We went on three familiar hikes, and to the Maryhill Museum of Art.
11/3 Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA
This used to be our reliable close-in flat walk, for partly rainy days, where we could go to see upside down trees reflected in the lake, and often, many waterfowl. For the past couple of years, the site has undergone major reconstruction. The berm that separates these lowlands from flooding by the Columbia River has been breached in order to reconnect salmon to the Gibson Creek drainage. On our first visit back on the rerouted trails we saw a few birds and drained lakes. I will be interested to walk the rest of the trails when the project is complete.
11/10 Angel’s Rest, OR
We save this popular close-in trail for midweek hikes. The trail zigs and zags up, through the forest, then the cliffs, to stunning panoramic views up and down the gorge, and across to the snowy Washington peaks (4.5 miles, 1500 feet).
11/14 The Labyrinth, WA
Our reliable eastern gorge hike, especially on windier days when the basalt columns give some protection. I love to visit all my favorite trees along the trail, and check the water levels in Hidden Creek (4 miles, 800′).
11/8 Maryhill Museum of Art, WA
I was still nursing a knee injury, so instead of hiking, we drove east of our usual winter hiking ground and visited the Maryhill Museum of Art. It is perched on a cliff edge on the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge, in a mansion built by Sam Hill. He was the remarkable American businessman who built railroads and roads, including some of the first roads through the Columbia River Gorge. He travelled through Europe in the early 20th century, and made many artist friends who convinced him to turn his mansion into a museum. The building was started in 1914, but not opened until 1940. It contains an eclectic selection of art, some donated by Sam Hill’s friends, some acquired later. So out in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, is a museum with galleries of Rodin sculptures, gilt furniture that once belonged to the Queen of Romania, historical exhibits about Sam Hill and friends, and a large and well curated display of Native American art and artifacts. And hundreds of chess sets from all over the world. It is a beautiful collection.
We walked around to the eastern entrance plaza.
There is an entire gallery dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor, including a fascinating exhibit with miniatures showing each step in the process of Lost Wax Bronze Casting. We had just seen one of Rodin’s more famous pieces, the Burghers of Calais, in the Washington DC Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and here was a whole roomful of bronze statues, and plaster casts, working models, sketches and completed pieces.
Another Gallery, Theater de la Mode, displays miniature mannequin collections from Paris fashion houses.
Native American Art and artifacts are on display in several galleries:
And extensive displays of beading, basketry, stone, leather, weaving, pottery and other antiquities, organized by regions of the west. This exhibit is scheduled to be overhauled during the winter closure. (The museum is closed from midNovember to midMarch).
The last gallery we visited was the hall of chess sets – over 400, from all over the world, carved or sculpted from many different media, a dazzling display.
As we exited the museum, we walked again along the outdoor plaza, admiring the views and outdoor art installations.
I can’t believe I had never been here before, but I hope to return next year when they host their annual plain air exhibit.