Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bikers Jump On The Columbia Express

With the addition of the new Columbia River Gorge Express cyclists now have a new way of getting to the gorge to enjoy the beautiful trails, including the reopening of sections of the Historic Highway as bike and footpaths in September.
2016 is a huge year for the Columbia River Gorge. 100 years ago Oregon celebrated the opening of Route 30 — the Columbia River Highway — and this year we’ll celebrate its grand re-opening as a State Trail with miles of new biking and walking-only paths that open up exciting carfreeexploration opportunities. 
But even as new pieces of the State Trail are completed, our overuse of cars is killing the Gorge vibe. In an effort to reduce automobiling’s impacts to this historic natural resource we all share, the Oregon Department of Transportation has launched a new public transit line. 
The Columbia Gorge Express opens next Friday. The new line will have 12 departures a day Friday through Sunday from the Gateway Transit Center with stops in Rooster Rock State Park (25 miles east of Portland) and Multnomah Falls (30 miles east of Portland). It’s just $5 for a round-trip ticket and bicycle riders are welcome aboard: Each transit vehicle has capacity for three bikes on the rack.
Learn more at: bikeportland.org/2016/05/20/new-columbia-gorge-express-transit-line-will-carry-you-and-your-bike-to-historic-highway-destinations-183912

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Drive, Bike or Hike Along The Historic Highway As It Turns 100

The Historic Highway along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge turns 100 this summer and what better way to celebrate than to go out and see it? With hikes and bike paths and miles of beautiful views, there is something for everyone.
As a passing semi’s spray obliterated my view of the soaring ramparts marking the entrance of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, I couldn’t help but think: This kind of rain would ruin most weekend vacations.

Ah, but not this one.
As I left Interstate 84 for the narrow, winding historic highway, rain-fueled waterfalls cascaded like I’d never seen them before. Falls splashed down rock walls where there weren’t usually falls. Some added to the spray on my windshield. 
Wending eastward, I peered across the mile-wide Columbia River and glimpsed two temporary cataracts leaping from the highest promontory on the usually dry Washington shore. Dropping hundreds of feet, they plummeted directly into the Columbia.

I was here to re-explore the Historic Columbia River Highway, a transportation marvel that marks its 100th anniversary with special events this summer. It was dedicated in 1916 to bring visitors to see this scenic wonder known today as Waterfall Alley.
And Waterfall Alley, with at least seven major year-round waterfalls between Troutdale and Dodson, Ore., was putting on a grand show.
What the Sam Hill?  
Did you ever hear your grandfather ask, “What the Sam Hill is going on?” Some say the euphemism originated with Pacific Northwest engineer, entrepreneur and “Good Roads”-movement champion Sam Hill (1857-1931), who was unafraid to back crazy-sounding projects — such as building a highway tiptoeing along cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge.
Hill’s legacies include theStonehenge replica near his Maryhill art museum, in Klickitat County, and the Peace Arch on the Canadian border at Blaine.
His other big dream, the gorge highway, came to be considered one of the engineering feats of the then-young 20th century.
And that’s still apparent, I saw as I drove. It was apparent at the spot where cliffs squeeze the narrow road so tightly that bulging rock faces protruded above my car; where curlicues of narrow highway climbed to the top of barren promontories with stunning views; where the road snaked through a forest of big-leaf maple and brought me to peek after peek of glorious waterfalls, always with roadside parking and enticing paths to explore. 
For the highway’s design, Seattleite Hill teamed with Samuel Lancaster, a civil engineer who earlier created Seattle’s picturesque Lake Washington Boulevard as part of the city’s Olmsted-designed park system.

Sharing a grand vision, the pair traveled to Europe to study the continent’s most remarkable roads, aqueducts and tunnels, particularly the Axenstrasse in Switzerland 
In designing the Columbia River route, Lancaster determined, in his words, to blend modern engineering with a sensitive aesthetic “so as not to mar what God had put there.” 
A perfect intro 
Lancaster wouldn’t unnecessarily harm a single tree or fern, according to the Troutdale Historical Society’s meticulously staged ongoing exhibition, “King of Roads,” marking the highway’s centennial. It’s a perfect introduction to a tour of the route. 
“It was the first scenic highway in the country!” says Jeanette Kloos, president of today’s Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway. “It was also the first highway with a centerline. Sam Lancaster looked for the gorge’s beauty spots and figured out how to take the road there.” 
Thus the 18- to 24-foot roadway meanders from the base of waterfall after waterfall at river level to ascend more than 600 feet along sheer cliffs to its highest point at dramatic, treeless Crown Point, originally known as “Thor’s Heights” because of its exposure to wild thunderstorms.

