The Gorge Magazine - Summer 2018

Page 1



E-Bike Tours

A fresh take on two-wheel fun

Bringing Back the Trails

Crews clean up after the fire

The White Salmon River

Experience more than just a raft trip

Visit Historic Downtown

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Bike Tours with Soul Pedaling has never been so much fun as with Hood River’s Sol Rides By Janet Cook

p.44 WATER FIXERS A flood, a fix and a patent have led to a Hood River non-profit’s inspiring effort to modernize crumbling irrigation systems throughout the western United States By David Hanson

p.58 AVIAN STORIES A photo essay by Linda Steider Michael Peterson



Starlisa Black

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Kelly Turso




Catherine Crane

outside 62

BRINGING BACK THE TRAILS Love for the Gorge carries trail crews through long days of post-fire work By Ben Mitchell

arts + culture 66

THE MUSIC PLAYS ON Music Festival of the Gorge stays true to its roots as it enters fourth year By Don Campbell

wellness 70

62 6


Top, courtesy of Wet Planet Whitewater and bottom, by Ben Mitchell

FROM THE WISDOM OF HORSES Equine-Assisted Learning is the heart of Triskele Rivers By Ruth Berkowitz





Photo by Michael Peterson

Live in Concert Sat. July 28th FREE with fair admission!


missed out on the fateful winter of 1996 in the Northwest, having left Hood River for a spell to attend grad school back East. I heard from friends and saw news reports about the massive flooding that came after a trifecta of weather events — snow, then a deep freeze, then a warm, wet Pineapple Express that bore down on the Northwest that February. It caused some of the worst flooding in the region in decades. Even President Clinton flew out to survey the damage in Portland, where the Willamette River rose more than 10 feet above flood stage.

In the Gorge, the flooding caused its own set of problems. Landslides closed roads and even buried a house in Dodson nearly to its roof. After the floodwaters receded, it was clear another casualty of the flooding was the vital network of century-old irrigation ditches in the Hood River Valley — the lifeline from the glacial waters of Mount Hood to thousands of acres of fruit orchards in the valley. Writer and photographer David Hanson delves into the story of what came after, when a few enterprising Hood Riverites used the catastrophe as an opportunity to build a better mousetrap in the form of an innovative irrigation screen. That effort has completely changed the irrigation scene in the Hood River Valley and is now poised to help reshape irrigation and water use throughout the western U.S. (page 44). In another story about forging ahead in the wake of calamity, writer and photographer Ben Mitchell joined a volunteer trail crew from the Pacific Crest Trail Association to see firsthand the work being done to restore trails after last year’s Eagle Creek Fire. A long day on the Herman Creek Trail was enough for him to conclude that the restoration efforts are in good hands — and legs (page 62). I spent a much less arduous day on an electric bike tour with Sol Rides, the Gorge’s only e-bike tour company. Owner and guide Charlie Crocker brings a long history of teaching and guiding to his endeavor, offering a rare opportunity in the Gorge for an all-inclusive activity (page 52).


In celebration of the National Audubon Society’s Year of the Bird, we showcase photographer Linda Steider’s often-breathtaking images of our avian neighbors. Steider, one of the foremost wildlife photographers in the Gorge, spends countless hours observing birds in their habitat, and has stunning photographs to show for it (page 58).


You’ll find a soul-filling variety of other stories in this issue, including a feature on Goldendale blacksmith Joe Vachon (page 28); a look at Anson’s Bike Buddies, a nonprofit whose goal is making sure every kid has a bike (page 16); and a story on Wet Planet Whitewater, the largest outfitter on the White Salmon River (page 32). Enjoy, and here’s to summertime in the Gorge. Cheers!

JULY 25-28, 2018




—Janet Cook, Editor

ABOUT THE COVER This unique perspective on the lower section of the White Salmon River is looking downstream toward the spot where the former Condit Dam was located until 2011. It is the section directly above the dam site, and was under water as part of Northwestern Lake until then. Since the summer of 2012, rafters and kayakers have been able to paddle all the way from BZ Corner through this section and into the Columbia River. Photo by Todd Collins/Wet Planet Whitewater.




When you have read this issue please pass it on to a friend or recycle it. Together we can make a difference in preserving and conserving our resources.


e Go h t e r e h w

rge gets engaged


RENATA KOSINA Creative Director/Graphic Designer

JODY THOMPSON Advertising Director


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ruth Berkowitz, Don Campbell, David Hanson, Kacie McMackin, Ben Mitchell, Sarah Sullivan, Louisa Pavlik



CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Catherine Crane, Robin Dickinson, David Hanson, Kacie McMackin, Ben Mitchell, Michael Peterson, Beau Sniderman, Linda Steider, Kelly Turso


SOCIAL MEDIA instagram/thegorgemagazine pinterest/thegorgemagazine


Experience the Columbia River Gorge like never before... from the seat of an electric ‘pedal assist’ bicycle

THE GORGE MAGAZINE PO Box 390 • 419 State Street Hood River, Oregon 97031

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The Gorge Magazine is published by Eagle Magazines, Inc., an affiliate of Eagle Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of Eagle Magazines, Inc. Articles and photographs appearing in The Gorge Magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of The Gorge Magazine, Eagle Magazines, Inc., Eagle Newspapers, Inc., or its employees, staff or management. All RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

Please visit SOLRIDES.COM or call 503.939.4961 for reservations and tour calendar




OUR GORGE person of interest p. 12 ventures p. 16 best of the gorge p. 18 home + garden p. 22 locavore p. 26 style + design p. 28 explore p. 32 wine spotlight p. 36

Dave Hammond and his son, Norman, work in the fields of their organic herb farm near White Salmon. p. 22 Photo by Kelly Turso




Nic Vik

Through trials and triumphs, art remains a constant for the Hood River Valley native STORY AND PHOTOS BY BEN MITCHELL

It’s a fitting location as Vik and the building share a couple things in common. For one, Vik also has deep roots with the Gorge fruit-growing industry: Vik, whose actual surname is Laurance (of the Laurance Lake namesake), is a fourth-generation orchardist in the Upper Valley, managing around 300 acres of land primarily planted with pear trees. And like his gallery, located in the bowels of the former fruit-packing plant, his art is a little on the dark side, although often sprinkled with humor. Those flipping through his popular adult coloring book entitled Eat, Shit, Color, and Die (“Ages 5 and Up” the cover wryly proclaims) will find salacious depictions of animals and humans involved in some NSFW hijinks – I won’t go into any more detail than that.


t age 16, Nic Vik found himself at a crossroads. One road took him down a path to trouble, the other, to artistry. Fortunately for the Gorge art scene and for himself, Vik chose the latter, and hasn’t looked back since, painting almost every day for nearly the past 20 years. “Art was my savior,” says Vik, 35, of Parkdale. “It saved my life.” Vik is the owner of The Remains, an art gallery and retail shop located in the old Diamond Fruit building sandwiched between the Union Pacific rail line and Industrial Street at the north edge of downtown Hood River. The Remains, which displays works by Vik and other artists, held a grand reopening this spring. 12 SUMMER 2018 : THE GORGE MAGAZINE

Giving starts in the Gorge

Nic Vik works in his home studio in Parkdale, above. Opposite, Vik by the downtown Hood River mural and in his gallery, The Remains.

Vik drew his early inspiration from heavy metal album covers and artists like M.C. Escher and H.R. Giger, and most of his work is oil or acrylic on canvas, but in general, he says, he’s not aiming for a particular style. “For the most part, I just do what I want to do. I just want to paint cool pictures that are entertaining to me and satisfy my need to create art,” he explains. “I wouldn’t say I’m ever trying to send too heavy of a message or anything like that; I’m just trying to combine a certain technical proficiency with an element of creativity to make something really cool, something that can’t just be photographed … something that kind of blurs the lines a little bit between fantasy and reality.” Growing up in Parkdale, Vik started creating art at a young age, inspired by what he saw in comic books. However, Vik didn’t always channel his seemingly limitless energy into positive areas. “At around age 16, I was kind of finding myself making some poor choices and was kind of a bit of a troublemaker,” he says. “I had a come-to-Jesus moment with myself at one of my lower points and I had to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I didn’t want to be a delinquent. I didn’t want to continue down that path. It had already cost me a lot and it was hard on my family and the people around me, so I took that path and I said ok, I’m good at drawing, I’m good at painting, so I made that choice.” After graduating from Hood River Valley High School in 2001, Vik moved to Portland, where he continued his work and made contacts in the art scene there. But, with an opportunity to run the family orchard and to raise a family with his wife, Tylee (they have a son, Wolfgang, who will enter first grade this fall), Vik felt the pull of the Gorge, and returned several years ago. As an orchardist, he fit in, but as an artist, he didn’t feel at home in a local art scene dominated by bright color palettes and Gorge-inspired landscape paintings. That is, until he met Nate Chavez, another local artist who shared a similar artistic “vibe” and Vik’s penchant for offbeat art. The two hit it off and decided to start an art gallery together with $500: The Remains, which opened in 2014.

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OUR GORGE : PERSON OF INTEREST It proved to be a successful collaboration. The two put on art shows, hosted musical acts and parties, and in the spring of 2017, embarked on painting a massive mural along Fourth, Third, and Columbia streets. “It really caught fire and it was pretty amazing — really a testament to what people in this community wanted to see and that there was an interest in a more gritty style of art,” Vik says of The Remains. However, their time together was short. Last August, in the middle of the mural project, Chavez passed away at age 37, a victim of suicide. Vik and the community were shocked and devastated. In the days after, tributes to Chavez began to pile up along the mural. “Nate was universally loved,” Vik says. “There’s no two ways about it.” Vik shuttered The Remains after Chavez’s death, but didn’t stop working. Needing a distraction and aiming to finish before winter, he threw himself into the remaining mural panels, which he completed in November. Afterwards, Vik weighed what to do about the gallery, but in his heart, he had already made the decision. “To me, I didn’t really feel like there was a choice,” he explains. “This was our baby;


Nic Vik works on a piece, above left, and stands in the retail section of The Remains. Vik works mostly in oil or acrylic on canvas. His work and that of other artists is on display and for sale at The Remains.

this is who Nate and I were; this was our identity.” Throughout the winter and early spring, Vik went about remodeling The Remains, adding a retail section featuring clothing and shoes (vintage and new), CDs and cassettes. Beer is available for purchase and there is an arcade machine customers can play. Musical acts and art shows are still part of the formula. Vik reopened The Remains on April 6, and the community showed up in droves to support Vik and honor the memory of Chavez, whose easel and Chicago Cubs jersey adorn one of the gallery walls. “The support was amazing,” Vik says. “Being back for the first time was definitely emotional and I knew it would be for me and a lot of other people, but it was still a good feeling to get the place back up on its feet.” The Remains is located at 500 Industrial Street in Hood River. For more information on Nic Vik’s art and The Remains, go to and Ben Mitchell is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Hood River. He is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.


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A Bike for Every Kid Community need, and generosity, keep Anson’s Bike Buddies spinning STORY BY JANET COOK • PHOTOS BY KELLY TURSO


nson Pulk of Hood River was 8 years old when he had an epiphany of sorts. He’d outgrown his bike and received a new one for Christmas. His mom, Kristen Campbell, and dad, Jeff Pulk, talked to him about what they should do with his old bike. “We talked about donating it somewhere,” Kristen said. “We told him that there are kids who don’t have bikes.” Kristen says she’ll never forget the shocked look on Anson’s face. “What do you mean, there are kids who don’t have bikes?” Anson said. They discussed how not everyone has the resources to buy a bike. “His feeling was, well, that’s just not right,” Kristen said. They began to look into how best to pass the bike on to someone in need, and came up with few options. “We realized there wasn’t a streamlined way to donate a used bike,” Kristen said. A student at Little Oak Montessori School in White Salmon, where students do monthly service projects, Anson immediately knew what he wanted to do for his next project. Kristen and Anson 16 SUMMER 2018 : THE GORGE MAGAZINE

enlisted the help of Hood River’s Mountain View Cycles, with an eye toward collecting a few bikes and then distributing them to kids who didn’t have one. “Ten bikes was our goal,” Kristen said. Anson pitched his idea at Hood River’s Gorge Soup for Kids, an event where kids with a business idea or community initiative present it to an audience during a ticketed dinner. The audience votes and the winner gets the cash from the ticket sales to put toward their project. Anson won, taking home more than $1,000. “That’s when we realized how much traction there was in the community for this,” Kristen said. They used some of the money to advertise for their first bike drive, where they hoped to get some more donated bikes — knowing they now had money to buy parts to fix up used bikes. Held on a springtime Saturday in the parking lot of Cascade Commons, the drive was the catalyst that launched Anson’s Bike Buddies from a school project to a much bigger endeavor. “The response was overwhelming,” Kristen said. “We had piles and piles of bikes.” Jeff Pulk recalls some people driving up in trailers and unloading bikes to donate. “There were all kinds of different bikes from all kinds of different people,” he said. In all, they collected more than 200 bikes that day. That was more than two years ago. Anson’s Bike Buddies is now a Hood River-based nonprofit with board members, work parties, a donation network, and a bike storage warehouse where, as the organization prepared for a busy summer, there were more than 100 bikes to sort through, part out and fix up. “We’re filling about 20 designated requests a month,” Kirsten said on a recent evening when some volunteers gathered at the warehouse to assess and inventory the stockpile of bikes. The requests come from a network of organizations, including The Next Door’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge, Helping Hands Against Violence, schools and even area orchardists who have reached out to get bikes for the kids of their seasonal workers. “We get a steady stream of requests,” Kristen said. Anson’s Bike Buddies has partnered with Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital in Hood River and Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The

Anson Pulk, opposite inset, stands amid donated bikes in the warehouse of Anson’s Bike Buddies and, opposite top, examines a bike with his dad, Jeff Pulk. Anson’s mom, Kristen Campbell, above, and Bjorn Swanson, 7, help sort bikes at a recent work party.

