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Gorge Culture (c426)

Of Gelato and Asphalt

Last week a snowstorm crippled Portland Metro . It wasn’t much of a storm really: it began at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, blanketed the city during rush hour, rolled up and over the Cascades, and dissipated by early afternoon. We could tell you about the traffic chaos, or how poorly Tri-Met dealt with the situation, or why sophisticated computer programs are superior to TV weather men with big smiles. But why not strap yourself into the passenger seat of Guest Writer Judith Gennett’s car and hang on? “PSU is closed! Portland is like a winter wonderland!” writes someone on my radio list. WOW! I say to myself. Sounds like a great opportunity to amortize my snow tires! I have my CDs and my computer and my camera and I'm ready to spin out onto I84. Out my Dalles City window, the ground is a depressing brown and bright green (Winter is when the grass comes alive!) but I know it will not last long. To the west the sky is white. I spin out, just like I said. Tiny flakes begin to spit as if from an Orator around Rowena, seven miles west. By the time I get to Hood River, the off ramp is puffy and white! The right lane is moist and black, but most vehicles have slowed down to 40 miles an hour. There are a few reasons that drivers go real slow in weather like this:

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Gorge Grown Envisions ’07

Gorge Grown Food Network is hosting a winter meeting at Celilo Restaurant in Hood River on January 22nd. Members, supporters and new-comers are welcome to attend. A menu has been prepared by chef Ben Stenn. RSVP is necessary—for more information visit Gorge Grown online. What makes some grassroots activism so successful? A just cause, global awareness, the commitment and hard work of dedicated community members? Yes, those are all essential ingredients of social change and reform—and Gorge Grown Food Network has all of that in spades. But they have something else that not all non-profit organizations can offer…great food and fine wine. GGFN Coordinator Katie McKendrick says Monday night’s gathering will be “a chance to share committee progress and needs, and plan for a Gorge Community Food Conference in late March 2007.” Also, GGFN is looking for ideas and volunteers to help take the highly successful Farmer’s Market on the road, creating a Moveable Feast this summer that can travel to several Gorge communities throughout the week—bringing it back to the people—and fostering this Gorge-wide cause...

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Fresh Snow, Fresh Tracks, and the Wilderness Close By

“What first caught my attention was the large imprint in the snow... Then I saw the blood, still a brilliant shade of red.” There will always be something special about being that first person to venture out into freshly fallen snow, especially when that snow is in your own backyard. My new favorite pastime, though, comes in the days to follow, as the snow slowly collects evidence of the wilderness around us. Last week, I followed the same set of deer tracks for three miles. It was the same route I’d taken numerous times before, but the addition of these tracks captured so perfectly in the snow made it seem new — almost magical. I found myself wondering, are the deer just as enthralled when they get to follow our tracks? I doubt it. As we focus our attention on the rate of development and urbanization happening all around us, it’s easy to forget just how close we are to the “call of the wild.” Paving a place, however, does not take it outside the realm of the wilderness, and it certainly does not make it ours. I received a relatively gentle reminder of this today. It was a little after 1 p.m. when I set off with my dog for the Twin Tunnels trail...

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Columbia Art Gallery Blushes

Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River launches the year with a RED art show. The public is invited to the artist reception on Friday, January 12, from 6-8 p.m., where even the appetizers will be RED. This show features art to brighten the gloom in the dead of winter. According to gallery manager Catherine Kiewit, “The entire gallery will be filled with art that features some shade of red --- red ceramics, red fiber art, art that’s realistic, art that’s abstract, glass, jewelry, watercolors, oil paintings. You name it. If it comes in a shade of red, it qualifies to be in the show.” She adds: “It’s amazing just how much diversity there can be in the color red…Be in for a big treat and for a very big dose of RED.”

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Gorge Adventurer Showing Expedition Film in Hood River

Local publisher and adventurer Dave Waag will be presenting a film about a team of friends, skiers, who made an expedition to the remote Altai Mountains in China. The one-hour film, Journey to the Source: The Search for Skiing’s Ancient Roots, will play Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at Dog River Coffee, in Hood River. Waag is probably best known as publisher of Off Piste, the back country ski magazine. He was one of the three members of the Altai expedition; it was a six-week outing in the spring of 2005. The Altai comprise a range of mountains between China, Mongolia and Russia. Besides remote and much un-schussed terrain, the mountains are home to a hardy, semi-nomadic people for whom skiing is a way of life. Some people believe that skiing began in this region of Central Asia, and later migrated to Scandinavia, later to emerge in Alpine Europe and the United States. Waag recently consented to answer a few questions in advance of the film: New West: How did the Altai expedition come about?...

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Do It In The Gorge, Personalized

Guest writer and book connoisseur Cynthia Christensen of The Book Stop in Hood River hosts sports writer Christian Knight this First Friday. Those who can, do. Those who won’t, read about it. Not exactly the old adage, but whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or, like me, prefer your adventures on the written page, Christian Knight's new book Out There: An Adventure Guide to the Gorge is a fun and personalized view of the people, places, and things to do in the Columbia River Gorge. While it’s true that there are dozens of hiking and outdoor guides about the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood areas, Knight's book is unique because of his personal take on each and every activity. He has gone on every hike, pulled himself up every climbing crag, and jumped feet first into every hidden swimming hole. Fused into each entry, he chronicles the adventures of our local daredevils and trail blazers, many of them his good friends. Nothing livens up a camping site listing like a story of a bunch of rough guys learning how some judicious "snuggling" will keep group of campers warm (I read that story twice!)

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Coming of Age in the Gorge: The Next Generation Gets Online

Several years ago I read (in a ‘top ten best places to live’ list in some glossy, outdoorsy mag or another) that status in Hood River was determined “by the size of the rack on the top of your Subaru.” The implication was that Gorge folks are both obsessive adventure junkies and spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing our adventures. … Well, the same is true for our kids. Many people move to the area expressly to raise a family (that was my excuse.) Not only do Gorge children live large and play hard in the outdoors, but there are dozens of youth appropriate entertainment and cultural events available every month. The only problem was that our region, divided as it is between two states and comprising several distinct townships, lacked a unified source of information and event listings. Web designer Dee Holzman saw a need for a family oriented, Gorge-wide information clearing house and in 2000 launched the gorgekids.com website. I interviewed Dee about her hugely successful, ongoing project which is probably the most recognizable regional online community in the Gorge...

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Catwalk Chic at the Tenth Annual Melika GALA Fasion Show

Time to ditch that old fleece and bust out the blingbling because the elite of local fashion are staging their annual haute couture extravaganza to benefit the Hood River County Christmas Project. Twenty local businesses will be participating in this years show to be held on November 16th at 7:30pm at the Hood River Inn's Gorge Room. Trendy boutiques like Parts + Labour, Plenty, and Frolik will be part of the mix as well as Columbia Gorge clothing essentials from Windwear, Doug's Sports, and Mt. Hood Meadows. And artisit Mark Nilsson contributes his own unique flair with hand painted, one of kind apparel. Originally started in 1923 by Hood River Elks, the Christmas Project provides assistance to low-income families and seniors of Hood River County during the holiday season. Over the years, the fundraiser has morphed into a full-blown fashion 'event' incorporating local boutiques, artists, and who's who of Hood River Glitterati. Last year over 520 families received food and toy baskets and this year the show will be even bigger... The Gala's organizer, former model and Hood River native Cathy Carter, says she tries to get at many people businesses and volunteers as she can. "Not only is it a really fun night," says Carter, "it promotes and raises money for such a worthwhile cause! I just can't thank all who participate enough." Carter background in modeling, public relations and marketing made her a natural to for her role as event coordinator. The show has sold out year after year and has finally burst is seams out of its original venue and the Hood River Hotel. The show will be followed immediately by a dance party with Gorge mix masters Mike and Tim of AREA 54. And if you haven't boogied with AREA 54, frankly darling, you haven't boogied in the Gorge.

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Heartwarming Art for a Cold First Friday

The Hood River First Friday Artwalk might be a bit chilly tonight but the subject matter should make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Columbia Center for the Arts has joined with PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs), to bring to the Gorge a series of art events featuring local pets Yes—our beloved local pets! Now, it is no secret that Gorge-folks are gaga about their dogs or that Hood River’s predilection for whimsical, off-beat art consistently sets the tone for local flair. So, it was only a matter of time before someone combined these two fanciful tendencies of Gorge life. And that someone was Judie Hanel, former director of the CCA and now curator of the “Paw Prints” art show, a month long series of events celebrating pets in art and pets at art.

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Turn Out the Lights—The Season is Over

The Columbia Gorge put the finishing touches on another tourist season last weekend. An estimated 20,000 festival-goers converged at the fruity finale, Harvest Fest, to eat, shop and take in the country air. Although the event is centered at the Expo Center of the Port of Hood River the droves quickly spill over to the downtown, the valley, and all along the Gorge. Day trippers from Portland are the bread and butter of the Gorge tourist economy I am sure I was first lured to the Gorge by one of the countless festivals. Was it Blossom Fest? Maybe Hood Fest? I can’t remember. As the years go by I notice festivals less and instead find myself irritated by the busy streets, crowded beaches, booked-out restaurants. I used to love being in the middle of such a happening, frenetic hotspot. But lately, I find myself migrating up-hill during the busy season. Yes—despite the all the benefits of this booming economic engine—sometimes it’s hard to share...

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