Trail users asked to mind conditions

As winter weather settles in for the next several months, representatives of local mountain biking groups are asking riders to be mindful of trail conditions and respect the hard work volunteers have put into making Gorge-area trails the world-class singletrack that they have become.

This time of year, it means not riding in heavy rain and staying off trails prone to the freeze-thaw cycle. That may seem like common sense, but the number of torn-up trails and muddy bikes seen on the back of vehicles the past couple weeks indicates otherwise.

“Some people may not understand that our trails around here are built and maintained by volunteers,” said Temira Lital, Hood River Area Trail Stewards board member. “They are easily damaged and take a lot of energy to fix; and the more time we spend repairing trails, the less time we can spend building new ones.”

Along with the obvious rain and mud, an even worse condition for riding is during a freeze-thaw cycle, when frost penetrates deep into the soil, then thaws as the sun hits it. The popular eastside Whoopdee trail was closed earlier this week due to that condition and the fact that riders continued to use the trail.

“It was getting damaged but people kept riding it anyway, so it was closed,” Lital said. “Winter riding can be great here, you just have to watch the conditions and choose where to go. If the ground is frozen, the trails are smooth and tacky and super-fun. The problem is when the sun hits trails and thaws them out.”

Another rule to follow is, if you insist on riding in poor conditions, ride through puddles and muddy sections, not around them; it causes less damage.

n Check out what Hood River Area Trail Stewards are up to at hrats.org or on Facebook.

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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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