But I’ve never been one for conforming to the masses.
Instead, I used others’ desire to do so to my advantage.
Sleeping in (since we don’t need to start hikes at 6am to avoid hot weather), I waited till noon, when I suspected most people would already by at their perspective gathering places, and drove to the first natural touristy spot that I assumed would be crowded every other minute of every other day: Vista Point.
I was rewarded with easy parking and only a few families still out and about before settling in for their long afternoon of eating and holiday cheer.
There were a few too many people around to get great sweeping photographs of the Columbia Gorge, but at least I was able to get a couple of shots sans humans.
Figuring there would be even fewer people there than at Vista Point, once we finished up our walk around the Vista Point building and Tucker tired of my photo shoot, we headed to the Scenic Viewpoint.
In my quest for a non-crowded Thanksgiving, I succeeded. Only a few cars were in the vast parking lot that sloped downhill toward the overlook of the river.
The first thing I noted was the little white dome downriver: that is Vista Point. Grey up close but white in the sparkling sunshine from afar, rather than being a place to view from, it became part of the view itself.
After appreciating the view, Gertrude, and all the women did (and still do) for Mother Nature, we headed down off the mountain to Red Rooster State Park for a walk along the River we had been admiring from afar for the past few hours.
Tucker and I carried on along the river, getting a few peeks of the river but mostly walking along the flat leaf-lined trail though the woods.
I hope you all got to gather—or not gather, if that be your preference—with those you love and share the gratitude for this thing we call life. Whether you enjoy an urban outing or seeing the stars alone in a campsite miles from civilization, I hope you were able to be wherever you find joy. For that’s what life is about: expressing gratitude for every moment of joy this beautiful life has to offer.