Thousands of blooms are coming!

March 2, 2015 by:

Every year around this time, Bonneville Lock and Dam staff fields questions about the daffodils planted along the entrance road. After construction of the 1993 lock, thousands of daffodils were planted as part of the restoration, in two varieties: Narcissus “King Alfred” (yellow) and Narcissus “Ice Follies” (white and yellow). In other areas, yellow swaths of forsythia, red twig dogwood and gorgeous ornamental pink cherry trees add impressive color. Plan to visit the blooms adorning the grounds at Bonneville Lock and Dam!

Jammin’ at The Skyway

April 13, 2014

If you have the propensity towards affection for anything The Grateful Dead, you sure missed out the other night at The Skyway Bar & Grill.

The Skyway is located in Zigzig, Oregon, nestled up to the beautiful expanse of Mount Hood and the surrounding Mount Hood National Forest. The bar features a full restaurant dining experience, as well as a large bar and venue area. The atmosphere is that of a longtime local Mount Hood establishment. The mix of posters, placards and art on the walls allude to a very laid-back, fun frame of mind. The food is outstanding. The large outdoor backyard comes equipped with games, a fire pit, and many cozy little private areas to sit and enjoy the weather. First, however, let me briefly describe the night I spent jammin’ with Papagayo.

Papagayo is a band from my past, out of Portland.  While they no longer tour, the show they put on at Skyway was one of the greatest reunion shows I have ever seen. As aforementioned, the music is definitely mostly Grateful Dead covers, with some southern rock and blues covers and originals mixed in. The house was packed, and the boys played like they were on fire (“Fire on the Mountain!”). A mixture of old friends and new friends gathered to dance and sing their hearts out, and not only was the band reunited, but so were many long lost acquaintances. You could feel the spirit of magic and joy in the air all night.

The set lists were perfect, and covered the range of much loved, classic Dead songs, to more obscure titles that only the true Dead Head will know. An older gentleman in a wheelchair was rolled up to the very front of the dance floor, and boy he sure boogied harder than anyone.  It was amazing.

Okay, back to the Skyway itself. Skyway has a variety of items on their menu, but they are known for their BBQ and their mac and cheese. I live in Hood River, Oregon, and I hear people raving in my town about the mac and cheese they had at Skyway. While I can’t divulge the nature of the “variety of cheese” they boast on their menu, I can tell you that the breadcrumb topping is indeed baked to perfection.

On this particular occasion, I found myself hankering for a burger. I am a red-meat kinda gal, yet I very rarely (no pun intended) order burgers when I’m dining out. I find that the beef tends to be flavorless and overcooked at many restaurants, and just isn’t worth the $9-$10 I end up paying for it. This is definitely not the case at Skyway. First off, the burger is served on a  handmade brioche roll. I was in pure salivation heaven as soon as that plate hit my table. I ordered the burger with bleu cheese and bacon, and there was no lack of generosity in my bleu cheese portioning. The bacon was cooked perfectly and the portioned to have some in every bite, but not be overwhelmingly greasy. Now I get to the good stuff: the burger patty itself. I asked for it to be cooked medium-rare, knowing that they source their beef from a very reputable location, and guess what? It came out medium-rare. It seems simple enough, but so many restaurants cannot seem to grasp cooking a burger this way. That first bite was enough to make me forget about the hoards of people standing around me, and even forget the music was playing, for I was in hamburger nirvana. The full, rich flavor of their handmade ground beef patties is enough to keep this little meat-eater driving back up to the mountain for more, hopefully not so often that I have to buy a new, looser wardrobe. I have also heard that their Vietnamese-style “Bahn Mi” sandwiches are out-of-this-world, though I will be hard-pressed to try anything but that amazing burger.


skyway burger



All in all, I give The Skyway Bar and Grill two thumbs, two toes, and many taste buds, up. For their location, they consistently have an amazing line-up of talented musicians and DJs gracing their stage, and there is plenty of room for dancing. Whether you make it a special trip from elsewhere, or find yourself on Mount Hood, you would be doing yourself an injustice if you did not stop and check out The Skyway. Check out their current lineup and amazing menu at

Till next time, get out there and live folks!

