Monday, May 2, 2016

Trails to Ales Event in Cascade Locks

Come by Cascade Locks on the evening on May 18th to enjoy local beer and learn more about this beautiful area! At the event you can find more options about exploring the Gorge, included arranged outings and public transportation options to trailheads! Find out more here: 
Wednesday, May 18
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Marine Park Pavilion, Cascade Locks
Sample local beer and cuisine while you acquaint yourself with the area's finest sports to explore and dine. 
Learn about Trails to Ales outings, Gorge Towns to Trails, public transportation options to trailheads and netweork with other outdoor enthusiasts.
Sponsored by: Gorge Owned, Port of Cascade Locks, Thunder Island Brewing Co., Gorge Current, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, & Cascade Locks Tourism Committee

SRC: Find more Trails to Ales events here:

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Clothing Renewal Workshop is Coming to Cascade Locks

Next time you are in Cascade Locks, look for a new startup business coming to town: The Renewal Workshop. The clothing business, started by Nicole Bassett and Jeff Denby, will work to repair and resell used outdoor clothing. Find out more about this exciting and sustainable business here:
No garment should go to waste — that’s the defining principle behind The Renewal Workshop, a startup business coming in late spring to Cascade Locks. 
The company, owned by Nicole Bassett of Hood River and Jeff Denby from the California Bay area, plans to repair, resell, or re-purpose outdoor clothing from major name brand companies, giving the forlorn apparel new life. 
Bassett entered a lease with the Port of Cascade Locks last month, renting out a 7,500-square-foot “flex” building on Herman Creek Lane in the Port’s business park. She hopes to move in and set up shop by late April. 
“It’s a big idea and we’re excited,” Bassett said. 
A light industrial operation, Renewal Workshop will host a shipping warehouse and a cleaning/repair studio, where employees fix up old clothing and turn them into “renewed apparel." 
Initially, the business will employ four people, but at max production it will staff roughly 10. 
Bassett likened it to a used car company, where pre-owned clothing gets revitalized and sold to a new home. 
First, apparel companies around the United States will source the “post-consumer clothes” — returned, damaged, defective, out-of-season, or otherwise unsaleable garb.

Then, Renewal Workshop sorts, cleans and repairs each article of clothing, creating “renewed apparel.” From there, they’re sold to partner retailers or through Renewal Workshop’s online marketplace. 
For all the clothes the workshop can’t manage, they channel them through to a network of up-cyclers and recyclers. Thus, nothing goes to the landfill. 
Bassett, who has lived in Hood River five years, has a background in environmentally sound practices. Most recently, she has worked as a consultant at Sustainability in Review, which partners with outdoor apparel companies such as Patagonia. 
She came up with the concept of Renewal Workshop by “pulling together” similar concepts, but she had no single model. 
“What we’re doing specifically is pretty new,” Bassett said. 
Bassett and Denby were drawn to Cascade Locks by its scenic beauty, the ample warehouse space available, and the proximity to Portland, a perk for commuting workers.
The Port’s maintenance and construction crews will soon prep the Herman Creek building for its new tenants. 
Improvements include interior work such as a restroom, office and break room, Port Economic Development Manager Don Mann said. Bassett will move in once those are finished and she gets an "occupancy certificate,” he said. 
Bassett expects the improvement work to be complete by late April.

SRC: Find the original article here:

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Trail Closures to Keep in Mind this Spring