The highway is marvelously fun to drive. Despite the landscape’s challenges, Lancaster vowed that no incline would exceed 5 percent. No bend would require less than a 100-foot turning radius.
It featured reinforced-concrete bridges, a patented type of pavement and graceful masonry walls built by European artisans, along with whitewashed, double-rail lumber guardrails that became the national standard for safety by 1920, the year Warren G. Harding was elected president.

Workers earned $2.25 a day using picks, shovels and horse-drawn scrapers. The first segment opened in just two years.
Ultimately, the highway would stretch 73 miles between Troutdale and The Dalles, with three tunnels, 18 bridges, seven viaducts and two footbridges.
The road drew visitors and praise from around the planet. “The best of all great highways in the world, glorified!” crowed the Illustrated London News. “It is the king of roads!”
Bypassed by progress
The 1916 motorist’s travel kit for the Columbia River Highway
• Canvas water bag to hold drinking water or emergency water for the radiator.
• Goggles, because many cars, like buggies, were open.
• Gloves, handy for changing a tire, gripping the wheel or hand-cranking the starter.
• Windbreakers or long coats to ward off wind and rain.
• Picnic hamper with Thermos, sandwiches, tablecloth, cups, silverware and napkins.
• Tire-repair kit, pump and jack in case of flats.
• Gas can with emergency fuel.
Source: Interpretive panel at Vista House on the Historic Columbia River Highway
By the 1930s, the scenic highway was more popular than its builders ever envisioned. But it was designed for the Model T, and as cars grew larger and traffic moved faster, a new riverside highway — built on fill where needed — replaced it as the primary upriver route. 
Large sections of the original roadway, and the most dramatic tunnels, were abandoned or demolished by the 1950s. 
But by the 1980s, a movement was afoot to preserve and restore the historic highway, and with establishment of the National Scenic Area in 1986, money became available to restore and repair it. 
Restoration continues, with some stretches being reopened for bicycle and foot traffic only, including some tunnels. Today, all but 10 of the 73 miles of the original highway are open to travel by motor vehicle (Historic Columbia River Highway/Historic Route 30) or by foot or bike (Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail). Two additional miles of trail are to open in late September between Cascade Locks and Hood River. 
I toured the most popular remaining drivable stretch of the historic highway, running from the Sandy River Bridge at the edge of Troutdale about 22 miles eastward before intersecting with Interstate 84 near Ainsworth State Park. 
A perfect base for that tour: Just two miles west of the Troutdale bridge is theMcMenamins Edgefield lodge, occupying the sprawling, lovingly restored Multnomah County Poor Farm, built five years before the gorge highway opened. It immediately puts you in the early-20th-century mindset — but with good beer and wine, mural-splashed hallways and a nice spa pool.

From there it’s easy to wend your way along the old road and back. If you’ve just a day, you’ve plenty of time to stop and inspect the gushing waterfalls.
Look around and appreciate the old-world craftsmanship of bridges and railings.
Pause at breathtaking viewpoints. Have a sandwich and berry crisp at Multnomah Falls Lodge, a vintage stone structure designed by Portland architect A.E. Doyle, who also designed Portland’s downtown library.
Better yet, spend several days along the highway, bring hiking boots and bikes, and branch out on upcountry trails and recently opened stretches of bikeable roadway.
After a few days, you’ll feel like the king of this road.
If you’re lucky, it might rain. 
If you go 
Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

SRC: www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/drive-bike-or-hike-amid-waterfalls-as-historic-columbia-river-highway-turns-100/

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Columbia River Gorge Express Starts Today!

The Columbia River Gorge Express starts it's route today! There is now a way to connect Portland to the beautiful gorge. The hopes of this project is to reduce congestion in the parking lot of the Multnomah Falls trail head.
The Oregon Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the falls, are hoping to alleviate some of that pain with a brand new bus service that will connect Portland with the Columbia River Gorge.
The shuttle bus, dubbed the Columbia River Gorge Express, officially begins service this Friday, May 27, running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Sept. 25. The bus will run 12 times daily between the Gateway Transit Center in northeast Portland and the Multnomah Falls visitor center, with one stop at Rooster Rock State Park on the way.
The bus ride is expected to take about 35 minutes each way, and will cost $5 for a round-trip ticket. Riders who board at Rooster Rock can ride to Multnomah Falls for free, and can even park at the state park free of charge.
Each of the three shuttle buses on the express route can carry up to 20 passengers, with racks that can fit three bicycles.

