Visiting Hood River for the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

I’m in Hood River this weekend, hanging out with my family and paddling the Columbia Gorge Challenge. One of the things that makes a great event is having a venue that supports non-paddling family and friends. If there are things to do before, after and while everyone is on the water, it’s a winner.

We arrived in Hood River on Wednesday night. It’s and amazing town with tons of great restaurants, insane views, trains for my 3-year old, and day trips in every direction. It also is one of the top down winding spots on Earth.

So far, we’ve driven the Fruit Loop and Mountain View Orchards to pick peaches, pears, and apples. We ate so many before we even got back to weight them. There’s something about having fruit that ripened on the vine. So many times I look at the ship date and cringe at the fact it was picked a month earlier. I guess that’s the price you pay for wanting fresh fruit in winter.


The apples were the best I’ve ever tasted. I expected the trees to start yelling at us like on the Wizard of Oz.


We even stopped at an alpaca farm to pet and feed some truly gentle alpacas who incidentally had the greatest haircut on earth. This guy’s name is Prince Valiant.


Yesterday, we drove to the Ramona Falls trail and hiked 7-8 miles over a washout and through dark old-growth forests and mossy creek beds to an amazing waterfall.

Mount Hood

Mount Hood looped above usin the clouds.

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And of course, I took a downwinder with friends.


Put this destination on your calendar next year. I found a place to stay through There are also options on We got a condo with kitchen, laundry, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a view for less than a single hotel room. It’s the only way to go if you are traveling with a family.

Also, when you go to these events, check out the towns. Find things to do and support local businesses. It helps events survive and thrive.