Dalles to provide helmets to go with each bike given away. Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair in Hood River donates locks for each bike. Work parties — known as “wrench parties” — happen about once a month at the organization’s warehouse behind Cascade Eye Center. Jeff Pulk is an optometrist there, and the business donates the space to Anson’s Bike Buddies. Smaller work sessions happen periodically, such as when an organization asks to help out as a service project. Jeff Craven, manager and mechanic at Mountain View Cycles, heads up repair of the donated bikes. “He’s the heart and soul of getting the bikes running,” Kristen said. “He’s a magician.” A handful of bike mechanics from other shops also frequently show up at the wrench parties. “We have this upper echelon of some really skilled mechanics,” Kristen added. The wrench parties also bring out a cadre of volunteers who just want to help get bikes to kids. One of them is Van Miley, who Kristen calls the MVP of the wrench parties for his dedication and enthusiasm. A self-described “bike fanatic,” Miley has been involved with Anson’s Bike Buddies from the get-go. “As older adults, we can all remember when we got our first bike,” he said, recalling the freedom having his own bike gave him as a kid. “It’s trying to keep that stoke alive for all kids. It’s pretty awesome to help make this happen.” Donated bikes run the gamut from expensive, full-suspension models to broken-down bikes that have probably sat unused in someone’s garage for a while. Anson’s Bike Buddies takes them all. If a bike can’t be repaired, Craven and other volunteers take off parts to use on other bikes. Along with the steady work of collecting bikes, fixing them and getting them to kids, Anson’s Bike Buddies has recently partnered with the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles, a community

health initiative that works to make changes that lead to healthier options for community members. Bike Buddies had a repair station at a recent Blue Zones “bike rodeo,” and also brought some bikes to give away. Kristen said they’re working with Blue Zones coordinators on a plan to create “bike trains,” where designated bike leaders would ride around neighborhoods, picking up kids to ride to school. “There’s a lot we’d like to do,” Kristen said, including eventually providing bikes to adults who need them — for transportation or simply to be able to ride with their kids — and helping get kids out riding on trails in the area. “There’s so much potential,” she added. For his part, Anson, now 11, is matter-of-fact about the project that grew from a simple conversation with his parents. “After I won the Gorge Soup, that helped,” he said, reflecting on the initial bike drive. “Being in the newspaper really helped.” Anson said he also came up with the idea of announcing bike drives on the radio. “It feels really good when you fix up a bike and then it’s all working,” he said. Two years in to the project that has taken on a life of its own, Kristen is still amazed both by the continual need and the outpouring of help. “There is so much need in the Gorge, and so much willingness,” she said. Earlier this year, Anson’s Bike Buddies surpassed 500 bikes given away to kids in the Gorge. “This really has very little to do with us and everything to do with this amazing community,” Kristen said. “We’re just the conduit.” Anson’s Bike Buddies is always looking for volunteer help. For more information, including donation sites in Hood River and The Dalles, go to or Anson’s Bike Buddies on Facebook.

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Hood River · The Dalles THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SUMMER 2018



Mt. Adams Bike Tour


The 16th Annual Mt. Adams Country Bicycle Tour takes place on the beautiful southern slopes of Mount Adams on June 30. The event includes four ride options: the 11 and a half-mile Family Friendly ride; the 51-mile Trout Lake-to-BZ Corner-to-Glenwood Loop; the 54-mile Forest Loop; and the 105-mile Infinity Ride. All rides include well-stocked rest stops, lunch and dinner options as well as repair support, radio coverage and emergency teams. The tour is a fundraiser that supports charities and service organizations in Trout Lake.

Trailhead Ambassadors


This summer, friendly volunteers will be available at the more popular trails in the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood National Forest to answer questions and help ensure hikers know what to expect on their trek. Volunteer trailhead ambassadors will be at Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, Dog Mountain, Cape Horn, Trillium Lake and other trails. In addition to answering questions about trail conditions, the ambassadors will promote responsible hiker ethics like “Leave No Trace” and steer people to, an online resource to help visitors plan their hiking trips to the Gorge.

Maryhill Winery Concerts


Maryhill Winery’s popular Summer Concert Series brings a stellar line-up to the eastern Gorge amphitheater. This year’s concerts include Chris Isaak on June 16, Michael Franti and Spearhead on June 17, and Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite on Aug. 25. The destination winery’s 4,000-seat amphitheater is situated on a sloping lawn above the Columbia River, offering sweeping views of the dramatic eastern Gorge and the surrounding estate vineyards.

Courtesy of Maryhill Winery



Music Mondays


Mike’s Ice Cream in Hood River hosts live music every Monday this summer, from 7 to 9 p.m. The family-friendly music nights aim to bring families downtown during the long summer evenings. Home-town favorite Tony Smiley kicks things off July 2. Every Monday through August will see family-friendly bands and acts aimed at getting little and big kids dancing.

Blues & Brews

Fruit Loop


The Hood River County Fruit Loop celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Fruit Loop, a 35-mile route around the Hood River Valley, was created to promote sustainable agricultural diversity in Hood River County. The 28 members include farm stands, wineries, cideries, berry farms and more. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, visit 10 farms stands, get your map stamped and take home a beautiful market bag. Information and maps are available at locations throughout the Gorge and online.


The 25th Annual Gorge Blues & Brews Festival returns to the central Gorge June 22-23 at Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson. Live bands play Friday night and all day Saturday on two stages. Local and regional craft breweries, wineries and cideries will be on hand, as well as multiple food vendors. Onsite camping is available by reservation.




Paddle Challenge


The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge takes place Aug. 18-19 at Waterfront Park in Hood River. The popular event has become one of the premier stand-up paddleboard races in the world, attracting elite SUP racers as well as recreational paddlers from around the U.S. and abroad. Races include a downwinder, a course race and a team relay. The event also features SUP exhibits and demos, lessons and live music.

Matt Werbach



Jennifer Gulizia

Roy Webster Cross Channel Swim


This year marks the 75th Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim. The annual event takes place on Labor Day, Sept. 3. Participants board the sternwheeler Columbia Gorge on the Columbia River’s south shore and are ferried to the Washington shore where they jump off the boat and swim 1.1 miles back to Hood River. Volunteers in boats, kayaks and paddleboards line the route to help guide and protect swimmers.

Jon Huey

Maryhill Windwalk


The second annual Maryhill Windwalk takes place Aug. 31-Sept. 2 on the Maryhill Loops Road in the eastern Gorge. The festival brings competitive skateboarders and street lugers from around the country to race on the two-mile downhill road, through more than 20 challenging turns. The festival is spectator-friendly, with a jumbosized screen near the finish line along with a vendor village featuring food, beverages and local arts and crafts.

Mt. Adams Book Launch


A launch party and book signing by Darryl Lloyd for his new book, Ever Wild: A Lifetime on Mount Adams, is Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. at Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. Lloyd, who grew up on a ranch at the base of the mountain, has spent seven decades exploring the mountain, observing the ebb and flow of its glaciers, wandering its lush meadows and old-growth forests, hiking boulder-strewn slopes, scaling icefalls — and photographing all of it along the way. Leaders in diverse scientific disciplines regard Lloyd as an expert on Mount Adams. Ever Wild is a mix of adventure memoir and enlightening doses of human history, geography, geology, botany and a call for protection.

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More Than Just an Herb Garden

Talia and Dave Hammond cultivate organic herbs on a historic homestead site



tanding amid the rows of herbs at Jean Marie’s Garden, with the only sound that of the breeze rustling the surrounding trees, it’s easy to feel the history of this place. It was an unlikely homestead in the late 1800s, a hard slog up a steep, rutted road outside White Salmon that today requires four-wheel-drive in places even in late spring. Perhaps it was the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, with snowcapped Mount Hood in the distance, which enticed those first settlers. Maybe it was the solitude. Or possibly it was simply an available chunk of land they could call their own, among others already claimed. Whatever the impetus, the original homesteaders found a rare wide, flat parcel amid the otherwise steep and rugged forestlands of Nestor Peak. They cleared it and built a house. As owners and hard times came and went over the decades, parts of the original 200 acres were sold off. The remaining 12 and a half acres — including much of the flat homestead site — went up for sale three years ago.


Enter Talia and Dave Hammond. The couple had been living at the base of Nestor Peak for years, near the White Salmon River that had brought them together. They’d explored up the county road that led to the property many times. “We’d just go up there and enjoy life,” Talia says. Within a day of the property being listed for sale, Talia made the owner an offer and it was accepted. Buying the property was the culmination of a long search for farmland in the area, and the beginning of the realization of the Hammonds’ dream of having a farm of their own. “Dave and I have always been really into food and growing things organically,” Talia says. She grew up on an Iowa pig farm, where her mother had a huge garden that Talia spent summers helping tend. “We had 80 tomato plants,” she recalls. “We had a farm-sized garden.”

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WELCOME TO THE HOOD I came to windsurf, sail, kayak and ski, Smitten by the landscape and community. C



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Talia and Dave Hammond and their children, Mabel and Norman, opposite, work at their herb farm, Jean Marie’s Garden, near White Salmon. They grow more than 30 varieties of organic herbs.

After college, Talia moved to New York where she became interested in wine. After a stint in Europe, including working for a winemaker in Germany, she moved to the Willamette Valley to work in the wine industry. After attending a winemaker’s event in Joseph, Ore., Talia’s truck broke down in Hood River on her way home, forcing her to stay for a couple of days while it got fixed. “I picked up some brochures and decided to go rafting,” she says. As it happened, Dave, a former professional wildwater kayaker, was her rafting guide. “Dave’s boss said, ‘In a year, you’ll be living out of a tent in our back yard,’” Talia says. “And I was.” The couple eventually bought a lot near the former Northwestern Lake where they began building successively larger structures, including a small barn, a woodshed and eventually a house, which Dave — a jack-of-all-trades — built singlehandedly from reclaimed wood and insulated with lambs wool. “Our goal was to build a house that can return to the earth when we’re done,” Talia says. Talia, a jack-of-all-trades in her own right, continued to pursue her passion for wine after moving to the Gorge, completing the Enology Certificate Program at Washington State University and going to work at AniChe Cellars in Underwood, where she is now a winemaker. Years ago, she also was introduced to an herbalist in the area whom she accompanied on “herb walks,” learning to identify plants and herbs and their medicinal uses. “It really sparked an interest in herbs in me,” says Talia, who ended up studying at the School of Traditional Western Herbalism in Portland (now known as Vital Ways). The more she studied herbs, the more she knew she wanted to grow them. When the Hammonds bought their land on Nestor Peak, it seemed the perfect place for a large-scale herb garden — a term they prefer over “farm,” even though the scope is closer to the latter. The couple named their venture Jean Marie’s Garden after Dave’s late mother. With the arrival of summer, the Hammonds are already well into the second season of their Herbal CSA. From April through December, CSA members receive monthly deliveries of hand-harvested, raw herbs, ranging from arnica and lemon balm to osha root and yarrow. Included in the deliveries are herbal craft kits that contain all the materials and instructions needed to

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Talia Hammond hosts tea tastings, tours and herbal workshops at the farm.

make products from that month’s herbs — such as salves, medicines, teas and cosmetics. To accompany each kit, Talia has made online video tutorials featuring her going through the steps of making the products — often with her young children Mabel and Norman, as well as chickens, turkeys and kittens meandering in and out. “The CSA is meant to be for someone who’s busy but wants to DIY,” says Talia. “And it’s also meant to be expandable. I include other ideas for those who want to go beyond.” As an herbalist, she sees herself as an educator. “The CSA is a way of educating people on what’s out there, on what you can do with different herbs.” In the same vein, the Hammonds host tea tastings and tours of Jean Marie’s Garden. Talia also teaches classes at White Salmon’s Wildcraft Studio School and at Vital Ways in Portland, and offers workshops at the farm. “When we started the farm, we threw a bunch of stuff at the wall and said, let’s see what sticks,” Talia says. “The education part is really sticking.” It’s symbiotic with being part of the farming community in the Gorge, which the Hammonds have found to be welcoming. “People are really open to helping each other and sharing secrets,” says Dave. When it comes to herb growing, Talia would like to capitalize on that open mindset. “I’m really open about sharing what we have going on and how we do it,” she says. Her dream is for more people to become aware of where their herbs come from, and for more people in the area to grow herbs. “The Gorge is a great place to grow a lot of different herbs. It’s similar to wine grapes — there are so many micro-climates that are good for growing different herbs.” She’d like to see the Gorge become known for its herbs. “Let’s become the herb capital,” she adds. “ There’s so much potential for that.” Along with the prime growing conditions, part of the Hammonds’ success is also the time, attention and hard work they put in to cultivating their herb garden. “Being a truly organic farmer is being a genuine steward of the land and really caring about the plants,” Talia says — both of which come naturally for her. Growing herbs for healing and improving people’s lives on the historic homestead site, where she can feel the good energy of its past, feels right. “When I’m up here alone, I make sure to thank the land,” Talia says. “I’m really grateful for it. Whoever lived here before loved it.” For more information — including ordering loose-leaf, organic herbs — go to


Harvesting for the Hungry


early half of the food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. goes to waste. Meanwhile, one in three people in the Gorge worry about where their next meal comes from. The Columbia Gorge Gleaning Project offers a simple solution to address hunger and food waste by connecting surplus fruits and vegetables from farms with food insecure (hungry) people. Here’s how it works: volunteers collect fresh fruits and vegetables that would normally go to waste from commercial orchards, vegetable farms, privately owned fruit trees and gardens. The majority of the rescued produce is donated to hunger relief groups like food pantries. Volunteers can take up to 50 percent of what they harvest home, and often the gleaning volunteers 26 SUMMER 2018 : THE GORGE MAGAZINE

The Columbia Gorge Gleaning Project tackles food insecurity and waste BY SARAH SULLIVAN AND LOUISA PAVLIK • PHOTOS COURTESY OF GORGE GROWN FOOD NETWORK

are those the project seeks to serve — low-income, food-insecure residents that need better access to fresh, healthy food. Every year, about 7 percent of planted fields in the U.S. are not harvested, although this number varies widely, occasionally reaching as much as 50 percent waste for certain crops. This is especially true in the Gorge. Just last year, the cherry market was flooded with a bumper crop, and it cost more to hire workers to harvest than to simply let the fruit fall. Hundreds of acres of cherries rotted on the ground. Last year, 60 volunteers rescued apples, kale, parsley, chestnuts, pears and berries that would have gone to waste from 13 local sites. One of the most gratifying gleans involved harvesting blueberries from Wilinda’s U-Pick in Hood River and delivering the bounty to the brave men and women fighting the Eagle Creek fire. Volunteers are eager to lend a hand. Jane Palmer, a retired nurse who worked in public health for more than 40 years, has helped with several gleans. “We know there are families throughout the Gorge that go to bed having missed a meal every day and this project makes a difference,” she said.