If you are headed out for a hike in the Gorge this spring, make sure you double-check that your hiking trail is open and passable. Winter storms in the Columbia River Gorge washed out trails and totaled bridges. Here are some notable trail closures to keep in mind this spring: 
CASCADE LOCKS, Oregon — Winter can be a tricky season in the Columbia River Gorge. High rainfall leads to gushing waterfalls, but it also leads to crumbling earth. 
Landslides and windstorms are nothing new in the Gorge, but as our especially wet winter warms into a drizzly spring, fresh storm damage greets hikers on some of the most popular trails in the Gorge, cutting off or complicating access to waterfalls and scenic vistas at the region's best season.
"We're just seeing the effects of this really wet, wet soil," explained Stan Hinatsu, recreation staff officer for the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. "We're just finally getting the kind of weather we haven't seen in a long time."
Trail closures are posted on the websites of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and Oregon State Parks (which manages some land in the area), as well as at the trailheads, but here are all the known weather-related trail closures in the Gorge, as of spring 2016.
Eagle Creek
The most notable damage came this past December on the Eagle Creek Trail, easily the most popular in the area, where a fallen tree took out a bridge only two-miles into the 13-mile trail.
The 40-foot-long metal bridge will cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace, according to Hinatsu, and should be out for at least a year while the U.S. Forest Service gathers funds and coordinates the replacement project, which will require a helicopter to airlift the old bridge out and the new bridge in.
"It's going to be a pretty expensive bridge," he said.
The downed bridge blocks off easy access to two of the hike's most stunning waterfalls - Tunnel Falls and Twister Falls - though hikers can still get to Punchbowl Falls and Metlako Falls before the closure.
How long will it be out? The official estimate right now is at least one year, though that timeframe could get shorter or longer depending on how easily the money comes.
Can you pass? A lot of hikers are crossing Tish Creek via a makeshift bridge made of small logs, but the U.S. Forest Service encourages all hikers to turn around, as a 15-foot waterfall looms just beneath the bridge.
Upper McCord Creek
The Upper McCord Creek Trail in John B. Yeon State Park, which leads to the spectacular dual plunges of Upper McCord Creek Falls, is impassable thanks to a major landslide in a treacherous part of the trail.
While the trail is technically closed only a short way up, the only big damage doesn't come until you get up near the top, where the trail cuts underneath overhanging rock, a pipe handrail between you and a plunge down to Elowah Falls below.
The landslide happened back in late November, according to Oregon State Parks, and efforts to clear it up have been stymied by weather and schedule conflicts ever since.
"I've been telling people 'two weeks, two weeks, two weeks,' but it's been six or seven weeks now," explained Glenn Littrell, Oregon State Parks ranger supervisor for the Gorge.
With weather clearing up for spring, crews should be able to get together and get out to the trail to clean it up within the next two to four weeks, he said.
How long will it be out? Two to four weeks would put the trail reopening in mid-to-late April.
Can you pass? No. Seriously. Passing would require climbing up and over the landslide debris at the edge of a very tall cliff - that's dangerous in a number of ways. Some people have been doing it, Littrell said, but it's highly inadvisable. Hike through at your own risk.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is popular among cyclists, runners and hikers, but part of the trail will be tricky to cross for the time being.
A paved section of the trail between the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery and the Ruckel Creek Bridge is currently blocked by a landslide that brought dirt, boulders and several small trees across the way.
You can still access the base of Ruckel Creek Falls, but getting to the Ruckel Creek Trail or any points farther east on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail requires passing through the debris.
When I called to ask Littrell about the landslide near Ruckel Creek, he said Oregon State Parks didn't know about it yet. That means there's no solid estimate on how long the trail will be blocked, but Littrell said it will likely be a priority, possibly jumping ahead of the project on Upper McCord Creek.
How long will it be out? There's no estimate right now, but Oregon State Parks will likely make it a priority.
Can you pass? If you can duck under some branches and over a couple logs, you can make your way past the debris pretty easily. But, as always, officials don't recommend it. Proceed with caution and at your own risk.
SRC: Find more Columbia River Gorge news at:

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Take a Drive Through the Columbia River Gorge

The beauty of the Columbia River Gorge is accessible to all! Amazing views and commanding waterfalls can be reached on famous Gorge hikes, but these views can also be seen by car! Travel Oregon offers this guide for a driving tour through the Gorge, something that can be enjoying if you are a local wanting a drive for the day, or if you are hosting guests from out of town.

Troutdale and the Sandy

To begin your journey from Portland, take Interstate 84 east to exit 17. Follow the signs through the quaint town of Troutdale and over the Sandy River to the Historic Columbia River Highway. In 1805, Lewis and Clark camped along the banks of the Sandy, which ran gritty with ash from the 1802 eruption of volcanic Mount Hood. The road follows the Wild and Scenic Sandy River for several miles, then climbs past orchards and blueberry fields through the communities of Springdale and Corbett, offering glimpses of snow-capped Mount Hood.