"The Gorge is home to some of our most beloved outdoor attractions," Rian Windsheimer, Oregon Department of Transportation manager for the Portland area, said in a press release. "Adding this transit service is intended to help ease congestion, improve safety, relieve the parking crunch and make these areas accessible to more Oregonians."
The bus service will be a two-year pilot program, attempting to alleviate some of the congestion at Multnomah Falls which often backs up onto the left lane of Interstate 84. The parking lot at the falls closed 181 times due to overcrowding over the last 22 months, according to the department. Of those, 129 closures came on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service are also in support of the bus service, but remain cautiously optimistic about its effects on the Multnomah Falls congestion, acknowledging the potential for unintended consequences. 
Seeking a resolution, officials conducted a survey this past January, gauging interest in public transit. More than 70 percent of respondents said they would consider public transportation or shuttle buses to the Gorge.
"I'm not sure how much it will actually reduce the number of cars on the historic highway – it may actually add more people to the site," said Stan Hinatsu, recreation staff officer for the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. "But we do really think it is a good start to solving the congestion."
Learn more about the service at: columbiagorgeexpress.com/

SRC: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2016/05/new_bus_service_links_portland.html

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Upper Mccord Falls Hike

Upper Mccord Falls is the perfect hike for you and your family. This out and back type hike is only 2.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 600 feet and is totally family friendly.
This hike begins at the same location as the Nesmith Point and Elowah hikes. Follow trail #400 along an abandoned road and up a steep incline, where you will come across a junction. Bear right and follow the trail uphill toward McCord Creek Falls. After a few switchbacks, the view will open up to great vistas of the Gorge and Mt. Adams. The trail is cut into the wall and has railings for safety. You will see Elowah Falls from the top, just before entering the forest and coming to McCord Creek Falls. This is a remarkable double falls and well worth the trip. Note that sometimes on dry summer days, only one falls may be flowing. 
Combine this hike with a side trip to Elowah Falls for a combined hike of 4 miles gaining 600-ft elevation.
SRC: gorgefriends.org/hike-the-gorge/upper-mccord-creek-falls.html

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Horsetail Falls Trail Loop

A great easy hike perfect for families is the Horsetail Falls Loop. 3 waterfalls, one of them you get to walk behind it's a great place to bring the kids to help burn off some energy and get some great pictures!
Horsetail Falls Loop
Western Gorge, Oregon
This loop takes you past three falls and can be accessed either by the Horsetail Falls Trailhead (from which Horsetail Falls is easily visible and accessible) or the Oneonta Gorge Trailhead (just west of Horsetail Falls Trailhead). The hiking directions below start from Oneonta Gorge Trailhead.
From the Oneonta Trailhead, find and follow Gorge Trail #400 (this section of trail #400 is the Historic Columbia River Highway) to the junction with the Horsetail Falls Trail #438. This will lead you first to Ponytail Falls, which you can walk behind. The trail will next take you upward with switchbacks for ~0.5 miles until you reach a bridge over Oneonta Gorge. Oneonta Falls is visible from the bridge, looking downstream. Continuing on, you will reach the junction with Trail #424. To add an extra waterfall to the trip, turn left and hike ~0.9 miles to Triple Falls. To complete the loop, turn right from Trail #438 onto Trail #424. This will lead you back to Oneonta Trailhead where you started.
Find more information on this trail at: trails.gorgefriends.org/trail/horsetail-falls-loop/

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The 10th annual Gorge Ride is just around the corner! Enjoy the beautiful views as you ride along the historic highway along The Gorge.
The tenth annual Gorge Ride sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway (FHCRH) will be held Saturday, June 18, 2016, beginning at the Gorge Discovery Center. The ride extends 19.25 miles along the historic highway and state trail west to the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead, just east of Hood River, and then returns. The course opens at 7am, and closes at 4pm.
Registration area closes at 10 AM
Lunches may be picked up: 11 AM until 4 PM
Sack lunch from Basalt Rock Café at the Gorge Discovery Center available for purchase during online registration for $14.
Hi-tech Male & Female version souvenir t-shirts may be ordered for $25/each ‘til 11:59 PM 6/8/2016.
The route is a combination of historic highway open to motor vehicles (with very low traffic) and the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (open only to pedestrian and bicyclists). The out and back route is a total of 38.5 miles.
The ride is fully supported with water stops, snacks, mechanical support, and SAG wagons. Maps with cue sheets and an elevation chart are provided. A sack lunch from the Basalt Rock Café, within the Gorge Discovery Center, will be available for purchase during on-line registration. T-shirts featuring a Gorge Ride graphic will also be available for purchase during on-line registration only.
Packet pickup will be at the Gorge Discovery Center on June 18 from 7 AM to 10 AM. Course opens at 7 AM and closes at 4 PM. Participants will be required to sign our waiver and release form at packet pickup. Riders under 18 years-of-age must be accompanied on the ride by a registered adult and their waiver and release form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Participants must wear a CPSC/ASTM/ANSI/Snell approved helmet.
A note from Road Gang member Gary Brannan:
The terrain really isn’t as tough as it looks on the above elevation profile — the HCRH was built with no grades exceeding 5%. Folks of all ages & physical condition have ridden it. When you encounter a hill, just ‘gear down’, take it one pedal stroke at a time, and remember that it’s taking you to a view even nicer than the ones on the way up!
Online registration is the only advance registration method.
For photos from the 2015 event click here! For a video of the 2011 event, go to Gorge Ride – 2011 Video
SRC: www.hcrh.org/events/2016-gorge-ride/ 

