I was coming home from a bible quizzing competition in Portland, several days ago, with one of the students from our team. When we were approaching Multnomah falls, I asked him if he had ever stopped at the visitor center to see the falls up close. He hadn’t, but wanted to, so we stopped.
For some unknown reason, I suggested that we make the 1 mile hike up the steep path to the top, so we could look down into the gorge from high above. I didn’t remember that hike being so intensely strenuous.
We eventually made it to the top. All delays in getting there were on me. I had to stop for rest several times. After reaching the top, we looked over the edge from the view point, took a few pictures, and headed back down the path. Boy, was I happy that the return trip was all downhill. That made for much easier travel.
Before we left the visitor center, I stopped in the gift shop to browse. I decided to purchase a coffee mug to add to my collection. This particular mug had the legend of the Multnomah Princess inscribed into it.
Summary version of the Multnomah Princess Legend
There was a terrible sickness that threatened lives of the Multnomah people. An old medicine man revealed that the sickness had been foretold but that it would pass if a maiden descendant of a tribal chief would throw herself from a high cliff above the big river and onto the rocks below. The chief was not willing to sacrifice any of the princesses, so he elected to allow the sickness to run it’s course.
When the Chief’s daughter saw that the sickness had affected her lover, she went up to the top of the cliff and threw herself to the rocks below. Upon her death, the sickness immediately began to leave the affected people.
Now, when the breeze blows through the water, a silvery stream separates from the upper falls. The misty stream fashions a form of the maiden, a token of the “Great Spirit’s” acceptance of her sacrifice.
Here is a more detailed version of the Multnomah Princess Legend.
When you are traveling along I-84 through the gorge between Portland and Hood River, I highly recommend that you stop by the falls to enjoy its magnificence