Friday, August 15, 2008

Gorge Trip Report

**UPDATE - Check out my dad's account of the event**

Woo hoo! I just got back yesterday from a three day trip to the Columbia River Gorge with my folks. Two of those days involved fantastic windsurfing, and the third involved some nice hiking.

Day 1-

Loaded up the car with dad's old stuff and set forth.

Arrived in Hood River and rented some gear from Big Winds. It was relatively cheap. I got a Naish Global Wave 83 liter board, and a quiver of Naish ATV sails (4.0, 4.5, and 5.0). Then we headed East to Doug's beach on a recommendation from Mike at the shop.

It was a cool launch and the wind was really blowing (but gusty). I sailed a 4.0 for a while then switched to 4.5. Pretty amazing to be sailing such small stuff on a warm summer day in an inland area.

After the windsurfing we checked into a cheap hostel on the Washington side of the river called the "Bingen School" which used to be a school and had undergone very little modification to become a hostel.
It was $19 for a bunk in the dorm room where I stayed, and about $40 for a real room like my folks got. They still had chalkboards and maps on the walls and stuff. It was quirky and fun and the people there were friendly. I would definitely recommend it for penny pinching Gorge travelers.

Day 2-

I went back to Big Winds to get the forecast and decided to exchange some of my small gear for "big" gear; an 87 liter board and a 5.5 and 6.0. Then I sailed at the Event Site with my dad while my mom shopped and swam and stuff. Unfortunately, my dad only managed one shaky run on his longboard with the Naish 5.0. He said a combination of it being too crowded, too windy, and him not being confident in his ability to uphaul or waterstart in an emergency had given him "elder jitters". Also, he busted his skeg loose on a sandbar (but didn't lose it because he had a special break-away nut on the fin bolt). But I think he enjoyed watching and taking pictures.

This video has some grainy footage from both days.

Day 3-

It was unusually hot on both the Western and Eastern side of the Cascade Mountains, so there was no wind through the Gorge. Therefore it was the perfect day for a high altitude hike. We drove up to the Mount Hood National Forest...

...and hiked to Tawanama Falls, which was gorgeous.

Then we drove way up onto the flank of Mount Hood itself to Timberline Lodge, a Teddy-Rooseveltish spot built in the 1930s. It had a good view of another volcano, Mount Jefferson, to the South.

From the lodge we hiked up and up, through stunted trees and fields of wildflowers into the deserty alpine wasteland.

We even saw some majestic ravens.

On the way back to Olympia via Portland, we stopped at a restaurant called Calamity Jane's and got good food with a blackberry milkshake for desert. Awesome.


Paul Richardson said...

That's so AWESOME! James, that looks like some REAL good times! Rock on!

Outdrsmn said...

Sweet!!! You certianly haven't missed much back here.

Bill said...

Great report and photography!

Catapulting Aaron said...

Good stuff!

uglyjiber said...

James, sorry we couldn't meet up in the Gorge - my last day there was pretty hectic. Glad you had fun, look forward to seeing you in FL!

Cassie said...

Amaaaaazing!! I mean, the windsurfing looks and sounds cool and all, but what I'm most impressed with are the ravens and the blackberry milkshake... :)

Farrah said...

Hey James, reminds me of the two summers I spent there. No shortboarding for me this summer. I'm jealous :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear the hostel is still running. Doug's is the best! It's the only launch where you can drop in and rest in shallow water (far side) and still be in the wind.

James Douglass said...

Paul- Yeah, man! How are things going back in VA?

Outdrsmn- :) Well, the Gorge was windy, but the Puget Sound area where I am now is even deader than the Chesapeake. At least it's pretty.

Bill- Thanks. Hope you get some hurricane near-misses soon.

Aaron- Right on.

Uglyjiber- No sweat, we'll catch some wind in FL. :)

Cassie- Mr. Raven was all up in my grill like "never more".

Farrah- There was a guy named Mike at Big Winds who said he knew you and was impressed with your formula sailing skills in the Gorge.

Anonymous- The hostel didn't seem to be doing booming business or anything, but it was in about the same state that it was when I stayed there in 2005. Definitely an anachronism, that place. Doug's beach was amazing- the swell was really impressive there. Wish I could sail it every weekend.

Andy said...

Hey, man, where the heck are ya? Moving boxes into a Florida condo?