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Mary Ryan, an AmeriCorps member serving at St. Francis House, a youth center in Odell, participated in several gleans last year, too. Ryan shared the harvest with her students throughout the summer and fall. “It was an accomplishment to pick and share literally a ton of apples,” she said. “Normally, we get donations of pre-packaged pastries. At some point the kids started asking me for Asian pears, rather then the pastries. It was great to be able to send fresh produce home with families who might not otherwise have the means to buy fresh, local food.” People yearn to be connected to their food and know where it comes from, not just by shopping locally, but also by participating in a vibrant, connective and authentic food system. When gleaners are in the fields, they brainstorm ways to expand and improve the project. While digging carrots at one glean, volunteers discussed the possibility of gleans for new mothers who may want to harvest vegetables, then learn how to make homemade baby food. What about blueberry gleans with high school students who could then help deliver the fruit to seniors through Meals on Wheels? The possibilities seem endless. The Gleaning Project is just one of many programs that Gorge Grown Food Network manages in order to help build a resilient, inclusive food system that improves the health and well-being of the community. Hunger is complex and solving it requires digging in and getting our hands dirty. Want to help? If you have fruit trees or own a farm and are willing to donate fruit, nuts or vegetables, go to to register your garden, farm or orchard. You can also sign up to volunteer for upcoming gleans. Sarah Sullivan is executive director of Gorge Grown Food Network and Louisa Pavlik is food access and outreach assistant for the organization. COLUMBIA GORGE GLEANING PROJECT

The Columbia Gorge Gleaning Project was started in 2015 during a Ford Family Leadership Training Program in Hood River, and is now run by Gorge Grown Food Network. The goals of the project are to: • Reduce food waste • Provide a way for Gorge residents of all backgrounds to connect outdoors in a healthy, active way • Provide a safe and fun way to learn more about where food comes from, and how what we eat impacts our health

• Increase access to fresh, local food for those in need • Provide regular opportunities for civic engagement and reduce social isolation • Create community and solidarity across sectors, counties, and cultures to increase resilience in our community

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Volunteers with the Columbia Gorge Gleaning Project take part in gleans at the Trout Lake Farm, opposite, a private orchard, above left, and Wilinda’s Blueberry Patch, above right. The project gleaned from 13 sites throughout the Gorge last year.

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oe Vachon made it most of the way through college before he took the class that changed his life. He’d long before switched to a studio arts major from his original studies in graphic design at Southern Illinois University after realizing he didn’t like sitting in front of a computer. Then, during his senior year as he coasted toward graduation, he took an introductory course in blacksmithing. “It was like shaking hands with someone from the past,” Vachon says. When he told his dad about the class, Vachon found out that blacksmithing ran in his family. His great-grandfather had been a black-


smith, working as the chief mechanic at a logging rail yard in West Virginia during the first half of the 20th century, and running his own off-grid blacksmith/machine shop. His great-uncle also was a blacksmith, helping to produce liberty ships during World War II at Bath Iron Works in Maine. He also repaired the aluminum mast for an America’s Cup boat in the 1940s. “He was famous for straightening metal with heat,” Vachon says. Vachon took to blacksmithing immediately. After graduating, he found a job at a permaculture farm and educational homestead in New Hampshire, where he was hired as the resident blacksmith. There he expanded his blacksmithing skills as he made everything needed on the sustainable farm — from latches and hinges to tools, gates and oxen carts — and taught elementary blacksmithing to others. He also began making functional art pieces for local galleries. “I was reading a lot of old books and learning by doing,” he says. Vachon eventually moved on from the farm, spending a winter working at New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain Ski Resort and saving money to buy an old school bus, which he turned in to a mobile blacksmith shop that he could also live in.

Joe Vachon at work in his shop, opposite. Clockwise from top left, heating a billet of steel in the forge; an ancient Norse-inspired ax; a camp knife with “ripple” Damascas steel.

In another fortuitous twist of fate, Vachon had met Rob Hudson, a master bladesmith and one of the foremost knife makers in the country, while at the farm and they became fast friends. Vachon moved with his bus onto Hudson’s property for a time, where the master smith helped Vachon set up his mobile shop and became a mentor in the old ways of smithing. When Vachon’s bus was ready — complete with a workbench and forge that folded out of the back of the bus — he hit the road, planning to see the country and do some blacksmithing along the way. “It turns out it’s hard to find places to blacksmith,” he says. “It’s hard to be discreet — there’s smoke and it’s noisy.” He wound up in Quartzsite, Ariz., home to one of the largest flea markets in the country, and for several years spent winters there, creating and selling his wares. During the off months, he traveled around the West, exploring Colorado, California and Oregon. “I’d go as far out as I could and blacksmith for two weeks by myself,” he says. Then he’d find farmer’s markets and flea markets where he could sell his work. “I was really eager to compete with Chinese goods,” says Vachon, who became known as Joe the Blacksmith. “I wanted to make things people could afford. I was earning nothing, but it was important to me.” After five years of working the Quartzsite flea market, Vachon joined an organization that toured through Mexico and Guatemala, teaching sustainable practices and doing volunteer work in villages along the way. Vachon drove his bus — which he’d converted to run on waste vegetable oil — and taught blacksmithing. He met his partner, Michelle, on the trip, and the two returned to the U.S. together after six months. Michelle was finishing school at Portland State University, and Joe wound up in Portland with her. Vachon, who was out of his comfort zone in the city (“I was kind of freaking out,” he admits), and Michelle moved to Mosier in 2015, where they lived on some friends’ property. Last fall, they bought five acres near


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A billet of Damascus steel is twisted in a vise to create a beautiful pattern and a special cutting effect in the final knife blade, above left. A door knocker, middle. A Damascas steel kitchen knife in the early stage of the hand-forging process is heated in the forge, right.

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Goldendale where they’re still happily settling in. Vachon turned an old garage on the property into his blacksmith shop. “It’s such a blessing to have space and four walls,” he says. Vachon’s forge, which he built to run on used vegetable oil (obtained by the tankful from Mosier Company restaurant), sits in the center of the garage. Close by is his anvil. Neatly organized racks around the room contain all manner of new and scrap metals — from shiny ingots to old rebar — and dozens of blacksmithing tools, most of which he made. “As blacksmiths, we’re toolmakers,” he says. “We’re always making tools to make tools.” Vachon even has a tool handed down from his great-grandfather: a small anvil, which he’d made from a section of railroad track. “Making anvils from track is fairly common,” Vachon says. “But the one he made is quite exceptional.” Vachon uses it for working on smaller items. Taking up one corner of his shop is an imposing circa-1920 “crank actuated” power hammer, which once ran on steam but was retrofitted by Vachon with an electric motor. To demonstrate forging a simple tool — a meat hook turner — Vachon heats an old railroad spike in his forge at 2,000 degrees until it’s glowing yellow, then cranks up the power hammer for the initial rough shaping. Vachon turns the spike as the hammer steadily pounds it into a long point. He expertly adjusts the hammer speed with a foot pedal as he goes. The spike turns from yellow to red as it cools and becomes too hard to shape. Back into the forge it goes, and then the process of shaping it by hand begins. On his anvil, Vachon hand-hammers the spike, turning it rhythmically with one hand as he pounds with the other. From years of blacksmithing, the muscles in his forearms are unusually large and they bulge and flex with every turn and pound. After several re-heats in the forge and fine-tuning of the shape, Vachon heats it one last time and curls the pointed end of the spike on the horn of his anvil, hammering with a smaller tool to get it just right. Finally, he uses a steel brush to remove the “forge scale” and polish it. “Normally I would have three or four things in the fire at once,” Vachon says of his small-scale production work. He creates a wide range of products, from home, garden and shop tools to hardware to axes and knives. “I’m really into functional art and the basis of survival,” he says. Some of his work is dictated by what scrap metal he finds. “I used to only use scrap steel,” he says. “Now it’s about 50 percent. I realized as an artist it’s useful to have a variety.” Along with a number of products he makes from railroad spikes and used rebar, he’s made a hammer and other tools from an old drive shaft, knives from an old band saw and also from old buggy springs. A self-described scavenger, Vachon shows off a length of heavy chain he found at the site of a former blacksmith shop after it had burned down — turning it to admire the quality forging of the blacksmith who made it. More than a decade in to his life as Joe the Blacksmith, it’s hard to separate one from the other — and that’s fine with him. “There’s a sacred element to it — of being close to the earth, of being able to work with raw, natural elements and have an intimate connection to them,” says Vachon, who is inspired by the idea of the village blacksmith. “When I’m not blacksmithing, I’m reading formulas on steel, studying data on metal, watching You Tube videos on blacksmithing,” he says. “I just can’t get enough.” For more information, go to

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The River that Keeps on Giving With its glacial source, the White Salmon offers boaters a full summer of fun


pulled out at a moment’s notice. And staff was preparing to open the Wet Planet café with its menu of locally-sourced food and beverages, complete with seating for 120 — including on the huge, inviting deck. In other words, life is good at ground zero for Gorge whitewater adventures. “We always have something going on,” says Wet Planet co-owner Jaco Klinkenberg. “We have a lot of moving parts.” As Wet Planet Whitewater heads into its 16th season this summer, it’s become not only one of the old kids on the block but also the largest outfitter on the White Salmon River. The company runs trips on the White Salmon, the Wind River, the Klickitat, the Hood River, the Tieton River in the Yakama Valley and the Owyhee River. In addition, for the first time this summer, the company offers multi-day trips on the Main Salmon River in Idaho. Klinkenberg and her partner, Todd Collins, who met in the 1990s on a rafting trip in Utah that Collins was guiding, launched Wet Planet in 2002 after acquiring a rafting company in the same location


ith summer in the air on the banks of the White Salmon River, Wet Planet Whitewater’s headquarters in Husum, Wash., is abuzz with activity. On a recent Friday morning, guides were busy prepping one group of rafters headed to the Wind River and another for a trip on the White Salmon. Employees bustled between the outfitter’s two main buildings. The company’s store was stocked with t-shirts, hats and other memorabilia for visitors to browse. Rafts and kayaks were neatly stacked in and around the open garage out back, ready to be 32 SUMMER 2018 : THE GORGE MAGAZINE

Clockwise from above: a beginner kayaking class on the Klickitat River; lunch on the deck at Wet Planet; splashing through Farmlands on the White Salmon; fun on the Wind River.

that had been lying dormant. They cleaned up the ramshackle building, which was nearly obscured by blackberry bushes, and began running trips on the White Salmon. Collins gravitated to the on-river side of things while Klinkenberg worked the business side — a division of labor that continues. The two have grown the company steadily over the past decade-and-a-half. Along with their full guiding schedule, Wet Planet operates a whitewater kayak school, with classes for beginners and intermediate boaters as well as private and custom instruction options. It also has a river rescue school, providing several levels of courses and certifications for private boaters, professional river guides, searchand-rescue organizations and firefighters. And Wet Planet also operates several camps throughout the summer, including a kids kayak camp and custom youth camps as well as hosting Adventure Treks teen camps, and camps for First Descents, an organization that provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer. As a way to align their ethics with their business, Klinkenberg and Collins started the White Salmon River Fest in 2006. Designed to bring people together around the river to celebrate its intertwined importance as a natural resource, its cultural history and its recreational opportunities, the annual event has grown over the years into a three-day festival that includes a community service project, work parties, a river clean-up, kayak races, a symposium facilitated by the Yakama Nation Fisheries, and a community rafting trip. To keep all of Wet Planet’s moving parts moving, the company has more than 60 employees; about 40 are river guides and the rest are based in the company’s two adjacent buildings running the office, café and store and filling other vital roles like trip photographers, transportation to and from up-river put-ins and down-river take-outs, and even in-house graphic design.

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It’s a team Klinkenberg is proud of. “I tell our employees, you’re part of a real company,” she says. The staff takes pre-season trips together to get to know one another and facilitate team-building — which serves everyone well when rafting season goes into full swing. The White Salmon trips remain Wet Planet’s most popular. “It runs all the way through summer,” Klinkenberg says. “It’s unique to free-flowing rivers all around the country. Most rivers run out of water in July or August, but the White Salmon keeps on giving. It’s such an incredible blessing.” During the second half of summer, the White Salmon can be run all the way to its mouth at the Columbia River. In addition, the company is able to start the trip at Wet Planet’s upper put-in north of BZ Corner, making for an extra-long trip. The fullday trips stop for lunch at Wet Planet’s headquarters, where the guides also show a short film about the decommissioning of Condit Dam, which has made running the lower section of river possible. “It’s important to inform people,” Klinkenberg says. “People walk away having learned something about the river, the watershed, the dam and the salmon.” In addition, she says, they get to float through a new area right into the Co-

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Rafting through The Narrows on the Lower White Salmon, above left; a kayaking class on the Klickitat River.

lumbia with views of the kiteboarders and windsurfers. “And, you can do it in July and August when you can’t raft anywhere else,” she says. “It’s pretty amazing.” The ability to run the White Salmon all summer also presents challenges, and as increasing numbers of people come to raft the river each year, Wet Planet works hard to balance access, environmental sensitivity and crowds. “We have very strict policies that we operate within,” she says. Large groups are limited to seven boats, which travel as close together as is safely possible. When scheduling trips, Klinkenberg encourages people to do them during the week rather than on weekends. “It’s important to manage our presence well so as not to be a nuisance to other users,” says Klinkenberg, who has praise for the other outfitters on the river. “Over the last few years, we’ve all stepped up our game,” she says. “We all represent the whitewater community, and we need to do it in a professional manner.” Wet Planet’s professionalism and attention to detail is what’s gotten the company where it is today. But it’s her true love for the river and sharing it with others that keeps Klinkenberg going. “I love opening this world up to people who have never experienced it before,” she says. “People come in nervous, not sure what to expect, and they come off the river and are just blown away. That’s really rewarding.” For more information, go to

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Idiot’s Grace

New Mosier tasting room is firmly rooted in the winery’s terroir STORY BY DON CAMPBELL • PHOTOS BY KELLY TURSO


ou only know a winemaker by what is poured from his or her bottle — each being a little sealed capsule of creation, of time, place and particular influence. I am nose-deep in a glass of 2014 Idiot’s Grace cabernet franc, from one of the winery’s first plantings. Idiot’s Grace was spun off in 2010 as a second, or winemaker’s, label for Lyle, Wash.’s Memaloose Winery, on the scene since 2003. The Idiot’s Grace 50-plus acre site is a few short miles outside of Mosier, up Highway 30, on a gentle verdant slope near the Garnier Winery and its storied and elegant Mayerdale Estate and vast orchards, and Annie’s Apricot’s, whose trees at the moment are an explosion of buds and blossoms. It’s as lush and abundant a river-facing slope as any place on earth.

