Family Fun

Two new books take a kids’ eye view of things to do in the Gorge

Ever since Ruth Berkowitz and Jody Barringer met at the Hood River Aquatics Center a couple of years ago while their kids splashed in the toddler’s pool, the two moms have been “kidding” around a lot together — seeking out fun, new adventures and activities to do with their kids.

So it was a natural extension of their own lives when, last winter, they got the inspiration to put together a book for other parents looking for family-friendly outings in the Columbia Gorge.

“We were going out with our kids anyway and we wished there was a road map for us to use,” says Berkowitz, the mother of two kids age 2 and 3. The two friends decided they could use their experience — and that of other Gorge moms — to compile a handbook of kid- and family-friendly activities in and around Hood River.

The result is “Kidding Around the Gorge: The Hood River Area’s Ultimate Guide for Family Fun.” The book, due out next week, is packed with more than 120 author-tested activities and outings ranging from family hikes to kid-friendly restaurants. The book is arranged into 15 chapters, with headings like “Rockin’ Rock Throwing Locales,” “Hikes with Tikes” and “Screaming Ice Cream Stores.”

“We wanted the book to be fun to read,” says Barringer, who also has two kids age 2 and 4. The authors narrowed an original list of activities down to what they felt were the “best of the best.”

“We didn’t want to have an exhaustive list,” Berkowitz says. “We wanted the highlights.” The book is aimed at both locals and visitors. “Exceptional outings” are marked with a smiley face, and the authors’ suggestion that the activity is a must-do for families visiting for a limited time.

The book is illustrated with photos by local photographers Peter Marbach and Jim Semlor, as well as detailed “Getting There” information for each activity.

“We spent a lot of space and words on directions,” Barringer says. In addition, an appendix in the back of the book organizes information by location. So if you find yourself in, say, Mosier, with a backseat full of kids, you can flip to the appendix and get quick ideas on where to go and what to do. It’s also easy to find activities of a certain nature — like swimming or fishing — simply by turning to that chapter.

The book’s information spans from Multnomah Falls in the west to Roosevelt, Wash., in the east, and from Trout Lake to Mt. Hood. But “a lot of it is firmly concentrated in and around Hood River,” Barringer says.

The authors hope their book will help visiting and local families in the Gorge have fun “kidding around” in what they call a “huge playground” and “a wonderful place to raise a family.”

“Kidding Around the Gorge” will be available at local shops for $11.95. They can also be ordered by calling Ruth Berkowitz at 541-400-9006.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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