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bus Route To Multnomah Falls To Open Memorial Day Weekend!

One of the most heavily tourist populated waterfalls in The Gorge is getting it's own bus line for the weekends of the 2016 and 2017 summers!

A new bus service, “Columbia Gorge Express,” will link Portland to Multnomah Falls and Rooster Rock State Park this summer. The first bus rolls out Friday, May 27, during Memorial Day Weekend.
A pilot program by Oregon Department of Transportation and partner groups, the Gorge Express will run on weekends and take passengers from Gateway Transit Center in downtown Portland (Gateway/Northeast 99th Ave.) to the scenic waterfall area along Interstate 84 in the Columbia Gorge.
The round trips will run every 15-30 minutes — 12 per day — and cost $5 per ticket.
“Columbia Gorge Express bus provides a relaxing option for accessing some of the best the Gorge has to offer,” the program’s website says.
The bus will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and federal holidays) from May 27 to Sept. 30. Those will be day trips only — the first bus departs Gateway Transit Center at 8:45 a.m. and the last bus heads back from Multnomah Falls at 6 p.m.
A major goal behind the new transit program is cutting down on overcrowding at the growingly popular tourist site, as well as offering a shared means of transportation that links the Portland Metro area to the Gorge.
The Gorge Express was one of the strategies to ease Gorge area congestion identified by an Oregon Solutions team, Historic Columbia River Highway Collaborative Project. That group, convened by Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel, met in early 2016.
Between November 2015 and March 2016, a project team met with transit service providers, held small stakeholder group discussions, and conducted an online survey that received over 1,700 responses.
Feedback was largely positive for a bus service to the popular waterfall alley. More than 70 percent of survey respondents said they would consider using public transit or parking shuttles to reach Gorge destinations.
ODOT expects the pilot program will run summer of 2016 and 2017. The agency is considering expanding with a Hood River stop in future years.
“Hood River is another key destination in the Gorge,” ODOT wrote in a summary of their public survey information.
Along with ODOT, partners for the emerging transit program include U.S. Forest Service, TriMet, Columbia Area Transit (CAT), Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Travel Oregon, Travel Portland, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
Tickets will be available for Gorge Express online soon, according to the program’s website. Cash fares won’t be accepted, and riders are encouraged to buy tickets in advance online. The buses fit 20 passengers each or 16 passengers plus two wheelchairs.
For more information, go to www.columbiagorgeexpress.com.
SRC:  www.hoodrivernews.com/news/2016/may/18/bus-service-multnomah-falls-begins-may-27/

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Ultimate Frisbee In The Gorge!