Inside the bar


Outside patio area with fire pit



February 24, 2014
This is the view from my kitchen window, icicles and all!


Finally! After a surprisingly dry December and January, winter is upon us in the Gorge. There are red, frosty, delighted faces careening down the slopes as we speak, and impromptu snowboarding courses popping up in all sorts of interesting places. I, for one, have not yet had the chance to get out the cross-country skis, but from what I hear the backcountry skiing right now is amazing. Fluffy, pristine snow, and the freezing rains have yet to descend upon us. If you can get to the Twin Tunnels between Mosier and Hood River, it is the place to be for ski, cross-country of course, and it is always a wonderful spot to see some magical views of the Columbia River and surrounding cliffs. Afterwards, I suggest a delicious local microbrew from the newly re-opened River City Saloon in downtown Hood River (207 Cascade Ave., 97031). They have a multitude of local beers available, as well as some killer hot drinks to take the chill out of your bones, such as the infamous-but-never-dull Spanish Coffee.

We are all feeling very thankful to have hard-working men and women operating the snowplows that keep our roads safe up here. Unlike in the metropolitan areas hit with winter weather, there have been no major accidents. Most of us are thankful to have an excuse to stay indoors anyway, cozy with a fire burning and a mug of hot cocoa (don’t forget the marshmallow fluff!!). I spent some time today playing in my backyard with my friend’s two amazing daughters, along with my dog, Mr. Han Solo Beelzebub Wigglesworth (you will hear much more about him in the future). I captured some of our special moments, but know that the photos do not do justice to the picturesque quality of my surroundings. I am so blessed to live in this amazing, unique part of Oregon. Happy snowy trails, my friends!


Sweet hammock...until we meet again.

Sweet hammock…until we meet again.

I lost the snowball fight.

I lost the snowball fight.


Horsetail and Ponytail Falls #438

November 14, 2013 by:


Horsetail Falls Loop offers a gorgeous waterfall view right at the trailhead.  It also holds secrets to discover along the way. That’s one of the reasons why I find myself returning to this trail often, even though it is one of the more crowded hikes. The 2.6 mile loop is open year-round except for particularly dangerous weather conditions. But even last weekend during the 72 mph wind gusts in the Gorge, there were people out on this and other trails.

Peering down from above into the grand Columbia Gorge or facing the mystical beauty of the mountains and the myriad streams descending from above, the Horsetail Falls hike offers a wide array of photo ops.
It starts out heading East from Horsetail Falls and switch backs lead gradually up the mountain to birds-eye views of the Columbia Gorge.
After the junction with Gorge Trail #400, the trail levels out and heads southwest into the mystical and hidden Ponytail Falls. This is my favorite part. Follow the trail as it leads behind the falls and past the cave formed of lava. It’s worth taking the time to go back into the cave and examine the shapes of the stones that form the cave walls and ceiling.
From this brief valley, the trail once again ascends to a rock garden area, dappled with moss and ferns.
There are offshoot trails that lead to lookouts in this area. Be vigilant and take caution at the viewpoints, especially if you have children or pets with you. Be aware of the cliffs.
As you continue along the trail, There are a couple of spots from which you can look down into Oneonta Gorge. One of the more popular places to take photos of Oneonta below is the bridge that crosses above it connecting both sides of the trail. Just before the bridge is what’s left of the mossy, somewhat iconic “Oneonta Gorge” sign. More of the sign has broken off since this photo was taken.
Just past this point, there is a junction with Oneonta Trail #424. If you take the detour, you can add Triple Falls to the list of delights on this trip.
Triple Falls
From this point the descent back to the highway goes pretty quickly. If you parked at the Horsetail Falls trailhead, you’ll walk along the old scenic highway for about a half a mile,  past  Oneonta Gorge Trailhead, across old stone bridge, and through the restored tunnel. If you’re into geocaching, there is at least one micro-cache hidden on the East side of the tunnel.

Harvest Month in the Gorge: Upcoming October Events!

October 6, 2013 by:

October is a time when The Gorge grows orange, red and yellow arms to wrap around the fertile, green summer leftovers. It’s a time when harvest peaks before a winter full of dried goods and jarred sustenance. Apples migrate from branch to hand to cutting board to cider pot. It is a time to enjoy transitions, to plan costumes, admire pumpkins and take crisp, exhilarating hikes.

