Day 1 for us was primarily spent traveling; however, we did have time to prepare for the week and sneak in a nice waterfall hike after we arrived. View our itinerary here.
On day 1, we headed to the airport and ate our breakfast bowls on the way. The airport experience was uneventful except one slight problem with the airline meal. I had called American Airlines two days prior to our flight (within their limit) and spoke to an agent about special meals for the flight. The choices were gluten free and vegetarian. No other details about the meal could be provided (red flag for special diets!!). I confirmed the gluten free meals for each of us, but I knew I couldn't count on the meal being safe to eat without knowing other ingredients. Boy, am I glad I packed lunch! When the meals were served, the flight attendant didn't have a gluten free meal for us at all. Thankfully, we ate our brown bag lunch and had enough snacks to carry us over until we reached Portland. Moral of this story: Always plan ahead and be prepared.
After we arrived in Portland and picked up the rental car, we drove into town to do our shopping. We stopped at Whole Foods for fruit, snacks and water bottles. We stopped at Fred Meyers for a disposable cooler, ice and large trash bags (next time, I will pack a few extra large trash bags). We found it easier to buy a disposable cooler at our destination than try to check one at the airport. We lined the cooler with a trash bag to prevent leaks in the rental car, dumped in the water bottles and filled with ice. On our way to the lodge, we stopped at a Plaid Pantry convenience store to buy the Northwest Forest Pass.
We stayed at the Bridal Veil Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge. The location was perfect! The room was small but offered all the space and amenities we needed. Best of all, all of our food restrictions were more than accommodated. I emailed Beatriz about all of our food restrictions after we made our reservation. I was expecting to get an "I'm sorry we cannot accommodate you reply"; however, she responded with an "ok". Simple as that. It was awesome! We rate the Bridal Veil Lodge 5 stars and would definitely stay there again.
After we got settled, we hiked to Bridal Veil Falls before dinner. The trailhead had plenty of parking access from the highway and was across the street from the lodge! It was an easy hike to both the overlook and bottom of falls.
After our hike, we had dinner at the lodge. We ordered our dinners and packed lunches at the lodge ahead of time when we placed our reservation. All of our meals were delicious, local, organic, contained farm-to-table items AND met all of our food restrictions! We had basil lemon water, fresh roasted chicken, acorn mash and green salad with fennel and zucchini. After dinner and before bed, we laid out our clothes and supplies for the next day.
Interested in other posts in this series? You might enjoy...
Columbia River Gorge - Itinerary
Columbia River Gorge - How We Planned
Columbia River Gorge - What to Wear
Columbia River Gorge - What to Pack