Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Mt Hood, Oregon
The winds on the Columbia River Gorge were far too strong for stand-up paddleboarding when we arrived on its shores. According to friend Kirby Neumann-Rae, Editor of the Hood River News, the winds were “nukin.” That didn’t stop the windsurfers and kiteboarders from hitting the water and the air in this wind tunnel that separates Oregon from Washington. Neumann-Rae soon led my brother and me on a drive away from the river to the fertile valley backed by the snowcapped peaks of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Called the Fruit Loop, a 35-mile drive leads to pear orchards, fields of lavender, alpaca farms, farm stands, wineries, and an emerging hard cider scene. This is not the cloyingly sweet beverage you’re accustomed to drinking. We made three stop at HR ciderworks, Fox-Tail Cider, and Hood Valley Hard Cider, and were surprised that the drink tasted more like dry sparkling wine than apple juice. It was crisp, refreshing, and could easily be paired with the Chinook salmon and steelhead trout the region is known for. Sample the cider on the back deck picnic tables of the Solera Brewpub in Parkdale and you’ll be mesmerized by the spectacular view of Mount Hood.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.