Crowd Control

I finally got out windsurfing the other day, though to actually call my actions windsurfing would be quite generous. More than anything it was swimming with gear, a new watersport that I am pioneering that draws on my skills at both kiteboarding and windsurfing. I am the ultimate crossover. I do both sports to equal degrees of mediocrity.

Perhaps I am unfair, as I now realize that is has been nearly four years since I last went windsurfing. That would have been the summer of 2003, the first summer I ever spent in Hood River. To speak of milestones, as of last Tuesday it’s been exactly four years since I first moved to Hood River. In my time since that summer I’ve been dabbling exclusively in kiteboarding, and my windsurfing certainly hasn’t progressed as a result of my monomania.

Luckily I still have my waterstarts down, but they’re pretty weak-sauce at this point. I’m familiar with using the footstraps and harness, but to be honest I get kinda freaked out when I flip into the water, and end up stuck under my sail while still hooked into my lines. Like, most people do these sports because they consider them fun, and I assume that’s why I do them as well, but it seems like I’m still at the point where my sessions are fueled by raw fear more than anything else.

I enjoy a good challenge as much as the next guy, but if these sports don’t start feeling more enjoyable and less life-threatening, suffice it to say we’re going to have words.

Anywho, today I went for a hike in the woods and learned that rural Washington celebrates Memorial Day Weekend with beer, guns and trucks. I was driving down a one-lane logging road outside of Trout Lake and every open space alongside the road had been converted into a makeshift campsite, filled with a truck, a tent from Sam’s Club, and people reclining in folding chairs. One group had a particularly impressive spread located on a beautiful stream, with ten mud-covered trucks and enough coolers to match.

In the end I wound up hiking around the Natural Bridges area, a section of trail where an old lava tube had mostly caved in, leaving behind a number of free-standing bridges. There were some neat cliffs and shallow caves to explore, but I turned around when I realized I was getting closer to the din of gunfire.