One sip of this wine and I am a bit heady and unsettled. This is nothing like any cab franc I have ever had. Its nose is deft and singular and resonant. On the tongue it hints at the land from which it comes — natural and warm, unfettered, 36 SUMMER 2018 : THE GORGE MAGAZINE

Winemaker Brian McCormick checks the vines in the Idiot’s Grace vineyard, opposite top, and pauses mid-ladder in the winery’s barrel room. Above, an antiqued aerial photo of the Mosier Hills in the tasting room shows where Idiot’s Grace is situated.

balanced and pure. And with the finish, you are firmly rooted in Idiot’s Grace vineyard, with your toes deep in the dirt. Memaloose Winery — named for the sacred Native American island visible in the middle of the Columbia River below Lyle — and Idiot’s Grace are a father-son (and family) endeavor, started in 2003 with several choice sites on both sides of the river. Rob McCormick, the business manager, is ambling toward retirement, leaving the winery operations in son Brian’s hands. We are on a piece of Mosier land home to a still-producing 75-year-old cherry and pear orchard. The bi-state estate winery will do 2,000 cases of blends and varietals in 2018, in a range of offerings that include cabernet franc, chenin blanc, dolcetto, sauvignon blanc, semillon, sangiovese and primitivo, amongst others, with distribution now in some eight states. Brian, who touches every vine, is a product of the University of California at Davis, and came up through Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley Winery. He has evolved a winemaking style that is at once religion and honest production. In other words, it is a beautiful thing. His wines are dry-farmed, certified organic, and employ a French technique called pied-de-couvre, which demands the use of naturally occurring yeasts found on wine skins, as opposed to adding commercial yeasts. Some grapes are plucked a week or so before harvest and the yeasts native to this terroir therein are allowed to grow, then inoculated back into the harvest. Talk about stiff-shot infusion of a strong sense of place.


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Idiot’s Grace and its 50-plus acres includes a 75-year-old cherry and pear orchard along with the winery, vineyard and tasting room.

Since his college days, Brian has been on a quest to produce loweralcohol wines, less in-your-face and more in-your-soul. “We’re not here to do impressions,” he says. “We have a strong sense of what we do. We could try to impose our egos, but we want a true expression. We owe it to future generations to stay true.” In other words, more care goes into what happens in the vineyard than what happens in the production room. Brian’s goal is to listen to who they are as a winery through the voice of the grapes. If it sounds a bit mystical, it is. And the results will stun you. Wanting to move away from higher-alcohol wines, Brian and his family — never far from gourmet cooking and wine complements — moved north and, steering clear of the pinot noir-heavy Willamette Valley where he had friends, found his happy place in Mosier, with its confluence of good dirt, good climate and the influence of wineries that include Cascade Cliffs, Maryhill and Mt. Hood Winery. “A place has a taste,” he says easily, and with Idiot’s Grace, place is in full production. “All the pieces are here now.” That includes a new 6,500-square-foot full tasting room and wineproduction facility, opened in early April this year. It has enabled Brian and his crew to travel less frequently to the Lyle/Memaloose sites, saving time. The building sits in the middle of the vineyard, enabling visitors to feel what’s going on around them. The winery offers the use of picnic baskets and blankets for

WA Tasting Room Magazine

The winery’s new production facility includes a crush pad, above. Anne Riedl, below, is tasting room and wine club manager.

those wanting to take their lunch and wine out onto the property, with its blocs of varietals, fruit trees and the occasional fallow patch that remains so in the interest of sustainability and pest control. Trevor Hertrich, sales and marketing director, came here by way of his experiences of being a sommelier and wine buyer in Denver and Boise. He became aware of Mosier’s nearby Analemma Winery, packed up and moved, as he says, “closer to the dirt.” He walks us through the production area, built into the hillside to take advantage of gravity in the flow of the winemaking process. They use large-barrel fermentation, which lends itself better to creating that natural, organic resonance in these wines. Inside the barrel room, the aroma

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The Idiot’s Grace vineyard is dry-farmed and certified organic. Brian McCormick makes both Idiot’s Grace and Memaloose wines, which can all be found at the new Mosier tasting room.

can knock one over, it is so earthy, delicate and arousing. We amble out into the vineyard. “Nature,” he waxes, “will tell you what to do.” They use natural juniper posts from Central Oregon in the vineyards and other sustainable practices. One of Brian’s two sons wrangles the U-pick fruit orchard operation in the summer. Things are abuzz on this bluebird morning, boding well for the impending season at Idiot’s Grace. They will bottle 12 wines, nine under the IG label. Wine club membership is strong. The tasting room is fully operational, as a troupe of tasters wanders in to a spread of olives, cheese and a sampling of wine that will likely curl their toes.

Wine is, I learn from Brian and Trevor, a natural product that doesn’t come naturally. It is a complex process where a lot can go wrong. But in the right hands, a lot can go sublimely right, especially when you’re working hard to capture the taste of a place like this. Sometimes, it’s good to be an Idiot. The Grace follows after the first sip. For more information, go to Don Campbell is a writer and musician. He lives in Mosier and Portland and is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.




THE NEXT GENERATION OF WASHINGTON WINE can be found in the heart of the incredible Columbia Gorge. Five amazing wineries only 75 breathtaking minutes east of Portland.

For individual winery info: WINERIES OF LYLE.COM




Stay and Taste at Hood River Inn The Guest Wine Tasting Pass features some of the most prized wineries in the Gorge, all represented on Riverside’s wine list. Complimentary or discounted tastings are available at 13 local tasting rooms during the dates of stay. A stamped pass also earns diners a 25 percent discount on a local bottle of wine when redeemed at Riverside or Cebu Lounge with a meal purchase. Riverside is notable for its distinct menus featuring all-natural and local ingredients. The restaurant’s award-winning wine list includes more than 200 total selections to complement Chef Mark DeResta’s menus, and both menu and wine list are also available in Cebu Lounge. Courtesy of Hood River Inn

For several years the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn has been well regarded for its quality wine focus, primarily through its onsite restaurant, Riverside, and its award-winning wine list and exclusive guest Wine Tasting Pass.

Riverside created a house wine program nearly 10 years ago with assistance from master blender Rich Cushman as a strategy to offer quality, affordable local wine by the glass or carafe. The popular program has since become a strong piece of the hotel’s overall sustainability plan, saving close to 15,000 bottles from recycling since 2009. Riverside’s wine list has earned national recognition for seven years running with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The award is bestowed on restaurants whose wine lists present “a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” according to Wine Spectator. Riverside has also received honors from the Oregon Wine A-List program since its inception four years ago. It was the Columbia Gorge/Mt. Hood Regional Spotlight winner in 2017, the pinnacle of the award co-sponsored by Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Wine Press magazine. The A-List provides consumer guidance on restaurants featuring broad, diverse Oregon selections. Before the A-List awards, the restaurant enjoyed several accolades for its wine list, including the Superior Cellar or Outstanding Oregon Wine List awards for many years running. Riverside continues to focus on quality selections from both local and regional Oregon and Washington wineries. For more detailed information, go to


S uperb summer sipping

Wine Tasting Tips

finely crafted wines, mountain & vineyard views


Gorge wineries and tasting rooms vary in their hours and days of operation. Call ahead if you’re planning to visit with a large group.

Mt. Hood Winery Wine tasting daily from 11 am to 5 pm


Dress appropriately, especially if you plan a vineyard picnic or tour. DON’T WEAR FRAGRANCES

Perfume and cologne can interfere with the subtle aromas in wine.

2016 - Oregon Winery of the Year / Oregon Wine of the Year - 2014 Pinot Noir, W ine Pr ess Northwest 5 4 1 . 3 8 6 . 8 3 3 3 / 2882 Van Horn Dr. Hood River, Oregon / /


Some wineries charge a fee for tastings. Some will waive fees with a purchase. TASTING TIPS

Generally, white wines are tasted first, followed by red wines and then dessert wines. It’s okay to skip any of the wines on a tasting list by politely declining. If you’re genuinely interested in purchasing a particular wine, it’s okay to ask for a second taste. WHAT TO DO

Swirling the wine in your glass helps aerate the wine’s many aromas. When tasting, hold the glass by the stem rather than the bowl as holding it by the bowl can disturb the temperature of the wine. Inhale before taking a sip to appreciate the wine’s aromas. Likewise, swirl the wine around in your mouth once you sip to coat all the surfaces. HIP TO SPIT

You don’t have to drink all the wine in your glass. Toss the unwanted wine into the dump bucket provided for this purpose.

Award winning wines, friendly staff, bocce courts, picnic and pet friendly. Come see us! Corporate Outings, Rehearsal Dinners, Retirement Parties, Weddings and Other Special Events


Don’t try to visit too many wineries in one day. Know your limit and stop when you reach it.

welcoming tasting room & patio 5.5 scenic miles south of hood river on hwy 35


This will ensure your wine tasting adventure is fun and safe for you and others.

Elements Studios

541.386.1277 / Open Daily 11-5 or so







A FLOOD, A FIX AND A PATENT HAVE LED TO A HOOD RIVER NON-PROFIT’S INSPIRING EFFORT TO MODERNIZE CRUMBLING IRRIGATION SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN UNITED STATES he first week of February 1996 was not unusual. A deep freeze wrenched down on the valley, cracking water pipes, icing slow-moving streams, and solidifying the heavy snowfall that had blanketed the area a week prior. But on Feb. 6, the jet stream shifted and a Pineapple Express bore down on the Columbia Gorge, carrying warm South Pacific clouds dripping with moisture. The deluge was so sudden that for a while the runoff flowed atop ice layers in frozen-over irrigation canals. But soon the ice and snow melted, unleashing one of the largest floods in the Gorge’s history down the Hood River Valley’s steep natural plumbing system.

One hundred mudslides were reported in the Portland area. A 50,000-ton mudslide closed I-84 east of Troutdale, and smaller slides shut down the freeway east of Hood River. Highways 35, 26 and 14 closed, as well. Most of the Gorge was in lock-down with no way in or out for almost 24 hours. Eventually the rain stopped. The streams and rivers drained into the Columbia, revealing the catastrophic damage to the valley’s vital irrigation system. In this case, the adage “necessity breeds invention” bore out, and a few savvy locals developed a replacement system that not only saved the 1996 growing season, but is now poised to reshape irrigation and water use throughout the West.



Visit our

Tasting Room

TASTE SHOP ENJOY! OPEN DAILY 12 - 6 304 Oak St., Suite 3, Hood River, OR 541-716-5276 2018 Hood River Distillers, Inc. Hood River, Oregon USA, Stay in control.®

Making History Come Alive…

VISIT OUR HISTORIC Hood River Photo Blog: DISCOVER culture and history through fresh, engaging exhibits, and exciting programs EXPLORE hands-on activities and educational displays for families and children of all ages

300 East Port Marina Drive • Hood River • 541-386-6772 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter OPEN: Monday-Saturday, 11am-4pm



Les Perkins, above, manager of Farmers Irrigation District, at the Dead Point Farmers Screen and, below left, at a decades-old irrigation canal. Below right, Perkins and staff at Dead Point. Previous page, Pete Siragusa’s pear orchard benefits from modernization efforts by the FID.


n 1996 Les Perkins had just graduated from college and begun working as a microbiologist at Wyeast Laboratories in Odell. He remembers biking out to the Middle Fork of the Hood River and seeing a mess of blown-out bridges and scattered debris. Perkins grew up in the upper valley, his dad a metal fabricator and his grandparents farmers and loggers. He’d always been fascinated by the irrigation canals contouring along the hillsides, especially in the mid-80s when hydropower was installed, allowing the irrigation water to generate electricity en route to farms, orchards and the Columbia River. The districts that managed the irrigation canals in the valley were household names. “It’s a little tribal here,” Perkins says. “If you lived in Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) you were proud of your water. It was pressurized, clean and rates were low. Farmers was a good one, too.” Perkins is now manager of the Farmers Irrigation District (FID) that serves over 6,000 acres of farm and orchard land in the northwest corner of the Hood River Valley. “There have been open ditches in this valley for well over a hundred years,” Perkins says. “Our current irrigation canal routes were dug by hand using mules and Chinese labor in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and some of them were originally log flumes. Reservoirs like Kingsley were mill ponds that gathered felled trees to be milled or sent down flumes to mills on the valley floor.” Farmers often dug a narrow channel leading from a creek to their downhill fields so a portion of the creek water flowed out of its native channel and to the farm. Growers installed small pumps and diversion screens to keep debris from clogging their irrigation ditches. It wasn’t all Wild West free-forall, though. In 1874 the Water Supply Company of Hood River Valley formed to irrigate 1,000 acres. In 1905 the Hood River Irrigation District took over and expanded to 5,275 acres, and a year later the Farmers Irrigation Company organized to sell water rights shares to growers. A few late summer water shortages led to the construction of reservoirs in the upper basin. By the 1920s most water rights had been adjudicated to landowners. And that was it. Not much changed over the remainder of the 20th century. The irrigation system plodded along in open ditches that gathered debris, trash, and runoff and needed to be constantly monitored and cleaned. The trenches leaked like sieves. Fish would get confused, take a wrong turn at a diversion canal and swim up a ditch, never to return to their native river. Then the ’96 flood ripped everything to shreds, leaving in its wake panic and a massive opportunity. The Farmers Screen allows fast-moving water to pass through, carrying fish and debris back into the river, while a specialized weir lets slow-moving water fall into the irrigation canal, above. Below, water flows down a stream from the pass-through at Dead Point.

“That’s when the FID went to the agencies and said, we want to try something different,” says Perkins. “Jerry Bryan, the manager of the Farmer’s Irrigation District at the time, and his climbing buddies, the Hukari brothers, along with FID employees and other farmers within the district, designed a prototype for a new diversion fish screen.” They had a few months to fix the problem before growers would need summer irrigation water. Bryan and the Hukaris’ screen was simple but revolutionary. The horizontal design funneled fast-moving water down one side while a weir captured slow-moving water into a parallel trough. The fast-moving water would flow unimpeded back into the native river channel, carrying fish and debris with it, while the slow-moving

water would lag behind and be diverted into the irrigation channel. It allowed for safe passage of fish back into the native stream and it required no maintenance to clear debris. Bryan and the team built a hydraulic lab in a grower’s barn and tweaked the design. They installed more screens. By 2003 they had settled on the final product, the Farmers Screen.


ete Siragusa bought a 100-year-old pear and cherry orchard on the steep slopes above the West Fork of the Hood River in the late 1990s. He’d worked in ag sales around the west before settling into orchard life with his family. Siragusa grows 25 acres. His irrigation channel travels about a mile from snowmelt diversions up high. “When I first started here, the water came down an open ditch,” he says. “There was continuous maintenance. Water would just stop flowing and we never knew what happened. I’d have to drop everything and take the four-wheeler up to assess the damage along the canal.” Siragusa’s problem was every farmer’s problem. They were relying on a century-old plumbing system that had no roof to protect it. The Farmers Screen proved to be the linchpin to a system-wide overhaul. The screen allowed for reliable flow to growers but also consistent current into the irrigation system’s hydropower stations, meaning more revenue for the district and less labor and maintenance costs because they no longer needed 24/7 patrols of clogged diversion screens. With more revenue, the district could install enclosed pipes in the old ditches. “Now that we have the pipe,” says Siragusa, “I don’t even think about water anymore. That whole problem of worrying about the ditch being blocked is gone.”

