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Intimate with the Gorge

‘Friends’ hike series offers educational outings through fall

Friends of the Columbia Gorge starts its annual fall hike series Sept. 8 with 36 outings on the two-month schedule. The series includes guided hikes, bike rides, work parties and driving tours focused around educating participants about different areas of the Gorge, as well sharing its scenic beauty as a group.

Each outing has an educational theme, from viewing traces of Lewis and Clark’s expedition and the Ice Age Floods to foraging for mushrooms and observing the “creatures of the night.”

In addition to the fall hike series, the Waterfall Wanderlust Hike Challenge is ongoing through Oct. 31. The challenge lists 25 Gorge waterfalls, which participants must visit and document before the deadline. Those who complete the challenge will receive a prize and an entry into a grand prize drawing, which is for an all-day raft trip for six on the White Salmon River and dinner at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe.

All outings are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Some outings are for members only. The full hike schedule and registration can be found online at: www.gorgefriends.org/hike. Friends’ basic membership is $35 annually. For information about Waterfall Wanderlust visit gorgefriends.org/waterfalls.

Hike highlights:

For space purposes the list below is only a selection of some of the many hikes on the schedule. For the complete list visit www.gorgefriends.org.

n Sept. 8: Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, Wash.

Birder Randy Fortish will lead hikers through oak woodlands, open fields and riparian forests in this beautiful wetland area. Hikers will learn to identify birds and learn about refuge management while we hike.

n Sept. 8: Mona Bell and Bonneville Dam, Ore.

John Harrison, author of “A Woman Alone,” will share the story of Sam Hill’s mistress Mona Bell, the mansion Sam built for her and her battle with the federal government after her home and property were condemned to make way for Bonneville Dam.

n Sept. 9: Indian Point, Ore.

Hike leader Hal White will guide hikers through stunning stands of old-growth forest,up to views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.

n Sept. 13: Dancing Rock, Wash.

Join Executive Director Kevin Gorman on this leisurely hike on land trust property, to enjoy sweeping views, eastern Gorge autumn colors, traces of the ice age floods, and learn Lewis and Clark history.

n Sept. 15: Historic Highway Bike Ride, Ore.

Participants will bike a pedestrian-only stretch of the Historic Columbia River Highway with Field Representative Peter Cornelison and learn today’s top conservation issues on the way from Hood River through the Mosier Twin Tunnels to the town of Mosier and back.

n Sept. 16: Franklin Ridge Loop, Ore.

Join leader Debbie Asakawa on this challenging hike up Multnomah Creek, passing several falls on the way to Franklin Ridge.

n Sept. 20: Lend-A-Hand Stewardship below Mosier Plateau, Ore.

Clear brush on the newly established trail corridor on Land Trust property at the Mosier Plateau with Land Trust Manager Kate McBride.

n Sept. 21: Lyle Cherry Orchard Hike, Wash.

Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager Renee Tkach will guide hikers up steep oak woodlands to Land Trust property, sharing trail history and future plans.

n Sept. 22: Autumn Waterfall Photography Workshop, Ore.

Photographer Jason Waicunas will share tips on the art of waterfall photography. Weather will determine hike. Short walks to the falls will focus on photographic technique. $25 upon registration.

n Sept. 22: Falls Creek Falls & Panther Creek Falls, Wash.

Welcome autumn at this secluded waterfall with hike leader Jane Garbisch. The gentle trail follows a cascading creek to a 220-foot, three-tiered waterfall.

n Sept. 23: Mushroom Scouting Hike, Ore./Wash.

Leader Stephen Brown will teach hikers how to forage for mushrooms while enjoy the autumn colors on this beautiful fall hike. Locations TBD, based on the mushroom availability.

n Sept. 29: Full Moon Hike at Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, Wash.

Join this special evening hike as the full moon rises. Hikers will listen and watch for creatures of the night as they walk the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail with Refuge expert Wilson Cady.

n Sept. 29: Whistling Ridge, Wash.

Leader Jim Chase and Staff Attorney Nathan Baker will guide hikers across this public land ridge, whose name is shared by a wind energy project that is proposed nearby.

n Sept. 30: Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls, Ore.

Join hike leader Jim Denton on this trek past numerous waterfalls to walk behind spectacular Tunnel Falls.

n For the 21 hikes scheduled for in October visit www.gorgefriends.org.

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