Getting in/out of a van; driving about 14 miles, approximately 1 hour round-trip. “Choose Your Pace” from routes around Beacon Rock, up to 4.5 miles, up to 900 feet elevation gain/loss; hiking on switchbacks cut out of the rock with handrails on the side.
In the adjacent restaurant, we’ll order from a select menu with choices such as eggs, pancakes, cereal, and juice or coffee. We will then gather in our meeting room to assemble our own sack lunches with sandwich, snack, and fruit choices. Remember to bring and fill your personal water bottle to take along.
During a walk with our instructor to Cascade Locks Marine Park, we’ll orient ourselves to the town. Among the highlights is the Oregon Pony, the first steam engine in the Pacific Northwest. There is also a walking bridge crossing the remains of the original shipping locks, connecting the Marine Park with 3-acre Thunder Island that was carved out of the mainland in 1890. Returning from our walk, we’ll have our first daily orientation at 9:45 a.m. Then, at 10:30 a.m., we’ll set out via 15-person vans for Beacon Rock, an 848-foot monolith with views of the Bonneville Dam. On October 31, 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived here and first measured tides on the river, indicating that they were nearing the ocean.
At the marina in Beacon Rock State Park, we’ll have the sack lunches we prepared with views of Beacon Rock and the Columbia River.
Next, we’ll ride to the trailhead and begin our first hike to Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (2.0 miles round trip, 380 foot elevation gain). We will see Wahclella Falls nestled in its rock grotto before retracing our steps to the trailhead. Our instructor and Group Leader will point out plants and animals we see along the way. Next, we’ll explore Bonneville Dam with a dam Ranger. Completed in 1937, it was a showpiece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. At the time, its single lift navigation lock was the largest in the world. We’ll learn about the dam and see how native salmon and steelhead salmon navigate fish ladders to get past the dam on their journey upstream to spawn. We’ll return to the hotel lodging with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
At a local church, we’ll have a home-cooked meal and meet people from the community.
Returning to the hotel, we’ll have a presentation by a local expert on a topic relevant to the program theme. The presentation will end about 9:00 p.m.