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MOSIER $738,000: Mt. Adams/River View from this Custom Ranch home in the hills of Mosier. House totally renovated and enlarged in 2002 with quality & craftsmanship in mind. Mountain & river views from the living, dining, kitchen areas and the woods is the focus elsewhere. Features: cherry, granite, heated floors, gas appliances & more. RMLS 18474415

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The success snowballed. The old ditches lost 50 percent of their capacity to leaks. More pipes meant 50 percent more water into the turbines, yielding more revenue. More revenue allowed the district to centralize its pumping into one main pump, which took 1,400 small pumps offline, saving 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year. With clean, pressurized water coming from one centralized pump, farmers like Siragusa could switch to micro sprinkler systems that are more efficient, leaving even more water in the irrigation system for fish, hydro and growers during droughts. “Our flow is dead-on steady,” Perkins says. “That’s a huge selling point for farmers and for hydro because consistent flow means consistent revenue. It handles the debris, too. We now use half the water as we did 30 years ago for the same 6,000 acres. In 30 years our hydro has earned almost $50 million, all of which stays in the district to pay to pipe nearly 70 miles and

Modernizing irrigation systems allows farmers to install efficient micro sprinklers, left. Julie O’Shea, right, is executive director of the FCA, which is expanding into a larger office due to its growth.

do upgrades. Combined, FID and MFID generate about 18 percent of the county’s power needs.” Jerry Bryan and the FID team knew the Farmers Screen was a game changer. But they weren’t out to cash in personally. The screen had been developed for the public good so when they applied for a patent in the early 2000s, they assigned the patent to Farmers Irrigation District. Seeing the potential for widespread application of the screen, Bryan and FID created the Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), a non-profit entity tasked with marketing the Farmers Screen to other districts. They hired Julie O’Shea as FCA’s executive director.

Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. For use only by adults twenty-one years of age or older. Keep marijuana out of the reach of children.



Experience Skamania County, Washington! CARSON HOT SPRINGS RESORT & SPA Enjoy the benefits of our mineral rich water by soaking in our public pool or private tub, get a massage, golf, dine, or stay the night for the ultimate spa experience. 509-427-8296 372 St. Martin Springs Rd. • Carson

RIVER DRIFTERS Perfect for families, groups, and friends with trips for all ages and abilities. Guided rafting on the White Salmon, Deschutes, Clackamas Rivers, and more! Last minute reservations okay. For updates and specials follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 800-972-0430 •

BRIDGESIDE Fast, friendly family dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus spectacular views of the Gorge and Bridge of the Gods. Burgers • Sandwiches • Salads • Soups Baskets • After 5 menu • Desserts Gift shop • Historic artifacts 541-374-8477 • 745 NW Wa Na Pa St. • Cascade Locks

BEST WESTERN PLUS COLUMBIA RIVER INN Stunning views, spacious guestrooms on the Columbia River at the Bridge of the Gods. Close to waterfalls and outdoor activities. Complimentary hot breakfast, pool, spa, fitness room. 541-374-8777 • 800-595-7108 735 WaNaPa St. • Cascade Locks

SKAMANIA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 167 NW Second Avenue, Stevenson, WA 98648 • 800-989-9178 •

It took years for O’Shea and the small FCA team to address endangered species concerns for fish, finally resulting in federal approval for the Farmers Screen in 2011. Since then FCA has evolved into much more than a distributor and evangelist for the Farmers Screen. “In Oregon we have roughly 70,000 diversion points for irrigation,” O’Shea says. “In the western states there are about a million. Eighty percent of our diverted water goes to irrigated agriculture. If those diversions don’t have a functional fish or debris screen, all the debris gets clogged in this system, along with millions of fish being trapped. “We were out talking to farmers and irrigation districts about installing the Farmers Screens, but we realized that these irrigation systems are 100 years old. We started our Irrigation Modernization Program to advise irrigation districts on full-scale modernization and then we advocate for funding, which can be hundreds of millions of dollars.” Thanks to success in the field and subsequent grants, FCA went from

four to 25 employees in the last two years. It is currently expanding into the old Sheppard Building in downtown Hood River. “Our success is because we build solutions that benefit both ag and the environment,” O’Shea says. “People think we’re audacious and bold but we’re working toward some serious goals.” Siragusa’s orchard sits just downstream of the main diversion point for FID — a diversion blown out by the 1996 flood. Back then, FID was just another irrigation district working with old plumbing. Now it’s a working example of how modernization can save water, fish, farms and growers. “We’re one of the most progressive water districts in the West,” Siragusa says. “It started out as a fix for our problems but now they’re taking it down the road to solve other people’s problems. We’re proud of that.” David Hanson is a writer, photographer and video producer based in Hood River. Find his editorial and commercial work at and weddings at THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SUMMER 2018


Experience Skamania County, Washington! MARTIN’S GORGE TOURS Guided tours for individuals, groups, families, or couples. Including waterfalls, wildflowers, wineries, breweries, trail hikes, scenic drives and more. Sit back and relax as we explore the hidden treasures of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. 503-349-1323

CARSON RIDGE LUXURY CABINS Rejuvenate at our romantic getaway cabins. Soak in a spa tub with lavender bath salts. Enjoy a relaxing in-cabin massage. Dream it and we’ll work to deliver it. 509-427-7777 • 1261 Wind River Rd. • Carson



Home Performance Specialists Mark Hughey, Owner

Rural property and view homes on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Expertise, integrity, passion for the beauty of the Gorge.

Verifying: ENERGY STAR Homes, Duct Leakage Tests, Air Leakage Tests, WA St. Energy Code Certification, Oregon Code Compliance 509-494-9220 •


360-253-1120 • Dan and Kathy Huntington Windermere/Crest Realty


A family owned portable restroom and septic service based in The Dalles, OR, we service the entire Columbia River Gorge and beyond. Available 24/7. We provide the best products and units the industry has to offer!

Brad Lorang fabricates his art and architectural works from steel, copper and bronze. Visit his studio by appointment. His wife Debora is also an artist who’s muse is found and natural objects. Their eclectic property displays a combination of their talents.

541-298-2727 • 541-993-8668

503-360-2866 • Cascade Locks



Beautiful view & excellent service! Organic coffee, breakfast items, daily lunch specials and frozen custard desserts. GF & vegan options. Take a photo with our friendly Giant BigFoot! 509-427-0095 • 210 NE Lutheran Church Rd. • Stevenson East end of town - off Highway 14

Local passes available for Gorge residents for this popular, long-running bluegrass festival. Thu-Sun, July 26-29. Use website below to receive day and weekend pass discounts. Skamania Co. Fairgrounds Stevenson 509-427-3980

SKAMANIA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 167 NW Second Avenue, Stevenson, WA 98648 • 800-989-9178 •

CARSON HARDWARE Discover helpful and friendly employees who will help you with any project. We offer seasonal and camping items. Forgot a towel? We have it. Need a sleeping bag? We have you covered. Or just sit back and rest awhile on our porch.


AT CARSON HOT SPRINGS RESORT Golf the driest course in the Northwest! According to reviews, “a must play course” with amazing views from almost every hole. Only a short 45 min drive from the Portland/Vancouver.

509-427-8320 • Find us on Facebook 961 Wind River Rd. • Carson

509-427-0127 372 St. Martin Springs Rd. • Carson



Fly with us on a fully guided Zip Line tour through the beautiful Douglas Fir trees along side the mighty Columbia River. Or for the braver souls be a tree ninja and test your skills while traversing a variety of challenging elements in our new Aerial Park.

The first human imprints in the Gorge were left by the Indian cultures that flourished here for thousands of years. Explore the natural and cultural history of this beautiful region. Open daily 9-5.

509-427-0202 •

CROSSCUT ESPRESSO & DELI Amazing Coffee and specialty drinks; lovely tea; great food; baked goods made in-house; GF and vegetarian options. Drive-thru or sit-down — free WIFI. 509-427-4407 1252 Wind River Hwy. • Carson

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WINDMILL PHYSIO What is your mountain to conquer? Whether it is pain recovery or preparing to summit Mt. Adams, we can help you reach your goals. Restoring your musculoskeletal health and reaching your next level of performance is where we excel. 541-760-2083 • Stevenson



Book your next event at Cape Horn Estate! 4+ beautiful acres and indoor spaces including a kitchen available for weddings, corporate events, family reunions and private parties. Catering and bar service available.

Serving fresh, delicious, made-toorder sandwiches and salads.

503-307-0333 • 81 Woodard Creek Rd. • Stevenson


Fast, friendly service and healthy fresh-fit choices. 509-427-0035 • 220 SW Second St. • Stevenson

SKAMANIA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 167 NW Second Avenue, Stevenson, WA 98648 • 800-989-9178 •



was riding up the steep, winding curves east of Mosier on Highway 30, heading to the Memaloose Overlook, when I had my first electric bike moment. I was pedaling, and I was also flying. Uphill. Around curves. A giddy thrill rose inside me, and it came out my mouth in a throaty half-yell, half-scream. I clicked up through some gears as I crested the last hill and the road flattened out. I peered at the single file line of riders in front of me for any sign they were experiencing what I was, but all I could see was my fellow riders’ backs. Then I glanced behind me. My friend Chrissy was laughing hysterically, her legs splayed wide to each side of her bike, cruising on electric power alone as she crested the hill. This was my first extended ride on an electric bike. I had tried out my neighbor’s e-bike, cruising up and down our block a couple of times. But I wanted to go for a longer ride, and also see what a local e-bike tour was all about, so I joined a tour with Hood River’s Sol Rides. Launched last year by Charlie Crocker, Sol Rides is the only e-bike tour company in the Gorge. It’s based at Big Winds in Hood River, which has its own e-bike rental company onsite, Oregon E-Bikes. Crocker came by his tour company via a long and winding road. A native of Connecticut, he moved to Vermont after graduating from high school and started teaching kids to ski. “That was it,” Crocker says. “It was like, I can work outside and teach people something I love?” It crushed any prospect for Crocker of what might be considered a “real job.” And so began 25 years of a seasonal lifestyle, which Crocker loved as only a wanderer can. His adventures could fill a book. There were winters in Colorado and Utah. Summers in Alaska and Idaho. More winters in Baja and Maui. Shoulder seasons in South Padre Island. His passion for outdoor sports was the common theme: skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, rafting, kiteboarding. That, and a gift for sharing what he loved with others.




w ith Soul






is wanderings inevitably led him to the Gorge, where he spent a few summers working in kayak retail and, later, as a kiteboard instructor. But he was always off again to somewhere else for the winter. That is, until five years ago. Summer was over, and he had two enticing job offers for the winter: working as a ski boot-fitter in Telluride, or teaching kiting and paddleboarding in Turks and Caicos. “In 25 years, I had not stayed anywhere longer than nine months,” Crocker says. “I went back to places, but I never stayed.” He remembers distinctly when everything changed. “It was October and I said, I’m not packing my car. Mentally and emotionally, I couldn’t do it.” Crocker spent the next few years in Hood River working different jobs in different seasons — teaching kiteboarding in the summer and working in bike and ski retail during the rest of the year. “I was still living the seasonal lifestyle but just not going anywhere,” he says. “I felt like my wings were clipped.” Crocker began to look hard at what he really wanted to do. His passion for teaching and guiding were the things that had woven steadily through his years of wandering. “Being outside with people

Charlie Crocker, below right, guides e-bike tours on the Historic Columbia River Highway, as well as other places around the Gorge. Below left, a tour crosses Mosier Creek and, opposite, makes a stop at the Mosier totem pole.



and showing them something that I love to do,” he says. “It’s fulfilling.” His most recent summers teaching kiting at the Hood River waterfront had been particularly satisfying. “I fell into my element,” he says. “I really had a connection with the people I taught. I got to spend three hours with a client, share the outdoors with them, teach them. It was career-like.” In the fall of 2016, electric bikes were coming into the collective conscience and Crocker heard that Big Winds was preparing to launch an e-bike rental business. “A light bulb went on,” he recalls. Offering tours on electric bikes seemed like the perfect way to blend his skills and passion. He began researching e-bike tours all over the world, and knew he could bring the same thing to the Gorge. Crocker approached the team at Big Winds with his idea. “I said, I want to be your tour affiliate,” he says. As Crocker’s plans solidified, Big Winds “gave me a little more room,” he says. “Eventually they decided they wanted to start the tours here.” Crocker launched Sol Rides last June. His fleet of Swedish Blix electric bikes allows him to take tours of 11 people, plus him as guide. It’s also a perfect fit for his 12-passenger van (affectionately known as the Sol Train), which he uses to transport riders to and from some of his more far-flung tours. Crocker’s Blix bikes are “pedal-assist” e-bikes (as opposed to older-generation throttle mode e-bikes, which make for a more jolty ride) with about a 40-mile range. “From Oak Street to Rowena Crest is 30 miles round-trip,” Crocker says. Before each tour, Crocker holds a short tutorial, and advises his riders to keep their bikes on “output #2,” which provides a minimal-to-moderate assist and allows the 12-amp battery to reach its

Men’s & Women’s styles available

outer range. A throttle, which Crocker calls the “intersection throttle,” is for just that purpose — getting quickly through intersections or out of the parking lot at Big Winds. Crocker’s tours include the Meander to Mosier, which takes riders on the Historic Columbia River Highway from Hood River to Mosier and beyond to Rowena Crest, with potential stops for a short waterfall hike and at a u-pick fruit farm; the Hood


413 Oak St. • Hood River • 541.308.0770 • Mon-Sat 10-6; Sun 11-5


Ride Electric. Ride Happy. HOOD RIVER

207 Front Street • • 888-509-4210



• Lessons (Beginner to Advanced) • Rentals/Demos • Guided SUP Tours • Downwind Shuttle Service

207 FRONT STREET • HOOD RIVER • 541-386-6086 • 888-509-4210 • BIGWINDS.COM THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SUMMER 2018


Bike Tours

River Valley Tour, which starts at Panorama Point and takes riders on part of the Hood River County Fruit Loop, stopping at Hood River Lavender Farms and ending at either Apple Valley Country Store or Hood Crest Winery; and the Wild Lyle Vineyard Tour, which takes riders on a tour of three wineries.