To help fill out your October calendar are a smattering of lovely events taking place throughout The Gorge this month. Enjoy!

Columbia River Gorge

Oct 8 /  Autumn Wine and Art Festival / The Dalles, OR /

5:30 – 8:30pm

Enjoy an evening of harvest cuisine paired with wine from local Gorge vineyards at this annual fundraiser to benefit the official interpretive center of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and Wasco County Historical Museum.

Oct 11 thru 13 / Hood River International Mountain Film Festival / Hood River, OR


If you missed the Wild and Scenic Film Festival last month or simply can’t get enough, then the next outdoor oriented film fest will be for you! Enjoy a three hour  presentation of local and international films representing a wide array of experiences that connect us more deeply to adventure, culture and travel.

Oct 12 thru 13 / Harvest Celebration Weekend / Goldendale, WA

1 – 5pm

Indulge in the magic of harvest season at the beautiful Maryhill Winery. Live music which includes Los Angeles singer songwriter, Shani, on the 12th and the Northwest musical duo, Gravy, on the 13th, will accompany a grape stomp, a hot dog and marshmallow roast and a barrel tasting.

Oct 18 thru 20 / Hood River Valley Harvest Fest / Hood River, OR

1 – 7pm (Fri) 10 – 7pm (Sat) 10 – 5pm (Sun)

Head to the Oregon side of the Columbia if you’re looking for a more old fashioned harvest fest and enjoy Hood River’s collection of local produce which includes among the list of produce celebrities – Anjou pears and heirloom apples – as well as jams, pies, smoked salmon and chocolate covered cherries. Bring the youngsters along to enjoy the Kid’s Zone and expect all day music and entertainment alongside wonderful vendors selling wood sculpture, handmade jewelry, photography and ceramics.


Oct 19 / Friends of the Columbia Gorge Klickitat Trail Hike / Klickitat, WA /

8 – 5pm

Join the Friends of the Columbia Gorge for this free, autumn hike excursion to commemorate the Klickitat Trail Conservancy’s 11th anniversary. This outing offers options for those in the mood for a less strenuous 4 mile riverside  hike or an endurance testing 8 mile hike to the town of Pitt. Take in the majesty of late October and make new hiking allies all in one day!

Oct 27 / Columbia Gorge Marathon / Columbia River Gorge


If you haven’t read fellow writer Wendy Hesselman’s recent article on the Marathon and her fantastic experience as a past participant, then check it out before you sign up for the ultimate running challenge that intertwines exercise with breathtaking Gorge scenery.

Oct  31 / Safe Halloween Street Fair / White Salmon, WA /

5 – 8pm

Walk around in costume or appreciate the creativity of others in the town of White Salmon for their Halloween street fair extravaganza. If you’re not a White Salmon native or don’t live in a nearby location, splurge on a Halloween night getaway at the Inn of the White Salmon, an eco-friendly boutique hotel!

Tuck your camera in your back pocket – bring your fleece, but also your sunglasses – fill your mug with cinnamon laced cider and stow a couple of apple barrels in the backseat of your car to carry home the bounty – get out in the Columbia River Gorge and enjoy this month’s season of plenty as the harvest comes to fruition!




Last Chance Swims!

September 17, 2013 by:

Water Babies of the Pacific Northwest – Yes, the season has all but wound down and the glorious days of summer swimming holes are safely instagramed in filters of Valencia and Mayfair. The tattoos of water worship are imprinted on the skin in swimsuit line patterns. Ones that we will gaze at longingly until November when the evidence all but fades and we immerse ourselves fully into a different season – the rainy time.

However, the potential still exists for one or two more dipping days, so don’t fold up your summer clothes just yet.

This week may offer a couple options – particularly on Thursday – so keep your suit hanging by the door. There is a chance that it will get up to 80 degrees in Hood River and if so, I recommend this quick, easy to get to spot where fleeting afternoon heat can be savored in one last Columbia River, summer swimming hommage.

