Wednesday, August 14, 2013
With a deep-green, slow-moving swimming hole shimmering in the afternoon sunlight, the Hood River at Tucker Bridge has long been one of the best swimming holes on the river anywhere between the Punchbowl in Dee and the old Powerdale Dam powerhouse just outside downtown Hood River.
Parking can be an issue here, access is steep and there’s not much of a beach for lounging on, so this spot is better for a quick dip on a hot afternoon than for picnicking and lounging around on lawn chairs all day long.
Tucker Bridge crosses over the Hood River about two miles south of Windmaster Market near the Odell/Parkdale junction. Roadside parking is limited to just a few cars on both sides of Tucker Road, while the large parking lot at Apple Valley Country Store is designated for store customers only, with no parking for river users due to space limitations and liability issues.
A small trail on the south side of the bridge leads down to the river, with a metal ladder of about 10 steps to negotiate at the bottom. The access trail and limited beach/rock space makes the Tucker Bridge swimming hole less-than-ideal to bring dogs, small children, coolers, glass or other beach-wares.
Adding to the fun of this particular location is a beginner-friendly rope swing strung from the underside of the bridge. It’s nothing crazy, but the rocks you swing from are high enough to build up speed, skim your toes across the water, launch into the air and land a giant cannonball in the middle of the river.
The site is also a popular put-in for kayakers and whitewater stand-up paddlers headed for a quick downstream run to the mouth or take-out for kayakers coming from middle sections of the Hood.
As an added word of concern about accessing the river at this site: Adjacent landowners do not condone recreating in the river here due to liability concerns. Please respect their property rights when parking/walking and respect the river and the beach by keeping it clean and safe.
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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