4 months ago
Most of our lives has been spent in the San Francisco Bay Area, near the natural wonders of Northern California. This was our third RS trip to explore Western landscapes that were very different from the ones we knew. The Columbia River Gorge offers a fresh perspective on the Mountain West and, for once, the term “cataclysmic” fits this region better than it does California. To geologists, the rolling landscape of fields and groves, framed by cliffs, had been a deep mystery. It was solved by researchers late in the 20th century. We had three geologists in four days, weaving the story together. It is hard to do this with the right level of detail, something that our excellent group leader insisted on. Newbies to geology will have to stay on their toes, but the experts were engaging.
The Hood River Inn was an excellent choice and it is hard to imagine that anyone drawn to RS would not find it comfortable and attractive. None of the walks were strenuous and there was good cheer even when wind or rain or snow showed up. The fall colors were abundant, but if this tour were given in the Spring, wild flowers might be even better. The orchards and vineyards of the Hood River region are not a main feature of this tour, but we gave them some attention and if you have a car you could explore them easily. The variety of fruit here is impressive and this part of Oregon resembles the Napa and Sonoma valleys of California, before the world rushed in.