It’s three weeks now since we arrived in Hood River for a day. Despite our time at Hood River primarily being spent learning to windsurf, there is of course the minor issue of wind, and the fact it’s not blowing every day. Luckily, the town is a little haven of outdoor adventure.
The gorge, as the locals call it, is the Columbia river running between two mountain peaks, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. This left us plenty to do in the way of exploring and hiking.
Our first hike – Mosier Twin Tunnels – was a relatively flat one, and we realised as we started down the route it was primarily designed fo bicycles. Still, it provided stunning views over the gorge and some interesting tunnels which had originally been designed wide enough for old Ford Model T’s to fit through. Unfortunately it suffered years of rockfalls and was destroyed, but rebuilt in 2000 to allow hikers and cyclists to enjoy the views through them.
The Columbia river is actually a state separation river, so whilst we were staying on the Oregon side, you can drive over a $2 toll bridge to Washington State to access some brilliant hiking and interesting sights on the volcanic mountain. One of these is the ice caves, lava tubes which formed so deep that cold air is kept in a pocket underground so all year round there are grand ice formations. Even in mid June, there was plenty of ice and we definitely went ill prepared on the clothing front. Still it was something we’re unlikely to see again and a unique experience walking down 20 stairs from 30º heat into sub-zero temperatures!
And on our last day in Hood River, we tackled the most popular hike for the locals – dog mountain. It’s a 7 mile hike with 2,800 feet of elevation and beautiful wildflowers on the way up.. if you’re into that. We were lucky with the weather and spent a good few hours tackling the mountain but the views at the top were absolutely stunning! On our way down we were grateful we left at 9am for the trek, as by early afternoon the heat seemed unbearable to make the climb up.
Our next stop is to Yellowstone National Park, but we are stopping at a city called Spokane on the way to dip our feet into the world of couchsurfing.
Until next time!