Are you looking for a group activity to do this summer? Well registration for the 2016 Gorge Ultimate Adult Co-Ed Summer League is now open!
Gorge Ultimate Summer League is an annual tradition that will continue this year with games being played at Wy’east Middle School and Horizon Christian School in Hood River on Wednesday nights. The league, produced by Gorge Ultimate, is open to players of all skill levels and of all athletic ability. This is a Gorge-wide league, with players coming from multiple communities from throughout the region.
All players register as “free agents” and are assigned to a team. Captains do their best to create balanced teams made up of experienced and new players to ensure teams are as equal as possible. “The ultimate goal of summer league—no pun intended—is to provide a positive experience for all players so that we can grow the sport in the Gorge,” says Preston Brown, this year’s league organizer.
The regular season runs from Wednesday, June 15 to Wednesday Aug. 3 and is played from 6-8 p.m. An end-of-the-season tournament takes place Sautrday, Aug. 6. Cost of the league is $40, with registration ending Sunday, June 5. For more info, head to gorgeultimate.leagueapps.com.
About Gorge Ultimate:
Gorge Ultimate is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Ultimate Frisbee in the Columbia River Gorge. The club is not affiliated with the Ultimate Players Association and does not provide liability or accident insurance for players. Any person 18 years of age or older is eligible to play in Summer League, provided they register, pay the league fees, execute the waiver and release of liability and agree to abide by the league rules.
SRC: Read more about this fun activity here!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Along the Columbia River Gorge, on the Historic Highway, sits The Vista House at Crown Point. Here you can sit out and look for miles up and down the Gorge, providing the most gorgeous views. If there were anyplace that you had to see in the Columbia River Gorge this would be it. 
Vista House was built between 1916-1918 by Multnomah County as a comfort station and scenic wayside for those traveling on the Historic Columbia River Highway, which was completed in 1916. Vista House is also a memorial to Oregon pioneers. It was formally dedicated on May 5th, 1918.
The graceful octagonal stone structure towers 733 feet above the Columbia River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in National Geographic Society’s 2001 Save America’s Treasures.
In 2000, Vista House was closed for almost five years while an extensive restoration was completed. Over $4 million was raised through the joint efforts of the Oregon State Parks Trust, the Friends of Vista House, and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to fund the restoration. The Vista House re-opened to the public in the summer of 2005 and was formally rededicated May 5, 2006, in a grand ceremony.
The Friends of Vista House now works in partnership with Oregon State Parks to help share the experience of Vista House with over one million visitors each year.
SRC: Finish reading about the Vista House at: vistahouse.com/

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wahkeena Falls Trail Loop

One of the many thing the Columbia River Gorge is known for is it's breathtaking waterfalls. There are many many trails to choose from, but if you are looking for a day hike this almost 5 mile loop is perfect. With 8 named waterfalls, and countless other smaller ones, it is the perfect way to spend a day.
This is a waterfall lover's paradise. There are eight named waterfalls on this trip as well as countless cascades and intermittent falls. The loop can be hiked either way and it can be started from either trailhead. I prefer to start at Multnomah Falls, so I can end there with munchies. I like to get the boring stuff out of the way quick, so this describes a route that goes to Wahkeena Falls first, then up and around.
Start in the west end of the Multnomah Falls parking lot at a small sign pointing out the Return Trail #442. This trail goes up a bit before dropping below an overhanging basalt cliff. Working it's way along just above the highway, the trail passes a weeping wall, then a good sized talus slope. In half a mile the trail reaches the Wahkeena Trailhead.
The Wahkeena Trail (#420) starts with some beautiful stonework and a wooden bridge over Wahkeena Creek. The trail climbs in one long switchback to a stone bridge at the base of Wahkeena Falls. Expect a bit of spray on the trail here year-round. In winter, things can get really icy. From here, the trail starts up a pretty steep section, climbing about 300' in about half a mile. There are beautiful rock walls, another bench cemented into a wall and better views the higher you climb. At the top of this first climb, you'll crest a ridge. Follow the pavement out to the point, called Lemmon's Viewpoint. A plaque here commemorates a firefighter who gave his life fighting forest fires near here. The views from the point are really good up and down the river.
The main trail turns to dirt here and quickly enters Wahkeena Canyon. This is a very narrow canyon, just wide enough for the creek and the trail. Every step is up, but every step is rewarding as the creek tumbles past. (Please be aware that a footbridge washed away during the winter of 2007 and has not been replaced — the crossing can be negotiated with some care thanks to a new bridge improvised by hikers.) The trail switches back a few times and soon you'll reach Fairy Falls, a beautiful fan form falls right next to the trail. There's a bench here to relax on while you take in the views. Above Fairy Falls, the trail makes several more short switchbacks and reaches a junction with the Vista Point Trail #419. Stay to the right here on Trail #420 and climb another 200 feet to a junction with Angel's Rest Trail #415. A quick 100 yard side trip will bring you to Wahkeena Spring, well worth the jaunt, even if you're carrying your own water. Back on the Wahkeena Trail, continue climbing to a 4-way trail junction. Continue straight on the Wahkeena Trail. The great news here is that you're done climbing. The trail traverses the ridge eventually dropping down after almost a mile to join the Larch Mountain Trail #441.
Turn left on the Larch Mountain Trail, relax and enjoy the walk. You'll pass beautiful cascade after beautiful cascade. The trail goes right past the lip of Ecola Falls, once known as Hidden Falls. There's a scramble down the creek level for those of us that are quite mad. The next plunge Weisendanger Falls, once known as Twanlaskie Falls and Upper Multnomah Falls, has much better access, with an overgrown trailside view from the top and numerous easy photo spots below. The trail passes through a natural rock overhang called Dutchman Tunnel, then passes three 10-15' food waterfalls known as Upper, Middle and LowerDutchman Falls. Soon you'll cross Multnomah Creek on a creatively hidden culvert and you'll enter Oregon's tourist mecca.
When you feel asphalt under your boots, head down the side trail to the Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint. The view is really spectacular, if overly populated. Turn around and take a good look at Little Multnomah Falls just behind the viewing platform. Hike back to the main trail and turn left on the pavement. There's about 100 yards of climbing and then close to a mile of knee jarring downhill to the Benson Bridge. Grab a mocha and a munch at Multnomah Falls Lodge. (The Polish dogs are better than the regular ones)
SRC: Get more information on this beautiful trail loop at: www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Multnomah-Wahkeena_Loop_Hike

