A family of ducks swims along Devils Lake, river otters play across Lake Merwin, and a kayak tour floats along the water. When Tracie Driver started NorthWest EcoExcursions, she envisioned a recreation company that would combine outdoor thrills with respect for the environment. To this end, NorthWest's guides, who each boast either a postgraduate education or more than 10 years in park-ranger experience, educate their customers on local wildlife and geology during trips that run the gamut from hiking to whale watching to goat-packing tours. The staff also maintains eco-friendly practices, serving strictly organic foods on camping trips and ensuring all of their office's plants are 100% solar powered.
Sasquatch Adventures strives to unite nature lovers with the tranquil landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. The outdoor sports outfit runs most of its excursions on scenic Silver Lake, tucked in the shadow of one of the U.S.'s most famous volcanoes, Mt. St. Helens. Experienced tour guides—all CPR-certified—lead kayak trips on the waters as well as fishing trips tailored around certain types of fish native to the waters. Each guide possesses a wealth of knowledge about the region in order to point out local wildlife, share tips on sustainable fishing practices, and engage in conversations about local sports teams.
Locals who frequent the nine holes of Skyline Golf Course have taken to calling it Cathlamet’s “Emerald Gem.” With its undulating fairways and scenic views of the Columbia River Basin, the course offers little to challenge this honored epithet. Designed by architect Ralph Rodahl, its treacherous doglegs and ponds have been distracting hole-bound balls for nearly half a century. Among Rodahl’s most challenging designs are two holes at par 5 and two at par 3, each of which requires golfers to navigate a fairway rife with hazards and packs of feral golf carts.
Situated near the first tee, an ample driving range allows for long-distance practice before setting off to conquer the high-risk, high-reward course. After the round, players can replenish with a cold refreshment or savory snack on the clubhouse deck, or upgrade their golf gear with a new sleeve of golf balls from the pro shop or a cyborg caddy from the future.
Course at a Glance:
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
A certified Surfing America member school, Oregon Surf Adventures preaches wave riding fundamentals and sea-sport safety. This three-hour beginner group lesson (a $198 value) includes gear rental (a $30 value), outfitting pupil duos with soft top boards, Quiksilver wetsuits, gloves, booties, and a temporary ability to command ocean creatures. With all instructors trained in first aid and CPR, classes maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio and begin with 45 minutes of schooling upon dry land. The salty syllabus then moves on to topics such as ocean awareness, water safety, equipment use, and Emily Post's surf etiquette.
Since 1959, St. Helens Golf Course, just a short 30-minute drive from Portland, has enveloped golfers in a quiet serenity as they propel their golf balls along its nine holes. Before tackling the course, players shake the rust off their short games on the putting and chipping green and perfect their wind-ups inside the hitting cage. The course’s relatively short layout and lack of crowds enables players to finish a round quickly and leave the rest of the day for daydreaming about perfect putts and whittling tees into figurines of favorite golfers.
Course at a Glance: