Intimate with the Gorge

‘Friends’ hike series offers educational outings through fall

Friends of the Columbia Gorge starts its annual fall hike series Sept. 8 with 36 outings on the two-month schedule. The series includes guided hikes, bike rides, work parties and driving tours focused around educating participants about different areas of the Gorge, as well sharing its scenic beauty as a group.

Each outing has an educational theme, from viewing traces of Lewis and Clark’s expedition and the Ice Age Floods to foraging for mushrooms and observing the “creatures of the night.”

In addition to the fall hike series, the Waterfall Wanderlust Hike Challenge is ongoing through Oct. 31. The challenge lists 25 Gorge waterfalls, which participants must visit and document before the deadline. Those who complete the challenge will receive a prize and an entry into a grand prize drawing, which is for an all-day raft trip for six on the White Salmon River and dinner at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe.

All outings are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Some outings are for members only. The full hike schedule and registration can be found online at: Friends’ basic membership is $35 annually. For information about Waterfall Wanderlust visit

Hike highlights:

For space purposes the list below is only a selection of some of the many hikes on the schedule. For the complete list visit

n Sept. 8: Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, Wash.

Birder Randy Fortish will lead hikers through oak woodlands, open fields and riparian forests in this beautiful wetland area. Hikers will learn to identify birds and learn about refuge management while we hike.

n Sept. 8: Mona Bell and Bonneville Dam, Ore.

John Harrison, author of “A Woman Alone,” will share the story of Sam Hill’s mistress Mona Bell, the mansion Sam built for her and her battle with the federal government after her home and property were condemned to make way for Bonneville Dam.

n Sept. 9: Indian Point, Ore.

Hike leader Hal White will guide hikers through stunning stands of old-growth forest,up to views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.

n Sept. 13: Dancing Rock, Wash.

Join Executive Director Kevin Gorman on this leisurely hike on land trust property, to enjoy sweeping views, eastern Gorge autumn colors, traces of the ice age floods, and learn Lewis and Clark history.

n Sept. 15: Historic Highway Bike Ride, Ore.

Participants will bike a pedestrian-only stretch of the Historic Columbia River Highway with Field Representative Peter Cornelison and learn today’s top conservation issues on the way from Hood River through the Mosier Twin Tunnels to the town of Mosier and back.

n Sept. 16: Franklin Ridge Loop, Ore.

Join leader Debbie Asakawa on this challenging hike up Multnomah Creek, passing several falls on the way to Franklin Ridge.

n Sept. 20: Lend-A-Hand Stewardship below Mosier Plateau, Ore.

Clear brush on the newly established trail corridor on Land Trust property at the Mosier Plateau with Land Trust Manager Kate McBride.

n Sept. 21: Lyle Cherry Orchard Hike, Wash.

Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager Renee Tkach will guide hikers up steep oak woodlands to Land Trust property, sharing trail history and future plans.

n Sept. 22: Autumn Waterfall Photography Workshop, Ore.

Photographer Jason Waicunas will share tips on the art of waterfall photography. Weather will determine hike. Short walks to the falls will focus on photographic technique. $25 upon registration.

n Sept. 22: Falls Creek Falls & Panther Creek Falls, Wash.

Welcome autumn at this secluded waterfall with hike leader Jane Garbisch. The gentle trail follows a cascading creek to a 220-foot, three-tiered waterfall.

n Sept. 23: Mushroom Scouting Hike, Ore./Wash.

Leader Stephen Brown will teach hikers how to forage for mushrooms while enjoy the autumn colors on this beautiful fall hike. Locations TBD, based on the mushroom availability.

n Sept. 29: Full Moon Hike at Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, Wash.

Join this special evening hike as the full moon rises. Hikers will listen and watch for creatures of the night as they walk the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail with Refuge expert Wilson Cady.

n Sept. 29: Whistling Ridge, Wash.

Leader Jim Chase and Staff Attorney Nathan Baker will guide hikers across this public land ridge, whose name is shared by a wind energy project that is proposed nearby.

n Sept. 30: Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls, Ore.

Join hike leader Jim Denton on this trek past numerous waterfalls to walk behind spectacular Tunnel Falls.

n For the 21 hikes scheduled for in October visit

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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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