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Explore McMenamins at Edgefield in Troutdale!

McMenamins at Edgefield stands at the beginning of the Gorge and they have something for everyone. The cozy interior is home to over a century of history, but also it's own whimsical touch. On site there are breweries and wineries, concert fields, movie theaters, gardens, and a golf course. On top of all that they continually have events going on all year long.

"There's virtually something for everyone here," whether you're young or old, looking for adventure or relaxation, an early bird or night owl, says Owen Craig, manager of McMenamins Edgefield, which opened in 1991 as the chain's first all-inclusive venue. The 74-acre concert venue, hotel, golf course and winery boasts 10 bars and eateries, a movie theater, a spa and more on the outskirts of Troutdale.
"We don't want people in their rooms. We want them out on the course, or in the bar telling tall tales," Craig adds.
You won't find luxury rooms, sleek decor or five-star restaurants at McMenamins venues, but you will find personality, history, affordability and options.
"We wanted to fit into the building, rather than creating a scene," says Mike McMenamin, one half of the brotherly duo who opened their first bar nearly four decades ago in Southeast Portland.
Fitting the building has become part of the entertainment draw of the hotel complexes. Each of the chain's historic hotels is covered wall-to-wall with murals depicting the building's history, photographs and other homages to the past.
Read more about McMenamins here.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Explore The Beautiful Bridal Veil Falls Hike

If you are looking for a beautiful, but easy hike to do with you and your family, look no further. Bridal Veil Falls is right along the historic scenic highway that runs along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, and it provides breath taking views for it's easy access.
Bridal Veil Falls
Mid-Gorge, Oregon
This is a quick, but nice stroll for kids or less mobile hikers. The trail is paved, and all-access, circling the top of a bluff in Bridal Veil Park. There are beautiful views of the Columbia River, as well as a good look at the transportation routes in the area. Numerous historic markers explain Gorge history, geology and plant life. Hikers in the park should check out the Bridal Veil Falls Hike as well.
SRC: For more information on this hike and others go to: www.trails.gorgefriends.org/trail/bridal-veil-falls/

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Place for You and Your Pups: Thousand Acres Dog Park

The largest dog park in the Portland metro area, the Sandy River Delta Park, locally known as "Thousand Acres," is a dog-hub found in the Columbia River Gorge, just East of Troutdale. The park is open to mountain bikes and horses as well, but you should always be prepared to find dogs of all sizes roaming throughout the park.
The Sandy River Delta is by far the largest of Portland's off-leash areas, and a treasure for dog owners that love to run, hike, or just wander aimlessly with their pooch. The "Delta" comprises 1400 acres of wilderness trails, nestled between I-84, the Sandy River, and the Columbia River. The majority of the miles of trails within the park are officially designated as off-leash. The main exception to the off-leash rule is the parking area and the Confluence Trail, which runs from the parking area to the bird viewing area on the Columbia. In both of these areas you'll want to make sure your dogs are on leash because  they do frequently ticket. Many of the trails lead to either the Sandy River or the Columbia River, so it's a great place to take your pooch to swim on summer days. The hike from the parking area to the rivers can be several miles, so be sure to bring along water just in case. The park is immense, will a plethora of wide open fields for stellar games of fetch. Bring your binoculars and camera, as the park is great for shutter bugs and birders. The park has recently been given a major overhaul, and now includes substantial parking, toilets, dog bag stations, and several garbage cans near the parking area. There is no running water in the park, so bring your own.
SRC: To find directions and additional information about the park, visit:  www.portlandpooch.com/dogparks/delta.htm

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39th Annual Troutdale Trot and Walk