Waterfront Park

The Waterfront Park on Portway Ave in Hood River offers a sweet green space guard-railing the shore of a delicious Columbia River swimming cove, separated from the windsurfing action by buoys, but still privy to the glorious view of the Gorge itself. Bring a book and a sweatshirt for when things start to cool down and nestle on the sand near the polished green current of the river. After you’ve soaked and sunned, stop by the Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom for a cold drink and a slice of pizza. Review your favorite summer adventures in your mind’s eye and then make some space for the next beautiful season to take you deeper into the hum of nature’s mesmerizing siren song.

Hood River Swim



Source To Sea At The Clinton Street Theater

September 11, 2013 by:

The Columbia River is a shape shifter. It transposes silky, azure surfaces into daunting, frothy rapids. It rises in the rocky mountains of British Columbia, surges past the desert bedside and resplendent waterfall canyons of Washington and Oregon, until finally merging with the Pacific Ocean in a tumultuous reunion that has sunk approximately 2,000 large ships since 1792. This defining source of Pacific Northwest water has suffered at the hands of industrialization, lost large populations of salmon in the face of dam construction and bore the brunt of a whole host of other pollutants too innumerable to count. Concerned about clean water and human rights, a man by the name of Christopher Swain made it his goal to turn the attention of Columbia River communities, all the way from the Southern Rocky Mountain Trench to the coastal town of Astoria, in the direction of the current. His method? Become the first person in history to swim the 1,243 miles of the river’s course.

In Andy Norris’s compelling documentary, Source To Sea, we follow Swain on his epic six month swim as he submerges himself daily in the belly of the Columbia. Norris, a Pacific Northwest based filmmaker and writer, heard of Swain’s efforts when he was working at a restaurant in Portland and a customer mentioned that she was heading to Canada to drop off supplies for Swain’s swim. When speaking to me about the inception of Source To Sea, Norris explained,

“I learned that the effort was underway and I asked the customer in the restaurant if anyone was making a film about it. A woman out of New York had tried. She went to the usual suspects, National Geographic, Discovery etc. They wouldn’t fund the film and she wasn’t able to do it, so she just shot some initial footage at the headwaters and that was that. Then I went and met Christopher and I said, I don’t have any money, I don’t have a camera or editing equipment, but I want to make a movie about your swim.”

As Low-To-No budget filmmaking goes, Source to Sea required Norris to be resourceful, calling upon the community in what became an all volunteer effort that included 20 to 30 filmmakers.  Encouraging anyone with an interest in the story and a camera of their own to participate, Norris captured Swain’s swim with a collected crew of both activists and artists, following Swain on various borrowed boats. The 88-minute documentary that emerged highlights Swain’s incredible effort and borders his story with rich archival footage and evocative interviews with tribal elders from the native Columbia River communities.

You haven’t missed your opportunity to check out Source to Sea on the big screen, although it originally came out in 2007 (and received the Environmental Action and Social Justice award at the EarthVision Film Festival) It screens at 6pm tonight, Wednesday Sepember 11, at the Clinton Street Theater, followed by Norris’s recent documentary, Targeting Iran.

If you miss your Clinton Street Theater opportunity, imitate a great river and seek out another channel to witness this amazing story for yourself. On his sight,, Swain’s bio wraps up his perspective nicely: Christopher Swain is a swimmer. In the ocean, he sees evidence of every environmental choice we have ever made. Swain is not rich, not a scienteist, and not that fast a swimmer. But he is a Dad who wants his daughters to grow up in a healthier world.  

Source to Sea, written, directed and produced by Andy Norris, plays at the Clinton Street Theater, Wednesday, September 11th at 6pm.

Source to Sea, written, directed and produced by Andy Norris, plays at the Clinton Street Theater, Wednesday, September 11th at 6pm.


Kiteboarding goes to new heights in The Gorge

August 12, 2013 by:

I just watched this. It sort of blew my mind. It looks like we may have a new type of “tow-up” kite surfing here in the Columbia River Gorge!

Trail Volunteers needed in The Gorge! Washington Trails Association needs some helping hands

August 5, 2013 by:
Hiking trails in The Gorge

Epic trails in The Gorge. Trail volunteers needed!

