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The Gorge
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amelia01



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:45 pm    Post subject: The Gorge Reply with quote

I am going down to the gorge this wknd. I know there are tons of sailing sites, but can anyone recommend a good site to sail at? bump and jump cond., decent launch, no rocks, no big crowds. I am an advanced sailor but havnt sailed in about a year and a half.
thanks
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14046

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

In mid-summer we dont have a lot of choice, because the wind often --- maybe usually -- confines us to the corridor -- Event Site to Swell city, maybe to Stevenson if its clear there. Its also when the most people come to the gorge, so everybody is crammed together.

Avoiding crowds is still easy: you just drive to a site wih no wind. There will be PLENTY of them in late July. Wink

Avoiding rocks is also easy; you just launch at the Event Site or the Hook and sail with several hundred of your closest friends in disorganized chopswell.

Or launch in a soft spot (Event Site or Hook) and sail somewhere else. i.e., sail up- or down-river until the crowds thin out, which they usually do somewhere except on big, windy summer weekends.

Another well-kept (NOT!) secret is to move to Dougs before everybody else does at mid-day. While the corridor is still blowing like stink and before Dougs/Rowena start blowing, pack it up and move east and HOPE the wind follows you.

The bottom line is that in midsummer, 783 OTHER people want the same conditions you do, but the wind often fllls in only a couple or few miles of river.

Now add this complication: the Gorge is baking and unlikely to blow this weekend unless it surprises forecasters Sunday evening. That will solve your crowd problem, give you free access to grassy launches (pick one), but rob you of any B&J terrain. Sailing the Gorge all but DEMANDS wind forecasts and real-time data; everything else is secondary, cause without wind nothing else -- crowds, rocks, terrain, parking -- counts.

This weekends best bet is the coast. Solves all four of your problems -- rocks, crowds, terrain, and wind. And an advanced sailor can enjoy several spots on the central-north OR coast. It will also be up to 50 degrees cooler there; the Gorge is not a pretty scene when the temps hitting three digits -- CENTIGRADE (just kidding wid dat).

Mike \m/
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repooc99



Joined: 07 Apr 2001
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

If you plan on staying in the corridor then look at lower hatch. There is a little bay there just above the hatch. Rig up and then swim about 60 feet to wind line and you are at lower hatch.

OUt east look at going to 3 mile just past Arlington. Or go to Roosevelt, Wa. Roosevelt is the best of the best.
Good luck,
Ron
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forwards



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

Suggest you delay your trip by a few days as this wknd is going to be hot in PDX and gorge (100F) and no winds sat, and iffy prospects for sunday. I drive to gorge for wknds from seattle but prospects for wind this coming wknd poor.

When winds return suggest swell city (consult with locals about location of rocks at launch if water level high). Also recommend dougs beach for corridor winds. There will be sailors at both of these sites, so strategy to avoid is to sail up/down wind to get away from launch.
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

As everyone here has already said, if you can delay your trip.... do it !! If you cant delay, check out Home Valley around 10 AM. No crowd, relaxed conditions (usually), nice launch site in both east winds AND west winds.... BEST scenery in the Gorge. There is sometimes more wind here than at Stevenson, and the place is almost always empty. Conditions usually change in the afternoon however (big wind hole developes in the middle of the river), so just make sure to start sailing here around 10 AM.

-- Wind Mtn. Pete
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amelia01



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. I am re-considering my trip since the forecast does not look good. hate to make that long drive to get skunked!!

P.S- Do you do any sailing in puget sound in summer? I have heard that Purdy is a pretty good spot....

Pete
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victw1



Joined: 11 Jul 2001
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:42 am    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

great summary -

we made our second trip to the gorge the last week of june and stayed through the first week of july.

Everyone always says how the gorge is great because if the wind isnt blowing there are lots of other activities. As far as we could tell - if the wind isnt blowing its 100 degrees outside - and we werent motivated to do a damm thing at that temp. Had 3 of those days during our stay.

The second comment Ive most often heard about the gorge - is that you can find a site for any condition/ability. Of the 7 days the wind blew (out of 14) - 5 of those had the wind confined to the corridor. Since it was also a canadian holiday - there were a zillion people launching from what seemed like 4 sailing sites.

That being said - Id go back again. I got beat up on a 3.5 towards the end of the trip - and was definitely outside my comfort zone. My sessions when we got back home - were excellent - felt like my sailing had improved a 100% - even though we did not have nearly as much time on the water as expected.

