Hardangerfjord and the Columbia River Gorge

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I have always liked the Columbia River Gorge area. It’s an area which reminds me of Hardangerfjord in Norway.

The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States bordering Oregon and Washington.

Columbia River Gorge, USA bordering between Oregon and Washington.

Now, there are no real comparisons to the fjords of Norway (best place on Earth).

Hardangerfjord, Norway

But the Columbia River Gorge is the closest I have ever found in the United States.

The deep cold waters and the scenery are nearly the same in these two areas. They are also both well known for their fruit orchards with ideal valleys to grow them. If you ever plan to visit either or both of them, I highly recommend going in the Springtime when the orchards are at full blossom.

It’s hard to explain and it’s something you have to see for yourself.  The entire hillsides leading up the mountains become brilliant in color in such a way that no camera can catch it properly.

But there is also a wind.

One of the downsides of the gorges of Hardangerfjord and Columbia River is that the wind picks up speed through the valleys like a wind tunnel.  Best to wear a hat or scarf if you’re worried about your hair.  The wind made the Columbia River Gorge, particularly in Hood River, the windsurfing capital of the world.

and whatever those water-ski kite thingies are called.

Although, I do not recommend wind surfing in Hardangerfjord.  The water is cold… very cold.

The water in the Columbia River is cold as well.  Windsurfers wear suits to protect them from the cold waters.

Swimming the Fjord on a nice hot summer’s day still requires a wet-suit to protect you from the water’s cold temperatures from hypothermia.

The water’s temperature only changes a few degrees.  The waters of the Fjord and Gorge run deep with strong currents.  It’s a good place to store your beer and keep it icy cold.

How cold are the waters in the Summer? 

Well, let me put it to you this way, once I just waded into the river about waist deep.  The water quickly chilled through my skin and numbed my muscles as they tightened trying to cramp.  My ‘nads completely disappeared without leaving so much as a note.  They just packed up their stuff and took the longship with them. The only thing left behind was his turtleneck …

See: Water temperature and the effects on your body

I quickly turned around and got out with my teeth chattering uncontrollably as I made my back to the car to warm up.

Pretty to look at, but I don’t recommend swimming without a suit to keep you warm.

Both places are definitely worth the visit. 

Oregon’s Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge


Trolltunga (Troll Tongue) at hardangerfjord region in Norway


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