The word was out in late June and early July that the summer season in the Gorge was late this year. A cool and unstable weather pattern has persisted over the northwest since April, and coupled with record spring run-off in the Columbia River, many visitors had delayed their annual windsurfing trip. It’s rare that clouds and rain make it to Hood River in July, but with the weird weather we even had an inch of rain Monday night; unheard of during the summer.
When I arrived at Roosevelt on Thursday at noon, both parking lots were full and the only parking left was on the side of the road. Someone must have sent out a memo! The river is over a mile wide between Arlington and Roosevelt, so everyone was spread out and having a great time in the 4.7-5.2 conditions. There was even some decent swell on the Arlington side of the river when the wind picked up around 4 and continued into the evening. It’s not uncommon for Roosevelt and Arlington to pick up in the early evening and continue until dark.
Roosevelt Park is a great place to camp with nice bathrooms and showers thanks to the US Army Corp of Engineers. There’s a two week limit on camping, but with so many great places to visit and sail in the Gorge, it’s not a problem. Just remember to bring all the supplies you’ll need for your stay, since the nearest grocery store is 50 miles away.
The landscape has changed in the eastern Gorge in the last few years with the addition of several wind farms. Looking south from Roosevelt, the Oregon side of the Columbia is dotted with wind turbines. Not everyone would agree, but I think they look great, especially since they represent energy independence and a cleaner environment. Hope to see you on the beach soon, Gary