Okay, let’s get it out the way: The bike camping trip I just took out to Ainsworth State Park in the Columbia River Gorge was not the best of times. It was wet. Wetter than expected. And yes, there’s always the threat of rain out this way in March, and we got a little rain the last couple times we came out here in March. (It’s an annual tradition for Nate’s spring break.)
But there’s a little, and there’s a lot. A little was what was forecast, and it was a dry ride out for the most part, except for a five minute shower. “If this is the type of rain we get, then it’ll be okay.” But no, it wasn’t. Around 4 pm, just before Multnomah Falls, it started to rain. And it didn’t stop until about 10pm. Now, it was no downpour, but it was just a good steady, driving rain, where you knew that you would not be dry. At all. And this type of rain is not typical here, as we usually get “bands” that pass through every couple hours. This time, there would be no relief until it was done.
We did have a tarp for the campsite, which came in handy when it was set up. But we were all already soaked by that point. And our meek fire just made our damp clothes steam. (Originally we had hoped to lure the three folks in the hiker-biker site over to hang out with us, with the promise of the fire. But I think hanging out in a tent was a better option.)
Of course, the four of us (myself, Nate, Ed, James) could have just packed it all in, as it’s only a twenty-something mile ride back to civilization, but dammit, we had booked this site weeks in advance! (To note: Even with the crap weather, the campground was still mostly full.) We didn’t want to admit defeat, and besides, it’s easier to deal with situations like this when you have company, even if all you talk about is wishing the rain would just stop.
Sorry that this is not a “happy” camping post! (And it didn’t help that the other tourist attractions in the Gorge were a zoo, and I passed by Angel’s Rest just when the rescue team was to pull out the guy who fell 150 feet down a cliff.) Hopefully the next trip will be better. But here are a few positives:
- It’s always nice to see the Columbia Gorge. If anything, it’s getting me excited about the Three Speed Camping Weekend in June.
- I get to restock my cool postcards when I visit the gift shops at Vista House and Multnomah Falls!
- And I found a new-to-me overlook! When I stopped to use the bathroom at Bridal Veil (since the one at Multnomah Falls featured a long line), I noticed a paved path leading off the parking lot. It brought me to a nice and uncrowded overlook spot where I got a good view of Cape Horn on the Washington side of the river.