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The Columbia Gorge is the final stretch of the Columbia River that passes to the south of Washington State, and to the north of Oregon before it ends at Portland and the Pacific Ocean. Due to the hot, desert-like area on the inland end of the river, and the cool air from the Pacific, there is almost always a steady wind blowing from West to East along this stretch of river. This may be a burden if but it sure is great if you like to windsurf. About 250 days of the year, there is grad wind. The Gorge is considered one of the premier windsurfing locations in North America.
I have ventured south three times so far to take advantage of the awesome wind. This is no little feat, as it's a 14 hour drive from Calgary. The main windsurfing town is Hood River, with a population of apprximately 15,000. You can tell the impact windsurfing has on the economy there, since 18 windsurfing stores were in existence the last time I counted. If you are interested in making a trip there for the first time, you should try to find a magazine called The Gorge Guide to give you all the info you really need. There are also nice beaches and warm weather in the summer for those people who don't want to surf. For more information, see the Gorge Home Page.
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Favourite Campground: Viento State Park - This campground is the Oregon State Park that is nearest to Hood River. Although sandwiched between the interstate and the railway, it does offer windsurfing within a 150m from your tent. The facilities are nice, and the sites all have power and water. The 248 acres also offer hiking trails nearby.
Location: 13km west of Hood River on I-84
Size: 63 sites + 5 tent sites
Favourite Activities: Windsurfing. Need I say more?