Hi Shanny,

Summer is underway, and Washington Trails Association’s volunteers are hard at work making the trails you love even better.

We’d like to invite you to invite you to us on a volunteer work party.We could really use your help on one of the August trail work projects listed below.

Haven’t volunteered with WTA before? No problem. We provide all the tools and the training you need. Plus there is a 10:30am chocolate break to keep you energy and spirits up while you give back to the place you love. 

Where WTA is working

Cape Horn Trail – Columbia Gorge
This 7.5 mile loop with grand views of the Gorge 
is one of the area’s newest trails. Volunteers are needed to help build an extensive reroute that moves the existing trail off of sensitive habitat. Lend a hand and help to make this great trail even better!

Chinook Trail at Bell’s Mt. – Yacolt Burn State Forest (DNR)
This section of the Bell’s Mountain trail is often muddy, but with some volunteer elbow grease, new culverts, and gravel we can fix that. Join WTA’s Thursday crew and give back to this section of the Chinook Trail, a recognized National Recreation Trail.

Whipple Creek Park – Half-Day – Clark County Parks
WTA seeks youth and families (and hikers of all ages) to participate in a work party right in Vancouver’s “backyard”. Bring your child (and inner child) to connect with nature while building a new section of trail for future generations to enjoy.
WTA provides all tools, training plus post work party refreshments.

Indian Heaven Wilderness Weekend – Gifford Pinchot NF
Looking for a great way to give back to the trails you love? Want to have an adventure and camp out with new friends? Check out one of WTA’s weekend work parties! WTA provides the tools, training and a group campsite, provides after work refreshments and cooks a main dish for Saturday’s Potluck. Come for one day or two, bring a side-dish or dessert to share if you’d like to stay for dinner.

Participation is free and open to all ages. For more information Registration for our day trips opens 30 days prior to the event. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at[email protected]  or (360) 722-2657.

Hope to see you out on trail.


P.S. Interested in volunteering but can’t make the dates above? WTA volunteers are out on trail year round. Find a day that works for you here.




Musician Carinne Carpenter and Director Manny Marquez of Hood River, release video filmed in The Gorge

July 31, 2013 by:

MI0002951928Musician Carinne Carpenter and Director Manny Marquez of Hood River, release video filmed in The Gorge

Hood River, OR- Carinne Carpenter set to sing and fly like a bird out of The Gorge and take her musical career to the next level. Catch her last show in Hood River before she hits the road with the guit/fiddle North. Marley’s Corner Pub will be hosting a great night, no cover. I wont forget the day I ran into her at Marley’s Corner Pub. We shared our passion to keep independent music alive and to encourage coop neighborhood/shop local to put this career and others on track on a genuine level by gathering the rich talent in our neighborhoods and share, trade, and help promote our hard working friends who are trying to make a dream happen with a budding businesses as we all know how intense taking the leap from 9-5 job and crossing over to full time self starter. wishes Carinne the best of experiences as she embarks on her next chapter in life as a CAR (Country, Americana, Roots) stellar performer!

I love the quote from her Father in the video, “What you need to hear, doesn’t come from an open mouth”.

Carrine’s Invitation to tribe!

Dear Friends!

I would love to invite you down to Marley’s Corner Pub in Hood River, OR at the corner of C St and 12th this coming Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 6-8pm to celebrate independent music and my debut youtube video release titled, Carinne Carpenter: Vagabond Songwriter. It would mean so much if I could see your face before I head out on yet another journey. We’ll never be too far once we’re in each other’s hearts. ~Carinne Carinne

Carpenter releases music video shot in The Gorge Hi!

Here is the link to my new music video documentary released today 7/31/13! I’m super excited!

Manny Marquez of Hood River, OR directed this and did such a wonderful job! I hope you enjoy and please share with all your friends to make this an internet success!

Also, Please take a moment to like the new fan page on facebook if you like the new video! Thanks for watching and listening! ~Carinne Carpenter

Marley’s Corner (1)

Marleys Corner Pub and Drive Thru Come hungry and thirsty the dishes are house recipes and made from scratch to appeal to all. Here is a sample menu, come eat, drink, and groove to the music!

The Live Gig at Marley’s