Skamania Lodge Retreat

“What is the difference between exploring and being lost?”
~Dan Eldon

On the weekend, when I have loose plans to go hiking, I’m pretty open to stopping anywhere that inspires me along the road. Today, I had every intention of heading all the way to Hood River to do some Columbia River Gorge exploring. While driving along Interstate 84, I saw a sign for Skamania Lodge and elected for a change in plans.

My folks have talked about Skamania Lodge before (they had a work conference there a few years ago), and how they’d like to spend a relaxing weekend enjoying the lodge’s views, hiking trails, and golf course. To get to the lodge from I84, you cross the Bridge of the Gods and follow the signs. Once there, you really wouldn’t need to leave the grounds, although there are a plethora of activities within 15-30 minutes of the lodge by car.

Skamania Lodge is impressive. It’s situated in the forest, on a hilltop overlooking the Columbia River. The grounds are both rustic and pristine, natural and mindful of the lodge’s setting. The golf course and hiking trails complement each other perfectly, and while on my hike on Lake Loop Trail I meandered along several golf holes (and critiqued the golfers who were playing; most were pretty skilled!).

I love finding peaceful retreats like this that are close to home and still feel like a departure from my everyday routine. When you head east from Portland, the air feels drier and the vegetation changes so drastically you feel like you’ve traveled further away than 60 miles. The landscape changes in the Pacific Northwest are pretty remarkable, and it’s no wonder why I’m so fond of this part of the world.

After my hike, I sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a summer ale. The smell of fresh air and pine needles punctuated the end of a great day. As I sat there, relaxing and enjoying the moment, a wedding was being set up on the lawn in front of the lodge, with gorgeous views of the gorge as the ceremony’s backdrop. The couple couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to begin their life together as man and wife.

What a joy to discover Skamania Lodge, only an hour and a half away from Portland!

Image credits: Jet Set With Mary
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