Backyard Half marathon hits White Salmon June 16

— Hilltop scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and Mount Adams will be the sought-after reward for many runners and hikers above White Salmon on Saturday June 16th at the Backyard Half Marathon.

The running and hiking course starts and finishes at the Rhinegarten Park in downtown White Salmon. The course is 13.1 miles with 12 miles of trails that loop up and around Hospital Hill with 1800 feet of elevation gain.

The Backyard Half is a free run/hike with a suggested donation of $10 or more to help fund the Columbia High School Cross Country Team. It has grown from 24 participants the first year to 204 participants last year.

The run would not be possible without the cooperation of many, including the area landowners graciously granting permission to access their land for the event. The event is run entirely on private property.

Because of businesses donations by ICE, Everybody’s Brewing, Charter Communication, Radcomp, Killer Burger, Shortt Supply, Cascade Alaskan Malamutes, Spaeth Design Works and Skyline Physical Therapy, 100 percent of the participants’ donations will go to the cross county team.

This fall will be the start of the third season for the self-funded cross country team, and with the donations from the Backyard Half Marathon participants, the athletes will continue to enjoy the experiences that the sport is able to offer. The cross country team will be assisting in directing runners on the course, helping at the start and finish, and staffing the aid stations throughout the race.

The wide community support for cross country has helped the team create a successful start. In 2010, the girls team qualified for the state meet along with Brad Rich as an individual qualifier.

The event starts at 10 a.m. and is FREE but a suggested donation of $10 or more is requested to support the third year of Columbia High Schools self-funded Cross Country Team. Additional information can be found at or by contacting Allan Dushan at

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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