TRAVEL THERE: STARVATION CREEK RICH WITH BEAUTY
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today’s focus is Starvation Creek State Park.
I like to brag about my vacation planning skills, but the truth is that every trip depends somewhat on luck. The day we drove the Columbia River Gorge Highway, it felt like luck decided to hitch a ride with us from Portland to Hood River. Time and time again we arrived at just the right place at just the right time and I can’t take an ounce of credit. That’s how it was a Starvation Creek.
Bill usually needs a quick cat nap in the late afternoon, especially when we’re traveling. After eighteen years of marriage, I’m well aware of this fact, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing it wasn’t so or trying to ignore it every once and a while. When we’re stationary with a hotel nearby, it may slow me down, but it’s no big deal. When we’re between destinations, it can be a problem.
I took over the wheel when we headed west from the Bonneville Lock and Dam, but in just a few miles Bill wanted to take a nap without the wheels whining in the background. The next exit just happened to be Starvation Creek and even though it was nowhere on my itinerary, I pulled over. To entertain myself while he napped, I pulled out our new camera and decided to play around with it and get a feel for it. Bill’s the primary photographer and I usually handle the post-trip scrapbooking, but from time to time I need to be able to get the shot.
Visiting Starvation Creek
I moseyed into the park and started reading all the signs, trying to figure out why the area was called Starvation Creek. Come to find out, a train wreck occurred during a blizzard somewhere nearby. It was during the winter holidays and the passengers, stranded for an extended period of time suffered hardship and privations, but no one starved. That didn’t prevent it from being a media sensation and the name Starvation Creek stuck to the area.
It’s a nice park with restrooms, picnic tables and nature paths. I saw a lot of people dressed for hiking climbing over a hill and disappearing, but I stuck the the area close to the parking lot since my real goal was to practice with the camera. And practice I did. I got up close and personal with individual leaves, took a myriad of shots of a split rail fence and tried various settings beyond my usual favorite, automatic.
Along the way, I took my National Geographic shot. You know National Geographic. I’m well aware of my amateur status as a photographer. I know the people who create the gorgeous art filling those yellow bordered magazines would laugh at my attempts, but when I take a really great shot – the kind you only get to have maybe a dozen times in your life – I call it a National Geographic shot. The problem is, I rarely know exactly how I got the shot. Part of what I like about this one is the way the left side fades away, like I’ve happened up on some fairy threshold and I’m one step away from a fantasy, but I don’t know how I did it.
But back to reality. Starvation Creek is lovely and if you’re rolling along the Columbia Gorge Highway, there’s no reason not to give it a little of your time, especially if you need to stretch your legs or catch a few z’s. When Bill’s catnap was over, he wanted to take a gander at the park. Over the hill was a gorgeous lake. No wonder so many people had ventured over the hill. He glanced around at the scenery, listened to my tale of non-starvation and media sensations. Then we headed on to Hood River. Come back next week and visit the Windsurfing Capital of the World.