Gorgeous Vistas from Crown Point

At the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic overlook at Chanticleer Point, you get your first glance of the Columbia River and the Gorge: this is the vista that inspired the Highway’s founding father, Sam Hill. The stone guard walls and graceful arches are typical of the highway’s exquisite craftsmanship. The Vista House at Crown Point is an Oregon treasure, one of the most photographed and recognizable in the Columbia River Gorge. Built as a memorial to Oregon pioneers, it offers an inspiring view of the Gorge and the mountains of the Cascade Range.

Unforgettable Falls

To help motorists navigate the 600-foot vertical drop from Crown Point, Lancaster engineered a series of what’s known as “figureeight loops” that gracefully wind down toward the river. You’re soon surrounded by mossy tree limbs, the greenery enhanced by a series of remarkable waterfalls in the next five miles: Latourell, Shepperd’s Dell, Bridal Veil, and Wahkeena. Soon you’ll reach the granddaddy of Columbia Gorge waterfalls—620-foot Multnomah Falls. Only three waterfalls in the nation are taller—and none is more beautiful. A trail from Multnomah Falls Lodge (built in 1925 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places) takes you to the lower cascade, then zigzags to the top. A little farther down the road, Horsetail Falls plummets close enough to the road to mist your windows. Before the Byway joins Interstate 84, at the community of Dodson, you’ll pass Oneonta Gorge, a botanical paradise with more than 50 species of plants that flourish in the damp, cool environs.

Bonneville Dam to Hood River

For the next 25 miles, you’ll leave the Historic Highway for modern—yet still beautiful—Interstate 84. The Gorge’s dramatic geologic formations are a highlight of this segment. Engineering and fishing buffs will want to visit the Bonneville Dam, the first structure to restrain the mighty Columbia. In nearby Cascade Locks, travelers can leave the car for a sternwheeler cruise of the Columbia. More intrepid watersports enthusiasts will want to take to the Columbia at Hood River. Here, the Gorge acts as a wind tunnel to create consistent breezes that have made this once sleepy orchard town the unofficial windsurfing capital of the world.

From Mosier to the community of Rowena

In the 12 miles from Hood River to Mosier, you’ll notice a dramatic change in the scenery. It’s here that the “two Oregons” meet. As you reach Mosier and the the second leg of the Historic Columbia River Highway (off exit 76), the moist and lush western Gorge gives way to dry, eastern Columbia River plateau. Once a booming trade center, Mosier is still famous for its springtime blossoms, fat juicy cherries, and the community’s unrivaled passion for native plants. Just west of Mosier, you can walk or bike the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail through the restored Mosier Twin Tunnels and on to Hood River. Elegant Mayerdale Estate appears unexpectedly on this rural stretch of the road. Look for Memaloose Island in the Columbia, a traditional burial site of Native American peoples of the Columbia Basin that was partially flooded following the construction of Bonneville Dam. Farther east, be sure to linger at the viewpoint at Rowena Crest, which affords sweeping Gorge views rivaling those of Crown Point, and access to the wildflower wonders of Tom McCall Preserve.

The Dalles

The Historic Columbia River Highway spans the extremes of Oregon’s landscape, from the damp and mossy western beginning along the banks of the Sandy River to the dry oak savannahs skirting Chenoweth Creek near the historic The Dalles. The Dalles was long a Native American gathering place and is rich in Oregon Trail lore. Before you leave the Historic Highway as you enter The Dalles, you’ll find the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Historical Museum. Built as the interpretive center for the National Scenic Area, the Discovery Center has answers to all your questions about the Gorge’s history. At the Museum, you’ll learn about the earliest inhabitants and hear tales of the traders and settlers who came later. As your tour over the Historic Columbia River Highway comes to a close, consider beginning a new journey to the Lewis and Clark campsite at Rock Fort.
SRC: Read the full article about this historic route here:

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Zip Through the Gorge on the Skamania Lodge Zipline Tour