Im not dissing the gorge - I just wasnt one of those people that fell in love - sold everything and moved there. I think when people rave about the gorge - they forget some of the negatives. And although those negatives shouldnt stop people from going there - they can help people make better choices - on when they go and what they do when visiting.

Since returning someone told me that after there first one week trip to the gorge they decided they would never go back until they could put a three week trip together. He said he figured it took him a week just to figure the place out. After that he might enjoy it for two weeks.

Vic
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14046

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:42 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

DAMMIT!!!
I was two pages into an insightful, sympathetic, useful, three-page response, when this response window just disappeared from my screen. I presume I bumped some stupid CONTROL or COMMAND key while typing, and simply killed it. I GOTTA remember to disable that whole shortcut key function; it bites me far more often than it helps me.

Mike \m/
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:35 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

Wow, here are the conditions right now (Friday at 4 PM). Its freakin HOT AS HELL up here next to Wind Mtn. at 109f degrees (according to my reading), wind is blowin east averaging just 12.

The ONLY coastal site that is sailable at this hour is Floras Lake, averaging 17 with air temp at Cape Arago of 57f dgrees. Thats MORE than 50f degrees difference between coast and Gorge with hardly a puff of wind in the entire state of Oregon. So, choice is simple.... ya either freeze or melt today.

Good luck this weekend?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14046

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject: RE: The Gorge Reply with quote

Ok, Ok, Ill try it again, shorter (lucky you, Vic).

Yup, heat CAN shut down the Gorge . . . or put it in afterburner if Portland cools down, the eastern deserts cool down, or Porland just takes its own sweet time warming up on hot-interior summer morning. Or if the whole gorge is HOT and the coast is chilly, it can rip at the coast or at Jones Beach/Nuclear Alley. Many hundreds of gorge visitors have sweltered countless late-Aug-early-Sep days in triple digits and calm air in Hood River, not knowing it was blowing hot air 4.2 20 miles west or cool air 3.7 a couple of hours west. Besides, with or without wind, the OR coast is the finest, most interesting, most family-oriented, most fully accessible coast Ive seen from Key West to Novia Scotia or from WA to HI to San Diego or from Padre Island back to Key West again, and its usually cool to almost chilly and just three hours away. Before moving here, when I had to drive 20 hours/1,300 miles to get here, it was all just part of the gorge to me. And the gorge abounds with cool water recreation even when its 114 in The Dalles; think waterfalls, rapids, tubes, rafts, and kayaks.

Yup, you come here on summertime holiday weekends, and you will find hundreds, maybe thousands, of your closest friends with the same objective as you. All that just to save one lousy day of vacation time?

I dont think many of us who moved here -- broadly speaking -- forgot its many and varied negatives. We just found ways around them or try to ignore them in return for situations like my buds: he has a great very high-tech career, lives on two beautiful acres of graveyard-quiet rural land in a big new brick home that cost him less than tiny wooden hovels would in many cities, has three kids under three years old, has a five-minute commute in negligible traffic . . . and rips some of the finest conditions the Columbia has to offer over 80 days a year anywhere from 5 to 65 minutes from home or office . . . and thats without taking any vacation time. Now, Jim and I have all that minus the career and kids.

Thats worth some wintertime overcast and a few hot days every July.

My hats off to anyone who can figure the gorge out in just a week. iW and its predecessor and Bart and NOAA dont have it figured out yet, the guysngals who live in vans down by the river and do nuthin but chase wind 24/7 -- as I did for 12 years before moving here -- dont have it figured out yet, and the locals who actually live here and study wx forecasts every day -- as I do -- dont have it figured out yet. The next best thing to that elusive figuring it out nirvana is a tankful of gas, a Gorge Guide and an OR Coast guide, a vanful of food and WSing and camping gear, no ties to any lodging and restaurants, and a cell phone with iW on it. If THAT wont keep one entertained here, then maybe the gorge really isnt ones cup of tea. Most great vacations arent served at our tables; theyre self-made from the available ingredients.

That said, I STILL had to live in movies, libraries, or air conditioned lunch counters during some of those heat spells. When its over 100 degrees out on the Florence jetty and in the 80s at the Meadows, its time for the ice caves north of Hood River.

And if EVERYTHING else fails, theres always giant sails or jet skis.

Naaaah, its not THAT bad! -)

Mike \m/
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