holidays. I don’t really look forwards to the weekends anymore, because it’s not like we can drive couple hours and visit a different country, experience new culture, try different dishes, or appreciate old architectures. So, before the weather got really wet and gloomy here in the Northwest part of America, I tried my best to get of the house with my camera and see the unseen of my city…trying my best not to miss my life in Belgium.

Commonwealth Lake Park showed up in my smartphone map as a blue/water area while I was searching for something else. And I jumped and zoomed in to see what it actually was and where it was located. To my surprise, it’s only 10 minutes from my place in Beaverton, Oregon. What? There was this lake in my city and I didn’t even know about it? I had to go visit it while the mesmerizing fall colors were still at peak.

Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Commonwealth Lake Park is a nice little haven for walking, strolling, fishing, bird-watching, or just simple family time for the locals. It was middle of October 2014 when I made my first time trip there. The park was proudly showing off its vivid autumn colors on the trees, grounds, and as reflections on the lake.

Autumn reflection on Commonwealth Lake in Oregon

Autumn reflection on Commonwealth Lake in Oregon

Here are more pictures of my autumn experience in Commonwealth Lake Park. Enjoy…

Chasing mushrooms in Commonwealth Lake Park, Oregon

Chasing mushrooms in Commonwealth Lake Park, Oregon

Mallard ducks in Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Mallard ducks in Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Famous tree of Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Famous tree of Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Nature walk in La Hulpe, Belgium

LA HULPE, BELGIUM: Belgium continues to surprise us with its history and natural beauties. La Hulpe is one of those places where both nature and history come together in one splendid landscape.

La Hulpe Castle in Belgium
La Hulpe Castle in Belgium
              

Since fall is almost here in Belgium, I wanted to get out of the house with my camera to shoot some fall colors in any nearby site. La Hulpe, a Walloon town (French territory of Belgium), is only 10 miles from Tervuren. Park and trails of La Hulpe is part of Soignes Forest which is the biggest preserved forest in Belgium.

Fall colors in Soignes Forest in Belgium
Fall colors in Soignes Forest in Belgium
              

I reached there around 5:30 pm, by then, the sunny harsh light was gone. Many children, especially scout teams, were there to do some nature walks and exploration activities. The park is huge, I mean it’s very big and will need few trips to cover at least the main natural sites. I didn’t really go into deep trails or forest on my first trip, just followed a paved path that led me to the Castle of La Hulpe.

Close-up La Hulpe Castle in Wallonia of Belgium
Close-up La Hulpe Castle in Wallonia of Belgium
               

I am not sure if you can actually go inside the castle. But my daughter was saying they went inside during their trip here with school French instructor two years ago. But anyways, it was closed by the time I went there. There is a small but beautiful garden in one side of the castle and front of it is a big meadow. A lake awaits after you cross the neat green field of grass. It was just beautiful. I promised myself that I would come back here once again during the peak of fall and get some nice photos of patches of colors from the trees surrounding the lake.

A small lake in front of the castle in Soignes Forest, Belgium
A small lake in front of the castle in Soignes Forest, Belgium
           

La Hulpe Park is a perfect place for joggers, runners, photographers, explorers, and people who just love nature. There was a little history board giving some info on the castle as well as Soignes Forest, but everything was in French…so really couldn’t figure out anything. But overall it was worth spending 2 ½ hours here with my camera last Saturday…gotta come back again though.

A perfect place to mingle with the nature in La Hulpe, Belgium
A perfect place to mingle with the nature in La Hulpe, Belgium
       

This and that

First of all, thanks to all my followers for inspiring me by liking, commenting, and sharing different posts/pages of my blog. It means a lot to me, like any other bloggers. Thanks a lot…

While I am working on my next and final post on Jerusalem (its a longgg one :/) just thought to give you some updates on our upcoming trips. We have already got our tickets bought and hotels booked for all the MAJOR trips until February 2013 (given nothing will happen on December 21st, 2012). I capitalized the word “major” because I am not counting the nearby places which we will visit over the weekends in between those trip. We will be going to Cairo in December, Marrakesh
in January, and Amman/Petra in February. I am so very thrilled that finally I will be able to put my feet in the continent of Africa. Oh yeh, it’s a great feeling and something we all are anxiously looking forward to.

Before I take off, enjoy the following fall photos from our Tervuren Park. My almost-7 years old daughter and I actually managed to get up at 7 in the morning last Sunday to go to this lovely park, only 5 minutes drive from our home, to take some pictures of the sunrise. But we didn’t expect to see 50 shades of fall colors in the woods. She enjoyed her first sunrise while I enjoyed taking some shots of a magical wintery-autumn morning of Belgium.

A magical morning in Tervuren, Belgium

Autumn in full swing in Tervuren Park, Belgium

The first ray of sun on the lake in Tervuren Park, Belgium

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