 Plans for this weekend?? If you're up for a bit of exercise and beautiful scenery, come to Troutdale for the 39th Annual Troutdale Trot and Walk!! You can register day of! Just bring your running shoes. Find out more info here:
39th Annual Troutdale Trot And Walk
6.7 mile Walk & Run, Magical Mile and Turtle Trot 
Saturday, May 7, 2016 
Fun for the whole family in one of Oregon’s most scenic areas! 
Course Description 
One-of-a-kind 6.7- mile run and walk in the country. Registration in advance is appreciated. 
Sign-up and registration the day of the race is at Glenn Otto Community Park by the Sandy River, just east of downtown on the Historic Columbia River Highway. 
Runners/walkers will start at different times in front of Glenn Otto Park. 
The course winds through downtown, south on Troutdale Road, then east on Stark Street, through the lush countryside, across the Stark Street Bridge, then back along the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway by the Sandy River, returning to the finish line at Glenn Otto Park. 
Mile markers will be posted along the course. Refreshments and awards will be inside the Sam Cox building at the Park. 
Magical mile is a 1 mile run through Glenn Otto Park. 
Turtle Trot is an easy trek within Glenn Otto Park for children.
SRC: Find out more info here: docs.com/cindy-brown/8895/troutdale-trot-registration-form-2016

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Mount St. Helens, 36 years Later

36 years ago Mount. St. Helen's erupted. It was an event that those who experienced it will not forget in their lifetimes. Three decades later, a new book on the eruption is out. "Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens" by Steve Olsen is an interesting and informative read about the famous mountain and 1980 eruption. Find out more about the book here: 
The passage of time brought stirrings and then remarkable restoration of life to slopes devastated by the 1980 eruption that transformed Mount St. Helens, the "American Fujiyama," into a mountain shaped like an open-ended football stadium. 
In another way, time has provided room for the perspective and retrospective brought to the eruption by Steve Olsen in his new book "Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens" (W.W. Norton & Co., $29.95). 
"Eruption" is a bouillabaisse of a book, blending ingredients of history and science, volcanology and clear-cutting, "Big George" Weyerhaeuser and Dave Johnston of the U.S. Geological Survey. It was Johnston who radioed word of the great lateral blast with the words, "Vancouver, Vancouver! This is it!" and was enveloped a moment later. 
Anyone new to the story will cringe at the scene in which President Carter asks:  "What do you need specifically?"  "M-O-N-E-Y" replied a boorish Washington Gov. Dixy Lee Ray,. 
It was Ray, both villain and clown, who set boundaries of the red (exclusion) zone in the weeks before the eruption so that Weyerhaeuser could go on clear-cutting its land, even as a growing bulge on the north side of the mountain had loggers scared silly. 
"Big George" Weyerhaeuser decreed that the cutting should go on. If the eruption had not taken place on a Sunday morning, hundreds of his employees would likely have been killed.  Of the 57 who lost their lives, only three were in the red zone. 
Olsen ranges wide in the ingredients for his book.  He discusses the famous land purchase negotiated by Frederick Weyerhaeuser and his St. Paul, Minnesota, neighbor, railroad baron James J. Hill. 
The deal totaled 900,000 acres, set the stage for the Big W's big presence in the Northwest, and included the lucrative, heavily cut-over land between Interstate 5 and Mount St. Helens.  
Reporters, and even Carter's party, would marvel at stripped moonscapes while flying toward the mountain.  Locals gently informed them that they were flying over Weyerhaeuser clear cuts and were not yet over the blast zone. 
Olsen is at his best when discussing the lateral blast, which produced devastation north and west of the volcano.  
He brings in a similar eruption of Bezymianny, a peak on the Soviet Union's Kamchatka Peninsula.  The Cold War kept U.S. scientists away from Kamchatka, while their Russian counterparts were barred from St. Helens. 
Not all the ingredients work.  An unfocused chapter  on Gifford Pinchot and the origins of the U.S. Forest Service is plunked in just before St. Helens blows.  It doesn't really discuss that Pinchot's namesake national forest had been turned into a cutting zone largely indistinguishable from Weyerhaeuser lands. 
Olsen is at his best in describing the lives of those who lost their lives on May 18, 1980, where they were and how they perished.  The descriptions border on intimate, but are in no way patronizing. 
Olsen suggests a provocative thesis, namely that the Mount St. Helens eruption represented a "dividing line" in Northwest history. 
It was a turning point between the "old Northwest," the resource-extraction economy represented by loggers who went on working on a dangerous mountain, and a new Northwest erected on ideas and technology with much forest land protected. 
Volcanoes are enormous in impact, whether in altering topography or influencing the Earth's climate. 
In late July 1980, this reviewer was exiting the remote Bubagoo Spires in the Purcell Range of British Columbia, on a sparkling, totally clear day.  Suddenly, a strange cloud loomed to the south, moved our way and darkened the sky. 
It was an ash cloud from Mount St. Helens, hundreds of miles away.  Later, just outside Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, we learned that Cardston, Alberta, rests on ash from a long-ago eruption of Glacier Peak.
A fascinating topic makes for a fascinating book.
SRC: Find the original article at: www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Mount-St-Helens-The-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-7244708.php#photo-4647572

