Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Gorge - Photo Journal

We recently had an epic 2 weeks in Hood River, OR and the Columbia River Gorge OR/WA - the location for world class windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP downwinders, hiking, mountain & road biking, snow sports, and whitewater kayaking - they have it all.  Hood River is outdoor sports/adventure town USA - and THE place for wind johnnies and wind betties.

Below is an extensive photo journal of our trip (with captions), so settle in with a cold one.  You can also click on the first pic and then scroll through to view in large format (but captions disappear when viewing in large format).

First, some quick notes:
-  I took my family and they stayed for a week & a half before returning home for other commitments.    Alan, also a Charlotte area windsurfer, was there with his family for the same 2 weeks.  My buddy Rob arrived as my family left and he lucked into a lot of wind his entire 4 days there.  
-  I windsurfed 7 days out of the 2 weeks.  2 days were 3.7 sailing in 30mph+ wind.  My lower back gave me fits off & on during the trip, so I couldn't go all out at 100% all the time, and had to take some rest days.  I could have windsurfed every day of the 2 weeks if I wanted to, perhaps some days on 6 & 7 meter sails, but most days were 4 or 5 meter sailing.  
-  They've had an early hot summer, so the water was low 70s.  We windsurfed in either board shorts or shorty 1-2mm wetsuits.  SUP downwinders in nothing but board shorts.
-  Windsurfed at the Hatchery, Doug's Beach, & Hood River Waterfront Park.   On the last really windy day we had, we should have gone further east to The Wall, but couldn't pull ourselves away from Doug's Beach for the longer drive east (never leave wind to find wind).
-  Paddled the Viento to Event Site 8 mile SUP downwinder a couple times - once with my daughter and once with Rob (both first timers for them).  Wind was 25-35mph for both downwinders.  Unbelievably fun swells and long glides!
-  Big Winds shop was a great one stop shop for our windsurfing & SUP rentals, plus they provided the shuttle for the downwinders.  
-  Best food/drink during our stay:
10 Speed Coffee - lunch burgers (& coffee/breakfast sandwiches)
Bette's Diner - breakfast & Smoked Salmon Breakfast Burrito
Thai House (in The Heights) for Thai
Local Grind (food truck located at Event Site behind Big Winds tent) - ahi tacos & rice bowls
Sixth Street Bistro - overall menu and good food
Solstice - pizza
Double Mountain (good pizza here too) / Pfriem  / Full Sail / Everybodys (across the river in White Salmon, WA) / Union Taphouse (a cool small place in the really small town of Mosier) - craft brew
-  Hikes we did - Multnomah - Waukeena Loop (10 majestic waterfalls in 5 miles), Punchbowl Falls 4.5 mile hike, & Oneonta Falls Gorge (short hike but hidden away past a giant logjam and waist high walk through cold water).  
- Fun flat water SUP on Lost Lake with the family with beautiful views of Mt Hood.  Didn't make it to Mt Hood itself this time around, nor did I mountain bike this trip either (would have if my back was feeling better).

The approach into Portland airport takes you right over the Columbia River Gorge

If you happen to be on the left side of the plane and have a window seat, they fly right by Mount Hood

We spent 1/2 day in Portland and visited their world famous Rose Garden

We walked around Old Town, got lost inside Powells Bookstore, and of course the kids had to visit VooDoo Doughnuts

Willamette Riverfront - downtown Portland

The view from our rental house, overlooking downtown Hood River, the Event Site and Sandbar

The way up to & down from our rental house to & from downtown - even if we were just relaxing in town, it was still a workout

The hike into Oneonta Gorge

This pic of the logjam doesn't do it justice.  Its really big and has to be climbed over with great care

The wade through really cold water to get to the waterfall

McIntyre's 1st Gorge SUP downwinder - she paddled it like a champ!

Fun swell and great glides

me windsurfing at Doug's Beach in 30mph+ wind, on a 3.7 sail

My kit

Family SUP outing on Lost Lake in the shadow of Mount Hood

Da Boyz playing at the Event Site - a great place for the family to hang out and swim in the Columbia River

The first of 10 waterfalls on the incredible Multnomah - Wahkeena Falls Loop Hike

Everything is big in Oregon

I got stung on my hand by a yellow jacket and it swelled up - I suddenly had a meaty hand

Big rocks - can you spot Jake?

At the top of Multnomah Falls, looking down

Multnomah Falls
More swimming in the Columbia - McIntyre is our little daredevil

Punchbowl Falls hike - from Eagle Creek Trailhead

The view east of Hood River on the way to Doug's Beach on the WA side

First Friday at Hood River, they close off the downtown streets and have a party.  There was a break dancing competition and it was awesome.

Musicians in front of the Promotion Wetsuits shop
Fun gathering with Alan & Sean and their families.  Love this pic of the kiddos.

Another beautiful sunset, extra red from the wildfire haze (from far away WA wildfires)

SUP downwinder on the mighty Columbia

catching glides with Rob, on his 1st Gorge SUP downwinder

Kiter going for big air as we passed by The Hatchery
Rob hitting the lip at The Hatchery

Alan backloop

enjoying a post sesh cold one at the little Union Taphouse in Mosier, OR - population 430

The drive east - the landscape changes from green to desert

waiting for wind at The Hatch

Doug's Beach windsurfing - Rob



Canadian pro & freestyle specialist Phil Soltysiak was in town

The Hatch - Alan & Rob



Alan - duck jibe

Alan's sweet new board

Petroglyphs - east of Doug's Beach & The Dalles on the WA side

heading into the desert

Back at Doug's Beach - one of our favorite spots - sandy beach, beautiful views from the water, fun swells, and not too far from Hood River - this is the view looking back at the beach



Rob on a 3.7 - wind 30mph+


Local Sean Aiken - he put on a clinic of how to absolutely shred the Columbia River
Sean backloop

Sean - showing how to ride the swell

Sean backloop


big swells at Doug's Beach

Sean forward loop

Pow! - an oldie, but goody classic board

Loadin' them up - lets roll

The Gorge Cup Windsurfing Race Series was taking place on our last day there - we sailed at the Waterfront Park and watched some of the racing

Gorge Cup race


Post sesh hanging out at The Sandbar, before leaving for the Portland airport

What a great way to end our trip, with live music overlooking the action on the river on a beautiful day.  It was hard to leave this.