Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Watch Out for Velociraptors

Exploring the Pacific Northwest

Laughter is the best medicine.  And if that laughter comes with a big dose of sunshine and beautiful scenery, all the woes of the world disappear.  

  This unusual hiking trail on top of an old pipeline just outside Hood River, Oregon, is guaranteed to do just that.   The pipeline used to transport water from the Powerdale Dam to a powerhouse down river that once generated electricity for 3,000 homes.  The dam was demolished in 2010, but rather than carting away the pipes, PacifiCorp left them to the Columbia Land Trust and Hood River County along with 400 acres of land.  The metal catwalk makes a perfect hiking trail (and an unusual one).

The power company's crew used the catwalk for making repairs to the pipes.  Although we were a little hesitant at first, we found it to be very sturdy.  It was the "DANGER  VELOCIRAPTOR ON PREMISES  KEEP GATE CLOSED" that stopped us in our tracks.  Then had us shaking with laughter.  

 . . .then had us creeped out!  After all, we were the only ones out here.  Did the locals know something we didn't?  Were there really nasty man-eating creatures beyond?

There are parking spaces at the abandoned powerhouse, located just beyond the China Gorge restaurant in Hood River on Oregon Highway 35.  After parking, just follow the train tracks to the left.  Walk along the pipeline and then the path along the river until you get to the catwalk.  It's a 1.5 mile hike out to the end.  The scenery is indeed gorgeous.  If it's a clear day, you get a glimpse of Mt. Hood.

  The Hood River is wild and free, now that the dam is gone.  Salmon, steel head and trout can now make it all the way to the Columbia.  We saw lots of elk and deer tracks and a couple of bald eagles flying above us.  It is the intention of the land trust to conserve and enhance the habitat for wildlife. 

But proceed at your own risk!

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