|Subject: Re: Oregon|
I'm so glad you'll be taking some time to explore my wonderful home state!
It sounds as if you're arriving at Portland airport & will return there.
The definitive website for the area is at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/forest/
Driving east thru the Columbia Gorge you'll go from temperate rain forest of the western slope of the Cascade range to the high desert environment of the eastern slope. Stop at Multnomah Falls &/or take a walk up one of the many canyons along the way. We've had so much rain this spring that waterfalls & creeks will still be in spate. The old scenic hiway winds along the crest of the Gorge & Council Bluff is a fab viewpoint.
If you want some sweet hiking, I can give you directions to Cave on the Winds on the Washington side. It's easily accessed at Bridge of the Gods. Nearby Indian Heaven wilderness is famous for terrific huckleberries (too early), huge mosquitos, bears & fine hiking.
If you go all the way thru Hood River towards The Dalles, you'll pass thru some of the ancient native salmon fishing grounds. Hood River today is a mecca for windsurfing. Good fun.
A little further east on the Washington side is Maryhill, an interesting museum in the middle of nowhere.
Going south on the eastern slope of Mt Hood is a lovely drive. Take time to go up to Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood for lunch, dinner or overnite. The Lodge, built by CCC troops in the 30's, is one of Oregon's treasures & serves a wicked berry cobbler. There are wonderful hikes around the Lodge & high-mountain lilies should still be in bloom. If the naturally heated pool is open, it's a treat to float in the warm water & look up at the mountain right in front of you.
None of these areas are huge tourist draws, & remember that we tend to think that 15 people on a trail represents overcrowding!
I need to consult my maps at home to give you more advice about what to do after Mt Hood....there are tons of options that involve 15 or fewer other people, but since you have so little time I want to choose the best of the best. I'll do that later today & add another email. Distances are deceiving out here: on the freeway it's about 5.5 hours straight driving from Portland to Ashland but the routes you are considering are not going to be fast.
Since my beloved Oregon Bach Festival is coming to a close after 4 extremely intense weeks, we also might want to try for a GTG. I actually have some free time! I have got the hiking itch but bad, so it'll be good for me to identify where I want to go first.
Regards, Gail In Eugene