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Dry Creek Falls Hike

Looking for a new hike to try in the Columbia River Gorge? If you've never hiked Dry Creek Falls off the Pacific Crest Trail, head there this weekend! With the trail head at Cascade Locks, it is a quick drive from Portland and a short hike with a beautiful falls: 
Got a couple of hours to spend hiking in the Columbia River Gorge but don't want to fight the crowds at the busy trailheads?
Head for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in Cascade Locks. Nobody would think of hiking there, do they?
Well, yes, of course, the PCT gets its share of hikers, but not nearly as many as at Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls, Wahclella Falls, Eagle Creek or any number of other nearby trails.
The parking area for the PCT is just before the toll booth for the Bridge of the Gods, in a Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area day use park with restroom building. If this small lot is full, there is plenty more parking just downhill off Wanapa Street beneath Bridge of the Gods.
The PCT is well signed as it climbs the hill and heads away from the bridge's toll booth, passes under Interstate 84 and leaves Cascade Locks for the woods. The destination will be , two miles on the PCT, then another easy quarter mile on a well-marked spur.
Despite the name, the falls runs year round and is quite scenic, set as it is in a bowl of columnar basalt. The 50-foot falls is especially pleasant when the heat of the day makes a little spray feel good. It got its name when the city of Cascade Locks used to take the water for its municipal system.
You can turn this into a loop hike by continuing toward town on the old road that these days serves as the spur trail to the falls. Before long you reach city streets of Cascade Locks. It helps to know your way around town, but when in doubt, walk toward downhill the Columbia River until you get your bearings.
SRC: Find the original article here: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/09/dry_creek_falls_short_hike_via.html

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Get Away fro the Weekend at McMenamin's Edgefield

Certainly one of the most famous attractions in Troutdale, OR, and the Columbia River Gorge, McMenamin's Edgefield offers lodging, golfing, spa treatment, music, drinking, eating, and a collection of other features. Come by the World of Edgefield for a pint, for a round of golf, or make reservations for a private event; Edgefield is one of our favorite spots in the West Columbia Gorge: 
Historic Edgefield, built in 1911 as the county poor farm, is a destination resort in the Pacific Northwest that blends Oregon's natural beauty with McMenamins' signature whimsy: original buildings carefully restored with cozy interiors, gardens grown using organic methods, great food and drink, live entertainment and more.
Encompassing a 74-acre parcel of farmland at the mouth of the spectacular Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, Edgefield is a 20-minute drive to or from the center of downtown Portland and about 15 minutes from Portland International Airport.
The stately main building, with over 100 European-style guestrooms and hostel accommodations, is furnished in turn-of-the-century decor. There are no televisions or telephones in the rooms, encouraging tranquility as surely as do the rocking chairs on our verandas. Guests may choose from rooms with private bathrooms or with conveniently located common bathrooms down the hallway. We do offer complimentary WiFi around the Black Rabbit Restaurant, the Library and in many of our event spaces. 
Wander about the extensive gardens (glass of wine or pint of ale in hand), visit the onsite glass-blower and potter, have a look at extensive artwork on walls, pipes and more, watch a recent-run movie in the theater, listen to live music, pick up souvenirs in the gift shop....
And that is just the beginning. We look forward to seeing you. 
*** Edgefield is now pet-friendly! ***
SRC: Explore more about Edgefield accommodations here: www.mcmenamins.com/Edgefield

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Spend a Day Tasting Wine at Mt. Hood Winery!

Add Mt. Hood Winery to your list of great northwest wineries to try! A scenic winery with exceptional wine and unparalleled views, a perfect afternoon at Mt. Hood Winery awaits you! Read more here: 
Between March and November, our beautiful Hood River wine tasting room is open daily. Here you can experience not only fine Mt. Hood wines but also extraordinary vineyard views. We invite you to come out for a romantic weekend, a group getaway, or for a retreat here in the peaceful Hood River Valley. Trust us; you’ll come for the wine and stay for the views!
11am - 5pm March through November
 SRC: Find out more about Mt. Hood Winery today at: mthoodwinery.com/visit-our-hood-river-wine-tasting-room/

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