Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Dam Bridge

I used to live by the Big Dam Bridge, and over the years I have made a ton of trips there. But I haven’t been to the bridge since I moved across the river to Little Rock last year. So last week I grabbed the camera and went back to my old stomping grounds. It had been pouring down rain all day, but the clouds were breaking apart and there were a few people out at the bridge walking and fishing.

I walked out to one of my favorite places to get pictures of the bridge. A little stretch of concrete juts out into the river, just below the dam. The river was running high, and the muddy water churned past the rocks sitting below the concrete. The recent heavy rains had left a few puddles in the concrete, which provided a nice reflection of the bridge and the lights (still green for St. Patrick’s day, I guess).

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Little Rock

Last Sunday I had some free time so I decided to drive around Little Rock trying to find something to take pictures of. It was a lazy day, most of downtown was quiet and still.

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This is an old sign along an empty store along Main Street. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre was just across the street and there was a crowd of people streaming in to see a show. Although this storefront was vacant, there is a lot of new activity along Main Street. There is a lot of new development coming in that is bringing life to this forgotten stretch of downtown.

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I drove across the freeway and went by the old Woodruff House. Located along East 8th Street, the Woodruff House was built in 1853 and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The house was built for William Woodruff, who was the founder of the Arkansas Gazette. Back in 1850s, this area was located outside of the city limits and Woodruff built a country estate. During the Civil War, the Union Army took possession of the house and used it as a headquarters and as a hospital. The Woodruff family moved out of the home, and in the 1920s it was converted into apartments. It has long since fallen into disrepair and has been vacant and boarded up for years. There have been a few attempts to save the building, and it is listed for sale right now (only $175,000). Hopefully someone will step in to help save it. After the old Majestic Hotel burned in Hot Spring, we don't need to lose anymore of our historic buildings in this state.

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I drove around some more, eventually stopping by the old Cathedral of St. Andrew. It's a pretty old church, built way back in 1881. Here it is reflected in the roof of my car. I'm not too pleased with this composition, since you can some hail damage on my poor car.

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Another church nearby is the First United Methodist Church. Here is the steeple of the church, which was built around 1900, with the modern Metropolitan Bank Building in the background.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

I headed into downtown Little Rock to get a few pictures of the Junction Bridge with green lights, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. I was out there for an hour or so and then hurried back home to drink some Guinness.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oregon - Elowah Falls

On our last day in Portland, I was able to make another trip out to the Columbia River Gorge. It was on a Sunday afternoon, and since it was the weekend the waterfalls were completely packed with people. I drove by Multonah Falls and didn't even bother to stop. It was packed with people, I doubt there would have been any room to walk up there.

I drove over to one waterfall I really wanted to see, Elowah Falls. And since you have to do a hike to reach it, I figured it wouldn't be as crowded as the falls that you can see from the road. There were just a few cars in the parking lot, and I only met a few other people on the trail.

The trail to Elowah Falls is short, but requires hiking up a hill and then switchbacking down to the falls. It's a pretty hike through a mossy forest.

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Elowah Falls is 289 feet tall, dropping down a basalt cliff into a pool surrounded by boulders.

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The creek below the falls. The spray from the falls was so strong that it flow and move down the creek like a fog.

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It was a constant battle to keep the lens free of water...

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This is my favorite waterfall out of the many waterfalls we saw in Oregon. I really liked how you got to see more of the creek below the falls, as it flows past rocks and trees covered in a carpet of moss.

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And one last shot from Elowah Falls, and Oregon. There are a lot more waterfalls out there that we didn't get to see. Hopefully we can make another trip out there again soon...

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oregon - Portland

The next day we headed out to explore Portland. After breakfast at Mothers, we drove over to the South Waterfront District to take the Portland Aerial Tram. The tram is one of only two commuter trams in the country, and connects the waterfront with a hospital.

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The ride is short, only lasting a few minutes. But it does give you a good view of downtown Portland and the mountains in the distance.

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From the tram we drove north into Washington Park. Portland is famous for its roses, but since it was late February all of the roses were dormant. So we headed over to the Pittock Mansion, an mansion that was built in 1909 on a hill overlooking the city. The mansion is open for tours, but we instead went to the back to check out the view of Portland.

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You should usually be able to see Mt. Hood from here, but it was too cloudy.

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I was also excited to be there since the mansion was the finish line in the 13th season of The Amazing Race.

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Just before dark, I drove over to the Eastbank Esplanade and set up for some more shots of the Portland skyline and the Williamette River. As the sun set, the sky began to light up with color. The Esplanade was busy with people walking and riding bikes, but a lot of them stopped to watch the sunset.

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And the city after dusk. The bridge on the right is the Hawthorne Bridge, which opened in 1910. It's the oldest vertical-lift bridge in the country, and one of the busiest bridges in Portland.

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The next day, we were a bit lazy and ate lunch at Sizzle Pie and then made another visit to Powell's City of Books. We drove by this parking lot, which was tucked under a building and guarded by a tree that was straining to get some sun.

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After that I drove out of the city again, ready to visit another waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge...