Indian Creek Golf Course's layout snakes through the Hood River Valley between a network of sprawling orchards and wineries with panoramic views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams creating a dramatic backdrop. Water comes into play on 11 holes, including three creeks that bisect fairways to disrupt play and tempt players to take fairway naps to the melodic babbling of their playing partners. On the par 5 fourth hole, precision is paramount, as the dogleg right is entirely fortified by water to the right and the small, narrow green make short putts strenuous with hard-to-read-breaks.
Indian Creek Golf Course won an Environmental Excellence award from Audubon International for its efforts in areas of wildlife and habitat management, chemical-use reduction, and water-quality management. The course and its surrounding land act as a sanctuary to a variety of wildlife, including several species of caddies now endangered because rampant cart use. Course at a Glance: * Par 72 * Three sets of tees * 6,150 yards from the back tees * Rating of 70.8 and slope of 128 from the back tees
Windsurfing on placid rivers. Snapping photos of gushing waterfalls. Scaling snow-covered mountains. Backpacking through teeming forests. The landscape at Columbia Gorge Teen Camps lends itself perfectly to the to the diverse needs of the four camps that take place on its grounds each summer: windsurfing, photography, climbing and mountaineering, and high adventure. Windsurfers practice their craft for about three hours a day, while budding photographers spend almost all day in the field, hiking up to 5 miles to nab shots of Mt. Hood and stage high-fashion shoots of fish in Hood River. Smith Rock State Park serves as a part-time base camp for climbing campers, and high-adventure campers conclude their hiking, biking, and canoeing explorations with a trek up Mt. St. Helens. No matter what their chosen camp, each camper will have access to outdoor activities such as kayaking, biking, and volleyball. The idea for Columbia Gorge Teen Camps came from Dr. Bob Hanson, Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University. Noticing a lack of outdoor camps, he founded Columbia Gorge as a place where teens could be enriched, challenged, and motivated by nature. His staff upholds his original mission through activities designed to build character and independence in kids on the brink of starting college, entering the work force, or telling their parents that they’re ready to see rated-R movies.
Nestled alongside the Columbia River and the majestic stone cliffs carved through the millennia, Skamania Lodge's 175 acres are a breathtaking venue for golf. Cleaved through towering pines, the 18-hole, par-70 course immerses players in a wilderness inhabited by deer, turtles, geese, raccoons, osprey, and other species striving to steal humanity's golf-cart technology. But the course capitalizes on its native surroundings without undermining its function as a natural ecosystem, earning certification for its sustainable practices from Audubon International.
Still, on the course, the photogenic scenery sometimes seems to pale in comparison to the golf experience itself. Tree-lined fairways, sharp elevation changes, and Columbia gorge winds make accurate shotmaking a must, and water hazards complicate passage on multiple holes. The 14th, for instance, cuts the green off from the fairway with a creek, cradles it from behind with another water hazard, and shifts elevation so fast that it's named "The Waterfall." To help prepare for challenges such as these, golfers can warm up at a practice facility that includes a driving range, a practice bunker, and greens for chipping and putting.
In 1971, a group of like-minded locals set out to build a golf course amid the natural splendor of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Setting to work on the Washington-side of the mighty Columbia River, they dedicated their time, labor, and resources to setting their loop against the backdrop of Beacon Rock and Archer Mountain. The course itself may now be over the hill, but those imposing peaks still loom high above golfers as they make their way through the 18-hole layout. Along the way, players encounter the watery threat of Hardy Creek, plenty of tree groves, and smooth-rolling greens?not to mention enough picturesque views to distract focus from important iron shots and pre-putt tai chi routines.
At Stone Free Climbing, rock climbing isn't an indoor sport. The company's experienced guides lead day and weekend trips to natural rock formations, such as Smith National Park's volcanic tuft. Each trip accommodates new and seasoned climbers alike, and adventurers can leave their suction clogs at home since all necessary gear is provided. To prep ambitious scalers for solo jaunts, the Stone Free Climbing experts also lead mountain navigation courses, teaching students to use GPS equipment, find routes, and read topographical maps.
The lifetime anglers and sturgeon wranglers at Sky's Guide Service cast their nets over the fish-packed purses of Portland, steering rodman recruits and seasoned reelers toward the perfect catch. Check the species calendar and choose a salmon or sturgeon adventure. From March until May, up to six passengers can set sail on a sturdy custom Willie Raptor jet sled down the Columbia or Willamette River, where a school of coveted spring Chinook salmon recite their last rites. Known as the world's most prized eating salmon, these floppy fortresses of sweet meat pack enough omega-3 fatty acids to make the human heart grow a chamber orchestra in its left ventricle. Continuing into April, sturgeon kidnappers chart the waters to corral these gigantic, delicious aquamonsters into their unmarked vans. Sturgeon are excellent fighters with brave appetites, working in packs to chomp five rods at the same time when they're not busy driving buffets out of business.