Ready for a new adventure? Fly through the forest on a zip line tour at Skamania Lodge! Come to Skamania Lodge this weekend for a fun day zip lining, dining, and enjoying the amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge! Find out more about the zip line tours here:
Skamania Lodge Zipline Tour

When: From 03/01/2013 to 12/31/2016

Get ready to fly with Skamania Lodge Zip Line Tour, the newest adventure just outside Portland in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. Our excursion will send you soaring through an old growth forest with views of the magnificent Columbia River. The tour consists of seven different lines, three sky bridges and 2.5 hours of stunning views surrounding the world class Skamania Lodge Resort. And because its hands free and professionally guided, you don't want to miss this opportunity to escape your comfort zone and fly with us!

Tour Information  
7 zip lines, 3 sky bridges and some light trail walking
Zip lines range from 100 feet to 900 feet in length
The tour takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the size of the group
Tour sizes range from 2-10 people (for larger tours please call 509.427.0202)
Hands free and personalized with two guides
Hiking shoes, tennis shoes required, NO OPEN TOED SHOES
All other necessary gear is provided
SRC: Find more information about making reservations for the Skamania Lodge Zip Line Tour here:

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pfriem Family Brewers in Hood River, OR

Next time you're in Hood River, OR after a day hiking or picking fresh fruit, stop by Pfriem Family Brewers for tasty food and great beer. If you don't already know about Pfriem, keep reading here to find out more about this lively spot:
Hood River is much more lively these days along its waterfront on a chill winter day, what with Pfriem Family Brewers pouring Belgian-style beers it makes and serving up locally sourced menu items.
It's a bit far from the nearest ski area (35 miles to Mt. Hood Meadows), but that doesn't disqualify Pfriem from being one of the top go-to apres ski places in the Hood River Valley.
The Columbia River waterfront in Hood River has long had some industrial components to go with its summer recreation facilities. But more recently, the Port of Hood River has had luck connecting with hospitality businesses that bring active people looking for a good time toward the river when the Port's Waterfront Business Park would have otherwise been a ghost town.
Pfriem is the third-largest micro brewery in Hood River, after opening in August 2012. Owner Josh Pfreim said it brews about 2,500 barrels (which nevertheless is pretty good size for a micro brewer), but is a lot smaller than Full Sail Brewing's 100,000 barrels (506 Columbia St.) and Double Mountain's 10,000 barrels (8 Fourth St.). Those two also attract a lively crowd looking for refreshment after a hard day of play to their more centralized downtown locations.
Pfriem (pronounced freem) uses pF as its logo and pFriem in its advertising, to help people pronounce the name and to emphasize the "Family-friendly" nature of the business. Pfriem trucks plenty of its beer to Portland's high-end restaurants and brew houses (also to Mt. Hood Meadows) and plans to begin bottling next year.

Vibe: This is a family-friendly industrial-style beer house, with a mix of small and large tables and seats at the bar; no games (except for the kids play area), no TV.
Location: 707 Portway Ave., Suite 101; take Hood River I-84 exit No. 63 and drive north on Second Street toward the water. Turn left at the T intersection on Portway and drive about a quartermile. There's plenty of parking.

Phone, web:
Hours: Daily 11:30 to 9 p.m, with a new happy hour 3-5 p.m. beginning this week on weekdays.
Menu: When pressed, the owner recommended two apres ski options: a Mt. Shadow Burger (local grass-fed beef, $11) with a Belgian winter ale ($4.50 for 16 oz.), or mussles and frites ($15) with a Belgian strong dark ($4.50, but only 8 oz. because alcohol is 10.25 percent).
Neighbors: When Pfriem is busy, you can try Solstice Wood Fire Cafe a few doors down (502 Portway Ave.; it moved across the river from Bingen, Wash., on Dec. 12). This is Hood River's favorite pizzeria, so is likely to be even busier than the brew house. Coming to the neighborhood is the Camp 1805 Distillery (501 Portway Ave.) next year. 
Lodging: Best Western Hood River Inn is connected to the port's newest business district by a walking path (should the weather cooperate); it, too, has an active club scene in its Cebu Lounge; 1108 E. Marina Way, 541-386-2200.
SRC: Find the original post on OregonLive here:

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Larch Mountain Hike

The Larch Mountain hike is one of the more difficult day hikes in the Gorge. While this entire loop takes you on a 14.4 mile hike, gaining over 4,000 feet along the way, this hike rewards you with some of the very best views in the Columbia River Gorge. Read more about this hike here:

 Hike Description

How do we describe this hike? It's a 2/10 paved stroll for an elderly woman with a walker. It's a grueling one mile uphill battle shoving a baby stroller. It's a quiet walk next to an incredible stream filled with rapids and waterfalls. It's a five hour, 4000 foot exhausting climb to the most beautiful view in the area. It's anything you want it to be. It just depends on how far you go.
The Larch Mountain trail was constructed in 1915 by founding members of the Trails Club of Oregon. Portland residents might recognize the names of a few early members such as store owners Julius Meier and Aaron Frank, newspaperman Henry Pittock, and Columbia River Highway Builders Sam Lancaster and Simon Benson. Today the Trails Club still maintains Nesika Lodge on a spur trail off of the Larch Mountain Trail.
The trail begins at Multnomah Falls Lodge, a historic building built to serve early automobile travelers in 1925. The first part of the trail is a gently sloped 2/10 mile trail to the Benson Bridge, built in 1914 by Simon Benson, one of the builders of the old highway. This part of the trail is a paved cakewalk, although one small flight of a few stairs block the way to wheelchairs beyond the lower falls viewpoint.
Beyond the bridge, the asphalt trail switches up steeply for another mile to a ridgecrest. Look for Columbia River views as you ascend. From the top, the trail drops slightly to a junction with a trail labeled "Top of the Falls Trail #441A" on some old Forest Service documents. Today's signs just say "viewpoint". The asphalt follows the side path to the Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint, a balcony of sorts at the lip of the falls looking down on the lodge and the less motivated people below. Most people take in this view, grab a couple of snapshots and return down the steep hill to that mocha latte thing.
On returning to the main trail, more patient people will turn upcreek and enter a magical place. The next three miles of the trail parallel Multnomah Creek past scores of scenic creek views. The trail passes Lower, Middle and Upper Dutchman Falls, followed by a unique trip through a creek washed overhang called Dutchman Tunnel. Just beyond the tunnel, you'll come to Weisendanger Falls. The trail switches up above Weisendanger and keeps rising to clear Ecola Falls. The trail is rocky in places, but the climb isn't nearly as steep as it was in the beginning. Another quarter mile brings us to a trail junction with the Wahkeena Trail and another creek bridge, this one made of steel.
Above this bridge, the trail follows Multnomah Creek a short distance up the hillside. When the trail drops back to creek level it splits into two trails. The main trail goes close to the creek through a rocky area carved out of the cliff in the creek bed. During the summer, it's a beautiful walk next to the creek. In the spring, this area floods, so hikers will need to take the alternate route signed as the "High Water Trail" to switchback up the ridge a bit to go over the large basalt formation right next to the creek. The two trails come back together opposite the place where Big John Creek flows into Multnomah Creek from the west.
After crossing Multnomah Basin Rd and meeting Franklin Ridge Trail #427, the trail crosses the East Fork of Multnomah Creek and then the West Fork, both on single log bridges with handrails.
Now, the climb begins in earnest. After all, you have 4000 feet to gain. The trail traverses a long ridge up the west side of the Larch Mountain crater. I did tell you that this pile of rock is an ancient shield volcano, didn't I? You'll pass a large open rockfield, and cross a small closed road. You'll know you're getting close, when you begin to pass abandoned picnic tables and firepits filled with moss and ferns. Eventually, winded and worn out, you'll reach the Larch Mountain Trailhead. There are restrooms here, as well a picnic spot.
Next, you'll hike up 3/10 mile on paved Sherrard Point Trail #443 to, naturally enough, Sherrard Point. The view from here makes it all worth while. Most people visiting here will have driven up Larch Mountain Road, but you'll enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you got here the hard way. Hopefully, that will help you fend off the stares from the great noncomprehending masses.
SRC: Find out more about the Larch Mountain hike here:

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