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Practicing pre-tour in the Big Winds parking lot, above right, and taking in the view at the Memaloose Overlook, left.

Along with his pre-set tours, Crocker loves to create custom tours and also modify existing ones with more and/or alternate stops, different winery and cidery tours and even one-way shuttles in the Sol Train. A fourth tour Crocker ran last summer, Chuckles in the Gorge, took riders on an exploration of the central Gorge, including Cascade Locks and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Crocker had to cancel this tour after the Eagle Creek Fire last September, as that section of the Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed. He hopes to resume the tour when the highway re-opens. Another thing Crocker has had to contend with during his first year in business is the rules regarding motorized vehicles on the Historic Columbia River Highway. They are currently not allowed on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail sections of the old highway (including the Twin Tunnels segment between Hood River and Mosier) but people have been riding electric bikes there since the first e-bikes showed up in the area several years ago. With the rise in popularity of e-bikes, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), which oversees the State Trail sections of the old highway, is currently proposing a rule change that would allow e-bikes on certain currently off-limits roads and trails around the state, with some conditions. The OPRD held a public comment period this spring and also hosted public meetings in several locations around the state — including Hood River — to get input on the issue. About 25 people attended the Hood River meeting and, according to Crocker, they were unanimously in favor of allowing e-bikes. The OPRD will make a final decision in June, but has already drafted language for the rule change, which includes allowing e-bikes traveling less than 20 mph on trails and roads that are eight feet or wider. Crocker is hopeful the rule-change will be put into effect. “That section of highway between Hood River and Mosier is magical,” he says. He frequently has people call to book a tour specifically to ride that section of road. With e-bikes, he says, “You’re getting the assistance uphill. Downhill and on the flat, you’re generally not going to be faster than an average road bike rider.” Road bikes, he adds, can easily go 35 mph downhill. “We’re not going that fast on an e-bike.” In fact, the whole point of touring on an e-bike is not the speed but the ease. In a place like the Gorge with so many edgy, self-limiting sports — kiteboarding, kayaking, mountain biking — touring by e-bike is accessible to a comparatively broad range of people. “I’ve had tours where three generations of family have all joined together for a ride — from 16-year-olds to the oldest gentleman who rode with us at age 79,” Crocker says. “We were able to ride bikes together and simultaneously enjoy each other’s conversation, all moving along at the same pace, on an equal playing field.” Touring with family and friends on electric bikes “not only connects us to our surroundings but connects us to each other,” Crocker says. “It brings so much joy, not just into my world but for everyone who can discover that elated feeling of riding on two wheels.” For more information, go to

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Discover Beautiful HOOD RIVER : OREGON

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Designers, goldsmiths, and craftsmen, we make and repair in our state-of-theart workshop. Ken Apland brings 38 years of experience as a goldsmith and gemologist, so whether you need to have old jewelry redesigned, an heirloom restored, or an entirely new design made we can create it using reclaimed metals and responsibly sourced gems.

Visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum to see one of the largest collections of still-flying and still-driving antique vehicles in the USA. With over 3.5 acres of indoor display space, our collection is not just full of history, they are full of LIFE! Open daily from 9am-5pm. Special events on Second Saturdays.

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Hood River Coffee Roasters sells coffee to the public! Yes, the same flavorful and fresh coffees that we offer to fine restaurants, grocery stores, espresso bars and business offices is available to you, too. We are proud to be the Gorge’s premier roaster since 1990. Open MonThu, 9am-5pm and Fri, 9am-3pm.

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Owl family, Bingen Marina 58


Red-tailed hawk, Dallesport A photo essay by Linda Steider

Linda Steider has worked in various media in her lifetime as a prolific artist, but photography has been

woven through all of it. She got her first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, for her 10 th birthday. By the time she was in high school, Steider was working with pastels. “I would take a photo, sketch it out and paint it

with pastels,” she says. Later, she began working with fiber and then glass, but she always began a work

the same way — with a photo she took. “Photography was always just used as reference material,” she says. Much of the inspiration and subjects for her artwork have always come from the natural world. The

more she photographed nature, and particularly animals and birds in their natural habitat, the more she loved it. About 10 years ago, a friend told her that her photos were good enough to sell on their own. “That helped encourage me,” Steider says. Now, she works almost exclusively as a photographer.

“I love the challenge of capturing anything in movement, whether it’s a butterfly, a bird, elk, otter,” she says. She gets some of her images while doing volunteer work with Cascades Pika Watch and East Cascades Audubon Society’s Winter Raptor Survey. Others come from long days spent exploring the

outdoors in and around the Columbia Gorge, where she’s lived since 1984. Her photos can be found on her blog,

Hummingbird, White Salmon

Eagle with fish, The Dalles

— Janet Cook

Red-tailed hawk with chicks, Fulton Canyon




Yellow-rumped warbler with bug, Conboy Lake

Eaglet learning to fly

Horned grebe, Spearfish Lake Sandhill cranes, Conboy Lake

Mountain bluebird, Conboy Lake 60


Lewis’s w oodpecke r,


Pileated woodpecker, White Salmon

Linda Steider

Red-breasted sapsucker, Conboy Lake Wood duck family, Conboy Lake

Photo-based adventures with birds and wildlife in the Columbia River Gorge by artist Linda Steider FINE ART PRINTS available at Made in the Gorge 108 Oak St • Hood River




Bringing Back the Trails Love for the Gorge carries trail crews through long days of post-fire work



he first red flag about what I was getting myself into came from the U.S. Forest Service. They wanted proof they didn’t have a couch potato on their hands. “I am an avid hiker and snowboarder,” I wrote in my autobiography about my fitness level, required by the USFS for any media entering the Eagle Creek Fire burn area. True, but I omitted the part about my IPA gut that’s about to enter its second trimester. They’ll find out at the trailhead.

Next, an ominous email from the Pacific Crest Trail Association. The distance of the planned hike I was going to accompany them on had been changed from 8-to-10 miles to 15 miles, and, in light of this alteration, hikers should “evaluate (their) physical abilities” and determine if they still wanted to go. The Gorge winds were forecast to whip, and officials were worried about hazard trees falling on Nick Eaton Ridge. Such is life for trail crew members volunteering for (and journalists covering) the PCTA, which is doing yeoman’s work rehabbing trails torched by last fall’s Eagle Creek Fire, with the hopes of opening as many as possible by the summer hiking season. 62


Trail crew members examine hazard trees in the burn area near the Herman Creek Trail, opposite top. Lily Palmer and Frank Jahn consult a map, middle, and a crew member uses a hand saw to cut down a snag, bottom. Above, crew members clean debris from the trail.

The PCTA isn’t the only volunteer group working to get trails passable, but they are responsible, specifically, for managing the Pacific Crest Trail, and will also work on other trails as allowed by the USFS. The Mt. Hood Chapter of the PCTA maintains 214 miles of the PCT in Oregon and Washington, including the section that passes through the Gorge. I had the opportunity/misfortune of shadowing a group of volunteers on a hike up the Herman Creek Trail in late April as they tackled some trail work and explored a section of burn area that had yet to be seen, with the goal of making it to Cedar Swamp, about seven miles in. While you don’t need to have previous trail work experience (although the PCTA does offer a trail work skills college), you do have to be in good physical condition. I soon find out just how fit this crew is — on this day, made up primarily of middle-aged men — when they are asked during the safety briefing by Frank Jahn, volunteer crew leader and caretaker for the PCTA, to tell him the longest day hike they’d been on. “15 miles.” “20.” “29.” “40.” 40?! Me? Around 10 miles, when I summited Mount St. Helens a couple of summers ago — something I used to feel pretty good about. To be fair, I was informed this was a longer-than-usual hike, as crews have already done the majority of work around the trailheads, and must now hike in several miles before they get to their work areas. With that, off we go, passing the trail closure warning sign and police tape at the trailhead as we begin steadily climbing up Herman Creek single-file, with everyone but me carrying a hand tool; crews are not allowed to use power tools in wilderness areas. Volunteers pause little more than a minute at a time to grab water or a quick snack, then continue to bound up the trail. Jahn walks with me as we make our way deeper into the drainage area. The 58-year-old Damascus resident has been involved with parks and recreation work his whole life and has been doing the PCTA gig since he retired two and a half years ago. He initially balked at the idea because, he says, “I don’t like physical labor, but from the very first crew I went out on, I loved it, and now I can’t get enough of it.”


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Volunteer trail crew members remove a hazard tree from the middle of the trail, left. Above, the trail crew hikes in to the burn area on the Herman Creek Trail from its trailhead near Cascade Locks, not far from where the Eagle Creek Fire started.

Jahn grew up hiking in the Gorge and views trail work as a way “to give back to the hiking community,” as well as Gorge communities that have been impacted economically by the fire, as hikers are forced to find trails elsewhere to enjoy. Like many others with a connection to the Gorge, Jahn was emotional when he first heard about the Eagle Creek Fire, but as the smoke cleared, seeing how the fire left the Gorge tempered his feelings. “This is a really great example, for the most part, of a healthy mosaic burn,” he explains. “Where there was a lot of underbrush that burned, trunks were scorched, but the canopy was left intact. From an environmental standpoint, the fire here in the Gorge was a healthy one for the forest. It’s going to create a lot of edge community, which is really valuable for wildlife and birds. It’s only from an aesthetic standpoint that we think it’s not so good.” Hiking up Herman Creek, we see evidence of this. Some areas are barely touched, with undergrowth thinned and black scorch marks on trees here and there. Other areas look like a wasteland, with trees rendered to blackened stumps, rocks denuded of moss, dead conifer needles covering the forest floor, and trees and branches across the trail — a job that will be tackled by the crews later. But even in those apparent wastelands, sword ferns and trillium are already making a comeback.

After more than six miles of hiking, which takes us about 3 to 4 hours (“We’re making great time,” Jahn notes in a chipper voice, which makes me wonder why in the hell we don’t slow down), we stumble upon a section of pristine forest just beyond Whisky Creek. After scouting ahead, crew members come to the conclusion that we have reached the edge of the burn. Hiking back into the burn area, the tools come out and volunteers get to work filling in stump holes, removing brush and fallen rocks from trails, cutting off offending branches, and evaluating snags as they work backward down the hill. In a flurry of activity, the section of trail is cleared in minutes. It’s hot, dirty, arduous, slow, and potentially hazardous work, but aside from myself, Jahn hasn’t heard any grumbling from volunteers, whom he keeps happy by doling out Whopper candies. “They’re obviously quite tired at the end of the day, but we’ve had no complainers. They’ve been quite wonderful,” he says. “These trail crews tend to fill up usually within a couple hours of them being posted online. There’s just an incredible desire on the part of people to get out here and do the work.” Robin Barklis, a 33-year-old Linfield political philosophy teacher who lives in Portland, is one of those volunteers. An avid hiker, but a trail-building


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neophyte, Barklis felt compelled to help out after the Eagle Creek Fire torched some of his favorite hiking areas. Like Jahn, Barklis was initially devastated by the news, but has been encouraged by what he has seen as a trail crew volunteer. “I’m really looking forward to seeing it change … I had this image of an eternal wilderness that was never going to change. The moss was always going to be bright green, everything was going to be exactly the same as the first time we saw it, and you know, of course that was never true,” he says as he clears downed limbs from the trail. “But, I think seeing it like this, I’m realizing how many other changes I’m going to see it go through in my life and that doesn’t make me love it any less, it doesn’t change my relationship with it, it just makes me understand it better.” After lunch and a bit more trail work, we make the same six-mile slog back to the trailhead, with me bringing up the rear with my blisters, aggravated when my sole completely separated from my boot a couple of miles into our return hike. Luckily, Lily Palmer, my USFS guide, and other trail crew members, sprang into action like a NASCAR pit crew, using duct and medical tape to put my boot back together and get me back down the trail. Thanks everyone. Next time, the Whoppers are on me. For more information and to volunteer for the PCTA, go to mthood. Note: many trails in the burn area remain closed. Go to fs.usda. gov/alerts/crgnsa/alerts-notices for more information. Ben Mitchell is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Hood River. He is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

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The Music Plays On Music Festival of the Gorge stays true to its roots as it enters fourth year STORY BY DON CAMPBELL • PHOTOS COURTESY OF MFOG


t’s a beautiful thing when a spirit lives on. And when the Gorge is where that spirit resides, good things happen. For the fourth year in a row, a hardy group of dedicated volunteers and adept multi-taskers will stage what might embody the Gorge spirit writ large: the Music Festival of the Gorge — a gathering that serves the greater good of a vibrant community. Its genesis in 2015 sought to honor a fallen comrade — Matt Klee, mountain biker, musician and community activist — with a daylong fundraiser to benefit Hood River school music programs. Matt was, says MFoG committee member Tabitha Colie, “a remarkable person, friend to many, and super active in the Hood River community, both in the local biking organization as president of the Hood River Area Trail Stewards at the time that he passed away, as well being a really great amateur musician. Music was really important to him.” Matt died tragically in a mountain biking accident in Canada in 2014. Colie performed onstage in one of Matt’s bands, Kleevage, as a vocalist. Following his passing, his widow Jen, sister Amy Klee and brotherin-law Damon Clegg — all three festival committee members as well — were looking for a way to honor Matt’s memory. “One idea that came up right away was creating some sort of scholarship,” says Colie. Other efforts to honor Matt, who worked in Bingen, Wash., at Insitu, spun off around the cycling community. But, according to Shelley Toon Lindberg, an arts educator, teacher and executive director of Arts in Education of the Gorge, “The idea of a music festival itself was born of conversations between Damon and Max [Reitz].” Lindberg, for her part, wrote and got a five-year grant from the Oregon Community Foundation and entered into a partnership with the Arts in Education organization to start the Matt Klee Memorial Fund. “So,” says Lindberg, “Damon and Max were over there talking and Amy and I were over here talking, and we got together.” Reitz, an emergency room doctor and local musician, says the festival is “a combination of good ideas



that happened to intersect at the right time and involved the right people to lift something like this off the ground.” His band, now known as The Groove Cabin, had played the first show at the newly completed Waterfront Park amphitheater in the fall of 2014. He and his bandmates quickly saw the potential of the outdoor venue. “That was the inspiration that a lot of us took for saying, we need to have something down here on a regular basis,” he says. The group then found itself with a coalesced mission and some traction to begin something that was truly authentic to this place. With some guidance from Brad Tisdel of the Sisters Folk Festival in Central Oregon, plans were made for the inaugural event in 2015. “The cool thing,” says Lindberg, “is that it was fall. School was about to start. It’s a beautiful time of year.”

The group was able to capitalize on all the variables. It was the intention from the beginning to make it a free event, with ways to donate to the cause. As well, there was a dedicated focus on using area talent. The unofficial theme became “local musicians growing local music.” Some 1,000 people turned out for the first official event that featured six local bands and popular Gorge headliner Tony Smiley, the “Loop Ninja.” Local business sponsors, including Insitu where Matt Klee worked, were recruited, Markus Norvik provided sound and lights, fundraising merchandise was sold and the event was off and running. The second and third years of the event, there was literally a cloud hanging over it; in 2016 the festival was hampered by unseasonably inclement weather, and in 2017 there was thick smoke from the Eagle Creek Fire. But it was vitally important to keep up the momentum. True to form, a local business, the former Springhouse Cellars, stepped up and donated space in their tasting room to host the event both years. “There was no plan B for bad weather,” says Reitz, “but plenty of can-do spirit.” That first year, a donation of $3,000 was made to local school music programs after costs

Amy Klee and Damon Clegg, opposite from left, present a check to the Hood River Valley High School music department from funds raised at Music Festival of the Gorge. Musical acts at MFoG include Tony Smiley, opposite inset, and The Groove Cabin, above.

had been covered, and the amount donated has increased every year since. In 2016, the group generated $6,200, and $9,800 in 2017. Funds have been used throughout Hood River County schools to refurbish and repair broken instruments; for the purchase of state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment for elementary school music teachers at Mid Valley and Parkdale elementary schools; and for the purchase of new instruments including a baritone saxophone, acoustic guitar, recorders, and mountain dulcimers for students in elementary school through high school. A seamless partnership between the music festival committee and Arts in Education of the Gorge makes the fundraising and the distribution of money happen. “Arts in Education is our vehicle for being







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Amy Klee presents a check to Mid-Valley Elementary School music teacher Lydia Peterson, above. The MFoG crowd at the Waterfront Park amphitheater, opposite.

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able to raise money for the schools and distribute it to the schools,” Reitz says. The committee has soldiered on, under its edict, says Lindberg, “to keep it simple.” The group meets monthly and shares responsibility for the monumental tasks required to keep the event afloat. This year’s festival will feature a full weekend of events. Beginning Friday night, Sept. 14, there will be festival events at Hood River’s Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen, Double Mountain Brewery & Tap Room, and River City Saloon with live music and fundraising efforts. The official festival day is Saturday, Sept. 15, with music running at the waterfront amphitheater from noon to 10 p.m. The music lineup includes Molly Schwarz and Friends, the Wasco Brothers, Bonneville Power Trio, The Antonyms, Hood River Valley High School Choir, and Reitz’s The Groove Cabin. The headliner this year will be Dirty Revival, a seven-piece soul/rock band from Portland.

After hours events on Saturday include additional performances at Volcanic Bottle Shoppe, Slopeswell Cider Co., and the Trillium Café. Celebrating the life of Matt Klee is noble unto itself, but the event has built sizeable momentum by holding true to its community roots in providing an event that highlights local music and art talent in a generous community. As well, it has created a viable vehicle with sustaining efforts toward raising money to support and create lifelong music lovers in Gorge kids through their experience in Hood River public schools. “We’ve tried to capitalize on the energy of this place,” says Reitz. And surely that of Matt Klee. For more information, go to or Music Festival of the Gorge on Facebook. An event this size relies heavily on volunteers; if you can help, send an email to Don Campbell is a writer and musician. He lives in Mosier and Portland and is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

MUSIC FESTIVAL OF THE GORGE MUSIC LINEUP FRIDAY NIGHT Kickstand Coffee, 6-9:30 pm: The Family, Man and Tony Smiley Double Mountain Brewery, 6-9:30 pm: Soul Prophet River City Saloon, 10-midnight: Fugawes featuring Jeff Carrell and Victor Johnson

SATURDAY Noon-1 pm: Molly Schwarz and Friends 1:30-2:40 pm: Wasco Brothers 3-4:15 pm: Bonneville Power Trio 4:45-5:30 pm: The Antonyms 5:30-6 pm: Hood River Valley High School Choir 6-7:15 pm: The Groove Cabin 8-10 pm: Dirty Revival MUSIC FESTIVAL OF THE GORGE SPONSORS INSITU Community Grant Program fueled by Lagunitas Dirty Finger Bicycle Repair Volcanic Bottle Shoppe Kickstand Coffee and Kitchen Slopeswell Cider Co. Indian Creek Family Eye Care Little Shredders Dental Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Pine Street Bakery Dakine THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SUMMER 2018



From the Wisdom of Horses Equine-Assisted Learning is the heart of Triskele Rivers STORY BY RUTH BERKOWITZ PHOTOS BY CATHERINE CRANE


n a late spring afternoon, six teenagers make their way up a thickly wooded road on the west side of Hood River to Triskele Rivers. The scent of spring permeates the air and yellow daffodils color the roadsides. It feels wholesome. The kids are venturing to the farm not to ride the horses, but to pause for an hour-and-a-half and notice things in their busy, screen-filled world. The six-week class they’re participating in teaches the teens to be more horse-like, more in tune with themselves and more alert to their surroundings.

“We are in partnership with the horses,” says co-founder and facilitator Carrie Fuentes. Fuentes has been enamored of horses for many decades, first as a teenager growing up in Topanga Canyon, Calif., and much later when she moved to Hood River and her daughter, Audrey, acquired Frodo, a Shetland pony 10 hands small. Loosely applying the Parelli method of natural horsemanship — which promotes successful horse training by encouraging a relationship of trust between horse owner/trainer and horse — Audrey, then 7 years old, spent hours with Frodo, and Fuentes spent hours watching the two interact. “They would play games and seemed to be in sync with each other, like dancers,” Fuentes recalls. “Their relationship gave Audrey so much confidence.” 70


Although Audrey’s interest in horses shifted to theatre, Fuentes continued to be intrigued with the magnificent creatures. Linda Kohanov, author of The Tao of Equus and one of the leading experts in equestrian therapy, put words to Fuentes’ perception of horses — as highly evolved spiritual beings that offer humans opportunities for healing and personal growth, just like Frodo did with Audrey. Fuentes eventually did post-graduate work in Equine-Assisted Learning at Prescott College in Arizona. After graduating, she teamed with Ann Hansen, a Hood River yoga teacher, to create Triskele Rivers, an experiential learning center that employs a combination of EquineAssisted Learning and body-breath work to help participants increase their intuition and emotional agility, and tune in to the connection of mind, body and spirit. Fuentes is now the sole owner of Triskele Rivers, but partners with Hansen in the organization’s mindfulness programs and workshops for both kids and adults. Fuentes also offers individualized one-on-one programs. In the first hour, the group gathers indoors in a room above the garage on the farm. Kohonov’s

Carrie Fuentes and Ann Hansen, opposite inset, founded Triskele Rivers. Opposite top, class participants work with Chance. Hansen with Chance and Frodo, opposite middle. A student writes in her journal in the paddock, opposite bottom. Above, practicing mindfulness.

book is displayed on the bookshelf. Here, Hansen leads the group in mindfulness exercises. The room is quiet and the kids are attentive, each comfortable on their round black pillow and yoga mat. Engaging in their favorite activity, mindful eating, the teens each hold a few slices of clementine in their hands. They examine the pieces of fruit, its soft skin, bright orange color and then silently slip slices into their mouths, chewing slowly. Next comes a piece of chocolate that they mindfully eat, first holding it, then smelling it and finally putting it in their mouths. Hansen continues with breathing exercises. “Pay attention to the stillness of your breath,” she says, calmly. Inhaling, the kids sweep their arms up and then exhale as they move into downward facing dog

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Fuentes works with students on learning to read the energy of Merlin, using their bodies as a sensing device, above left. A student shares territory with Hamilton, above right. Students sit in a closing circle at the end of class, opposite. Fuentes offers classes and workshops as well as one-on-one programs featuring equine-assisted learning.

pose. A few of them manage to balance skillfully on their elbows in the crow position. “Notice how your body is feeling today,” says Hansen. The group then heads outside. Continuing with the theme of noticing things, Fuentes gathers them near the barn. The horses saunter over as if they knew the children were coming for a play date. “Think about all of your five senses,” Fuentes says. “Maybe you can still taste the sweet chocolate lingering in your mouth.” “Keep your senses open when you go into the paddock,” she tells them. “Notice the horses and their energy.” According to Fuentes, horses are powerful energetic beings that are aware of subtle muscle twitches and breaths. She says their energy field encompasses about eight feet, compared to about three feet for humans. Having such a large energy field means that horses must read everything in their environment to survive.

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“They communicate through energy and will share a water hole with a lion if they know the lion only wants to be there for the water and not to prey on another animal,” explains Fuentes. The group walks together like a herd into the paddock. Merlin, a black Arabian and the newest horse to Triskele Rivers, eagerly approaches. “He is on high alert and has had trauma in his life,” says Fuentes, who gently leads the curious horse aside. Later Fuentes explains that Merlin, formerly named “Trouble,” suffers from being a rare twin who was never adequately fed as a colt and always seeks attention. With time, Fuentes says, Merlin will be able to work with students, but for now she needs to build a stronger relationship with him. “It’s all about relationships,” Fuentes says, adding that she feels she “has grown more this year than any other time.” She’s learned “not to take Merlin’s energy so personally and to set boundaries without being angry.” The six teens team up with the three other horses in the paddock: Hamilton, Frodo and Chance. Paired together, the kids walk next to their assigned horse. One student is supposed to be the sentient one. The other, the “doer,” must accomplish the task at hand. The sentient cannot instruct or help, but is only charged with noticing the doer. The role of “observing is participating,” remarks Fuentes. The doer is charged with putting the halter on the horse and leading the horse intentionally to another part of the paddock. Eli, paired with Elizabeth, attempts to put a halter on Chance, a rescue horse who skirted his final destination to the slaughterhouse a few years ago when he was saved by a woman who wanted to give him another chance — hence his name. Today, Chance isn’t interested in being attached to anything. Used to obeying orders, Eli, an eighth-grader, at first keeps trying to fasten the lead on Chance, but every time he does, the horse gazes at him and backs up, or moves his head so Eli can’t accomplish the task. At first

frustrated, Eli finally shifts gears. “Rather than force the halter on him, we decided to stand with him, be patient and breathe with him,” says Eli. Reflecting on the moment, Fuentes comments to the group, “Their relationship with Chance was more important than the goal,” she says. “It’s the relationship with the horse that builds trust, just as it is with people.” The students ponder this idea for a moment and then Fuentes asks, rhetorically, “What about the reverse — when the goal is more important than the relationship?” The teens are silent, thinking about Fuentes’ question. “It’s this unplanned lesson that makes the class so interesting and valuable,” Fuentes says, “because the horses have so much to teach us.” Triskele Rivers offers classes for kids and adults, as well as people who have experienced trauma. For more information, go Ruth Berkowitz is a lawyer, mediator and writer. She lives with her family in Hood River and Portland and is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

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Protect Your Eyes From the Sun Summer in the Gorge means lots of time outside in the sun. We all tend to think about wearing sunscreen and protecting our skin from sun damage, but it’s just as important to protect our eyes. Too much exposure to UV light raises the risk of eye diseases. According to the National Eye Institute, some of the sun’s effects on the eyes include: • Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision. An estimated 20 percent of cases are caused by extended UV exposure. • Macular degeneration, resulting from damage to the retina that destroys central vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. • Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism. • Photokeratitis, sunburn of the eye. Children need eye protection, too. According to The Vision Council, kids take in three times more UV exposure than adults — up to 80 percent of their lifetime exposure to UV occurs by age 20 — and their eyes are more vulnerable to UV damage.




When purchasing sunglasses, look for: • A label that says the sunglasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. • Lenses that block out 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. • Lenses with a uniform tint. Gradient lenses should lighten gradually, with the top being darkest. • A frame that fits close to the face and contours to the shape of the face. Consider what type of activities you plan to be involved in while wearing your sunglasses. Are you an avid hiker or mountain biker? Will you mainly be wearing sunglasses while driving the car? Do you spend time doing a water sport? Whatever the situation, finding the right pair of sunglasses relates directly to the amount of time you’re likely to wear them. Have fun in the sun this summer, and don’t forget to protect your eyes. For more information, go to

Nichols Landing Gorge Mag 8.75x11.25 - MAY.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/18 1:20 PM Page 1

MCMC Specialty Clinics at Nichols Landing Now Open Nichols Landing overlooks the Columbia River and is right off of I-84 (exit 63) next to the Hampton Inn in Hood River


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Services Now Available: MCMC OUTPATIENT THERAPY AT NICHOLS LANDING, formerly Hood River Therapy, has relocated to Nichols Landing. Their highly skilled therapists will be providing physical, occupational, and speech therapies, in a large open gym space with upgraded exercise equipment. Call 541.386.2441 to make an appointment. GORGE UROLOGY has relocated to Nichols Landing from their

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Vietnamese Salad Ingredients: • whole milk yogurt
 • bok choy, roughly chopped • napa cabbage, very thinly sliced
 • carrots, peeled and trimmed, then peeled into ribbons • cucumber, very thinly sliced
 • red chili, very thinly sliced (I prefer Fresno chilis — they can vary greatly in heat so taste a little before you add it) • small handful each of basil, mint and cilantro, roughly chopped • roasted salted peanuts Dressing: • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
 • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
 • 2 teaspoons soy sauce • 1/4 cup fish sauce
 • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 
2 tablespoons honey
 • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
 • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
 • 1 small shallot, finely minced

Combine all the ingredients in bowl and whisk to combine.
 Assembly Directions:
 In a large bowl toss the bok choy, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber. Smear a bit of yogurt onto the cake. Top with the veggies. Garnish with the herbs, chili, and peanuts. Spoon on some dressing. Enjoy immediately.


