Gorge Report: July 22, 2011: Organic Cherries
We rolled into town yesterday afternoon with four surfskis, camping gear, paddling gear, and one German Shepherd after leaving behind rainy dreary weather in Bellingham. We didn’t get set up at camp until later, so just went to Hood River for a relaxing (and delicious) dinner at Celilo Restaurant to kick off the vacation in style. The forecast was looking questionable for Friday’s wind and we crossed our fingers and listen to the wind through the night.
Friday morning rolled around to sunny skies, warm temperatures, and moderate 15-18 mph winds from Stevenson to Hood River. Kristen dropped me off at Drano lake and I paddled the Fenn Mako Elite down to Swell City. Conditions were fun but definitely not epic. Kristen met me down at Swell City and we did laps there for an hour or so. Met a guy, Mark, from Hood River out doing a loop from Hood River to Swell City and back in his surfski. He seemed psyched to see some other boats out and looked pretty stable in his surfski for having taken up the sport in March.
After that loops session, we decided the conditions were right for Kristen to pop her “Drano to Swell City ‘Organic’ Cherry” in the afternoon. We headed to Home Valley for some lunch and a nap out of the wind and then I dropped her off with the two Fenn Mako XTs at Drano and set shuttle at the Hatchery. 30 minutes later we were pulling out into the waves for her first run through this section in a single. The conditions were moderate, with some fun mid sized rollers that were easy to catch and play in for the first half of the run. At the last train tunnel things picked up and the waves got a little steeper and bigger. Kristen managed to handle things well in the glass XT (her new favorite surfing boat) and emerged from the waves still smiling. Things mellowed out at the Hatchery and overall it was a fun run and a great first experience through there in a single surfski.
NOTE: Conditions have changed a bit since our last trip here. The river level has dropped a good 3-4ft and the current is a bit milder. The waves seems a little more organized we noticed on our drive into Hood River tonight that the sandbar at the Hook is back. This might mean less technical and less steep waves for Wildside, but only time will tell…..
Forecast for tomorrow is looking weak for wind (keeping our fingers crossed), but Sunday looks like full on surfing fun…..Stay tuned for more…..