Arriving at Hood River my good friend Jake Lahr came out of the house and gave me a big hug, we hadn't seen each other in about 2 years so it was awesome to visit for a few days. We talked past times as kids, hitch hiking and surfing stories it was great to catch up. Nina and I got there kind of late so we all walked down to grocery store where we scooped up some steaks and asparagus for us, seems to be a staple meal. We grubbed out, watched Bad Santa for a bit then Nina and I crawled into the turtle shell (the truck cap) and passed out. Waking up Jake stuck a note on the cap the said " If you guys want a shower their is one downstairs feel free to hop in!" we did of course, because we've been paying for showers at most of the campgrounds. Jake got home around 10am and took us on this killer hike, but before that we stopped at a sturgeon hatchery along the gorge, where a 10ft sturgeon was kept in a tiny tank hovering in place only wishing he could roam the free waters of Oregon. I couldn't imagine seeing one in the wild of that size, they're a beautiful prehistoric fish that'd I had only seen on TV, so it was rad to see them in person. Back to the hike it was about 6 miles round trip along side of a wet muddy mountain with waterfalls everywhere, hiking under and around them. It was beautiful and so nice it wasn't wasn't raining so we could enjoy what the area has to offer, we stopped at the place where Jake wanted to jump off the waterfall, the water was so clear and inviting we all took our boots and socks off rolled up are jeans and walked out into the frigid river to see around the corner where up the ways another bigger waterfall lurked. Jake was contemplating the whole time about jumping because he couldn't see the bottom to see if any down trees where there. But Jake didn't hike his wetsuit and boots in for nothing so he stripped down naked on the rocks, suited up and waded across the river and found the spot to jump, he waited some more then ran and sprung himself over the edge into the cold water. He popped up a few seconds later letting out a yewwww! He changed out of his suit and we hiked out to my truck and up to the best burger joint i've ever been too, all of us ordered double bacon cheese burgers and fries, devouring them like a shark on a seal as we had hiked up quite the appetite. We headed back to Jakes aunts, dropped him off and Nina and I went to a laundromat for a few hours and cleaned up our dirty clothing from the past 8 days or so on the road. Laundromats aren't so bad after all, they're quite peaceful, we looked over the Oregon state parks magazine and found the campground we were going to stay at the next night and The Cove Palisades State Park was the golden ticket. Heading back to the house we hung out with Jake for a bit, he hopes to start up a landscaping business out there this spring and I couldn't be more stoked for him. Nina and I crawled into the turtle shell watched Nestor the long eared Christmas Donkey and passed out. We awoke knowing it'd be our last day, so we all walked down the street to a small coffee shop to grab some grub before we left. I love Hood River and hope to go back, Jake is the definition of a wanderer and I look up to him for that. It's tough saying good bye to a good child hood friend but i'll be back sooner than later. Next up, Mt Hood, sliding around Crater Lake, and my truck cap turns into an ice box.
So long Jake & Hood River