These incredibly healthy, incredibly adaptable “pancakes” are made from chickpea flour. They’re loaded with protein and high in fiber, naturally gluten-free, and have a subtly sweet, earthy flavor. They could be topped with anything! I opted to keep these recipes vegetarian (though there is fish sauce in the Vietnamese Dressing). Healthy, fast, and adaptable (and they don’t require turning on an oven), these are sure to become a summer staple around our house. You can also season the cakes with ground herbs (like coriander or cumin) for variety. Happy cooking!


Shaved Veggie

Cake Ingredients: • 2 cups chickpea flour
 • 2 cups water 
 • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Ingredients: • broccolini, thinly sliced
 • asparagus, trimmed and peeled into ribbons • zucchini, trimmed and peeled into ribbons
 • fresh mint and basil, thinly sliced into ribbons • flake salt
red pepper flakes • roasted sunflower seeds • juice and zest of one lemon

Cake Directions:
 Whisk the chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt together in a medium bowl. Allow to rest for 30 minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid. Thin with a couple of tablespoons of water for a thinner cake if desired. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Pour in 1/3 cup batter and cook the cake for a few minutes, until the top is set a bit and the bottom is golden. Flip and cook on the second side until it’s golden. Transfer to a plate and top as desired. Repeat with remaining batter.

• burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese

 Assembly Directions:
 In a large bowl, toss the veggies with the lemon zest, juice, large pinch of salt and small pinch of red pepper. Top the cakes with the veggies, dot with burrata, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, mint and basil, and more salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Kacie McMackin is a food blogger, writer and photographer at She is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.







Pizzeria • drafthouse theater • arcade • frozen yogurt It’s the pizza -over 25 years of authentic East Coast thin-crust pizza

Backwoods Brewing is family owned and located in Carson, WA. Established in 2012, we offer delicious beers, hand-made pizzas, outdoor seating, and welcome all ages.

Located in the heart of historic downtown Hood River, we blend nature’s finest ingredients with impeccably friendly service to offer an unforgettable dining experience.

Open daily: 11:30am-9pm

Call us for catering at your location, too!



541-386-1448 • 107 Oak Street • Hood River

On-line ordering • Eat in • Take out • Delivery


541-374-8477 • Exit 44 off I-84, Cascade Locks

541-436-3444 • 102 Oak St. Suite 100 • Hood River

Stunning views next to the Bridge of the Gods – Bridgeside (formerly Charburger) still serves tasty char-broiled burgers plus an extensive menu of breakfast items, chowders, fish & chips, fresh salad bar, sandwiches, and desserts. New name, new management, but historic charm and western artifacts remain. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Offering Nordic inspired breakfast and lunch to the gorge. Something new and exciting for the whole family to enjoy. Come try traditional recipes such as aebleskiver (danish pancakes), swedish meatballs, norwegian lefse (potato crepes) and lots more!

Gift shop • Special event room & terrace


CELILO RESTAURANT & BAR 541-386-5710 • 16 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River

Celilo began with a desire to honor the bounty of this region and a commitment to a healthy and sustainable future. Our ever-changing menu reflects the seasonal highlights of the region’s growers and foragers. We offer the most innovative in fresh, local cuisine as well as an award-winning wine list, full bar, small plate menu, and happy hour daily from 5-6pm. Dinner daily from 5pm • Lunch Fri-Sun 11:30-3pm


509-427-3412 • 1162 Wind River Hwy • Carson


We look forward to serving you!

COLUMBIA GORGE BAKERY A GLUTEN FREE FACILITY 541-645-0570 • 740 East Steuben Street • Bingen

We use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in all of our fresh baked breads, treats and savory hand pies. We are committed to bringing you the most delicious baked goods available, anywhere. Call ahead for catering, wedding cakes, events or just stop by the drive-thru for coffee and a gluten free, dairy free or paleo treat!

541-387-4344 • 606 Oak Street • Hood River

Reserve our outdoor patio for private parties, groups, and rehearsal dinners.

541-298-7388 • 1424 West 2nd Street • The Dalles

Quality Mexican food prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients. Warm, friendly service and a lively atmosphere. Indulge in generous portions of flavorful sizzling fajitas, fish tacos, savory enchilada dishes and daily specials. Drink specials & Happy Hour menu from 4-7pm, Mon-Fri. Full service bar, take-out menu, gift certificates and catering services. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

CROOKED TREE TAVERN & GRILL 541-352-6692 • 10755 Cooper Spur Road • Mt Hood/Parkdale

A scratch-made Northwest kitchen hidden up in the woods at the historic Cooper Spur Mountain Resort. Sourcing local and bringing freshness to the table, from the handmade burgers with house baked buns to the hand-cut steaks. Open for lunch & dinner 7 days a week with daily specials. Happy Hour Monday thru Friday 3-6pm.



541-386-4502 • 411 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River

541-386-3000 • 310 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River



Named one of ‘America’s top 10 coffeehouses’ by USA Today

Relax on our patio, right in the heart of downtown…enjoy a hand-crafted espresso drink made with locally roasted, fair trade and organic coffee. Serving breakfast and lunch all day: panini, salads, smoothies, and fresh baked goods (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options). Local beers on tap, and local wines by the glass or bottle. Free Wi-fi and our patio is dog-friendly. Open daily at 7 am.

Authentic Jalisco Cuisine. We provide a great dining experience and freshly prepared platters delivered to your table with Mexican hospitality by our friendly staff. Enjoy good food, good folks and good times. Offering daily lunch and dinner specials served all day. Happy Hour Mon-Fri 2-5pm. Enjoy our outdoor patio (open weather permitting).



Full service espresso bar featuring Stumptown coffee Breakfast burritos, pastries and more Caffeinating your adventures since 2004 Open: Mon-Fri, 6am-6pm & Sat-Sun, 7am-6pm


541-308-0005 1306 12th Street • Hood River, on the Heights

Sun-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri & Sat 10am-10pm

509-637-2774 • Downtown White Salmon

541-386-2247 • 506 Columbia Street • Downtown Hood River

See for yourself why Everybody’s Brewing is a local favorite! We brew 15 different styles of beer plus seasonal selections onsite. The menu is filled with affordable food choices made with high-quality local ingredients. The atmosphere is warm and family-friendly. Enjoy the stunning Mt. Hood view from the outdoor deck, listen to free live music on Friday nights. Open 11:30am to Close.

If there is one thing a brewer loves more than great beer– it’s great food and great beer! Our northwest-inspired menu complements our award-winning brews and features seasonal, local ingredients. Swing by for a pint, grab a bite, tour the brewery or just soak up the view. Open daily at 11am serving lunch and dinner. Guided brewery tours are offered daily at 1, 2, 3 and 4pm and are free of charge.

Located in the heart of the Hood River Valley just minutes from downtown. Breathtaking views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams from our covered patio. Full service bar and fabulous northwest cuisine at a reasonable price. Your everyday vacation spot! Open to the public.




541-308-0304 • 3605 Brookside Drive • Hood River

Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner. Happy Hour 3-6pm.

541-436-0016 • 1235 State Street • Hood River

503-669-8610 • 2126 SW Halsey Street • Troutdale (off Exit 16)

541-321-0490 • 707 Portway Avenue, Suite 101 • Hood River Waterfront

Locally sourced ingredients. Unique world flavors. Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Donuts made fresh daily. House-roasted coffee. Healthy salads, burgers and entrees. Beer, wine & house - infused cocktails at “The Handlebar”.

Beat the heat this summer with a handcrafted beverage from one of our many watering holes while wandering the gardens or enjoying a meal from the pub, Loading Dock or Black Rabbit patio. Take a tour of the brewery to see where these fresh ales are created.

Open daily 7am-10pm. Outdoor patio. Fire pit. SMORES. Kid-friendly.

Ales, wines and spirits are crafted onsite.

pFriem artisanal beers are symphonies of flavor and balance, influenced by the great brewers of Belgium, but unmistakably true to our homegrown roots in the Pacific Northwest. Although they are served humbly, each glass is overflowing with pride and a relentless aspiration to brew the best beer in the world. We’ll let you decide. Open Daily: 11am-10pm




541-386-1606 • 107 2nd Street • Hood River


541-716-4020 • 112 Third Street • Downtown Hood River



Pietro’s is proud to serve the same famous original thin pizza crust and pizza sauce that has made us a Northwest favorite over the years. We use only the freshest and finest cheese and toppings. Proud to be locally owned and operated with four locations: Hood River, Milwaukie, Beaverton and Salem. Dine in, take out, online or delivery.

Diners seek out newly remodeled Riverside for some of the best food and views in the Gorge, and Cebu for great bar food and drinks. Fresh menus change seasonally—plus an award-winning wine list. Enjoy indoors, on the deck, or in our popular Cebu Lounge.

Open Daily 11am-10pm

Recharge at Remedy Café with organic and satisfying breakfast or lunch bowls, burritos, curry, smoothies, juices, or hot drinks. Vegan and paleo options, created from scratch from the best quality organic and local ingredients. Kombucha on tap. Locally roasted, organic espresso. Free WiFi. Open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm Sat & Sun 8am-5pm. Dine-in or take out. Order ahead online or call us!


SOLSTICE WOOD FIRE PIZZA 541-436-0800 • 501 Portway Avenue • Hood River Waterfront

541-386-3940 • 3405 West Cascade Avenue • Hood River

Happy Hour daily, 3-6pm

One of a kind specialty pizzas, housemade fresh pastas, seasonal small plates & salads, & sublime s’mores. Inspired cocktails, craft beers, wine, & ciders on tap. Family dining & kids play area. Vegan & gluten-free options.

“The best outdoor dining in the Gorge.” –NW Best Places We are a favorite among locals and visitors. Our cuisine is a classic, European blend that utilizes fresh, local ingredients and pairs well with our select wines. Our gardens are the perfect setting for weddings. Full-service catering available. “Romantic setting and the best meal I had in town.” –The Los Angeles Times

541-296-7870 • 701 East 2nd Street • Downtown The Dalles (I-84, Exit 85) Late Night Happy Hour Friday & Saturday, 10-close Live Music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday We Cater

gorge in the gorge

A local guide to the best food, drinks, farms, and markets!



Patio seating & waterfront views, across from the park! Wood-fired & Gorge-inspired!

541-386-4410 • Exit 64 off I-84 • Waterfront Hood River

Cebu Lounge Happy Hours: Mon-Fri 4-6pm






Come find us in the basement of the Yasui Building, the local’s favorite spot for fresh fish, Pan-Asian Cuisine, and a rockin’ atmosphere! Lots of rotating specials, creative rolls, and a large sake selection means you’re always trying something new! Private rooms are available for groups up to 20 people. Take-out menu available online. Open for dinner nightly at 5:00, closing hours change seasonally.

We are nestled on the banks of the Sandy River in Troutdale, OR–the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. We are located halfway between Portland and Multnomah Falls. Serving exquisite American cuisine since the 1930s. The menu includes: Seafood specialties as well as traditional steak, chicken, and pasta dishes; a full bar, and our famous home-style chicken ‘n dumplins. Open every night for dinner.

Thunder Island Brewing Co is an adventure-based brewery that is handcrafting creative and innovative beers in the Pacific Northwest since 2013. Thunder Island Brewing makes crushable beers inspired by a love of outdoor adventures, with a nod to local history and with a respect for all that the scenic Columbia River Gorge has to offer.




Off the beaten track, outside and delicious. From a perfect espresso in the morning with a fresh pastry, to one of the best burgers in the Gorge! Farm-to-Table menu, including freshly caught Salmon. Enjoy great food paired with local brews, cider and wines on our outdoor patio, while watching the rafters and kayakers have fun on the White Salmon River.

Wood-fired artisan breads, pastries, espresso, with a café serving breakfast and lunch. Regional and Italian wines for sale. Stop by and check out Monday Pizza Night!

541-386-7423 • 109 First Street • Downtown Hood River

503-666-5337 • 1325 East Historic Columbia River Hwy • Troutdale

971-231-4599 • 515 NW Portage Road • Cascade Locks

CAFÉ & GRILL 509-493-8989 • 860 Highway 141 • White Salmon (Husum)

Open daily 8-6.30 PM, Memorial weekend - End of Sept

509-281-3140 • 80 Estes Avenue • White Salmon

Monday, Wednesday - Friday 7-3:30 Closed Tuesday Saturday and Sunday 8-3

Contact Jody Thompson for more information: 425-308-9582 • 541-399-6333 • The Gorge is a mecca for great food and drink: restaurants, cafés, wineries, breweries, food carts & more. Help visitors and locals decide where to dine and drink. They’ll see your ad in print and in the online digital edition of the magazine…for one affordable price! RESERVE A PARTAKE LISTING SPACE TODAY

A subscription to the area’s premier lifestyle publication Subscribe now for only $19.99 (4 issues) or $29.99 (8 issues) 541.399.6333 // for more information The Gorge Magazine is published quarterly, new subscribers will receive the next available issue. If the post office alerts you that your magazine is undeliverable we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year.




A Hood River Valley irrigation ditch, circa 1910. (Photo from the Collection of the History Museum of Hood River County.)






NMLS - 140302, MLO - 140302

NMLS - 114305, MLO - 114305

Sr. Mortgage Specialist

Sr. Mortgage Specialist

102 3RD STREET | HOOD RIVER, OR 97031 Looking to Purchase or Refinance?



This is not a commitment to lend. Information deemed reliable but subject to change without notice. Subject to credit approval. Restrictions may apply. Call for Details. Consumer Loan License NMLS-3240, CL-3240.

We’ve got BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER covered!



New York Times, 2014

Mesquitery Steakhouse The only steakhouse in the Gorge... a locals favorite since 1988

{ Open Daily 6am-2pm } Breakfast & Lunch

{ Open 4:30pm-9pm } RESTAURANT { Open 4:30pm-11pm } THE SHED BAR

Extensive Breakfast

We grill everything over

& Lunch Menus

100% Mesquite Wood

Organic Eggs • Omelets

Steaks, Ribeyes, Prime Rib

Pancakes • Waffles

Ribs, Poultry

Crepes • Skillets

Seafood, Pastas

Organic Coffee

Great Side Dishes

Espressos & Lattes

Homemade Desserts

Soups • Salads

Beer & Wine Selection

Sandwiches • Hamburgers


Family Friendly

Summer Patio

Easy Parking

Adjoining The Shed Bar

541-386-1127 1313 Oak Street, Hood River

10% OFF

YOUR TOTAL BILL with this coupon

Not valid on holidays or with any other offer. Expires 9/7/2018


541-386-2002 • 541-387-4002 1219 12th St., Hood River

10% OFF

YOUR TOTAL BILL with this coupon

Not valid Fridays, holidays or with any other offer. Expires 9/7/2018


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