With as many as fourteen dams on the length of the Columbia, it is now a surprisingly wide river. Just how wide, we begun to comprehend as we drove downstream towards Hood River yesterday. I do wonder just what it was like untamed when Lewis & Clark went down it & then later in Oregon Trail times. We were aiming to meet Miles – who was out kite-surfing with his brother – after lunch to go for a ride. That the Columbia is a good place for kiting & windsurfing was obvious as we saw an extensive windfarm nearby.
Yes, another poor picture taken from the passenger seat.
We weren’t too long in getting to Hood River & we ended up finding a lot of kites. As I’ve said time & time again on this trip – the river is very high this year. Consequently, the usual staging area & beach is well under water so everything was much closer to the parking lot. We happened upon the last of three days’ worth of kiting for cancer-research fundraising – so there was a good atmosphere around & over sixty kites out on the water. It was neat to watch a sport that I know little about & looks like great fun – the air that some of the boarders were getting was incredible. I’m not sure I’d ever be able to overcome the fear of a big gust of wind pulling my shoulder to pieces again.
While we waited, we sifted around town a bit looking in bookshops & eating pie (still not too sure what a marionberry is – but it tasted good). Eventually, we met up with Miles, crossed the river to Washington & went & met his brother Alan & Alan’s family. As time was limited for Alan, we went out on a short ride from their lot up in the hills. Starting with a little road-riding, it wasn’t long before we were in the forest. We basically climbed 350m on fireroads to get to the start of the singletrack down. The first section was absolutely sweet. Super dark in the dense forest (therefore, no dust this time) & a nice twisty, but flowy, trail that was super smooth to ride. Unfortunately, the middle section had been logged since the last time Alan & Miles had ridden it – so that was more boring. With an even twistier bit of singletrack to finish off, we were soon back at the trailer. Nice to get out & stretch the legs on a ride that wasn’t super long.
Mt Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, had been popping in & out of view all day – usually with an annoying cap of cloud sitting around. It’s really nice to see the mountain rising out of the lowlands – so here’s a snapshot.