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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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30 April Events in SW Washington to Get You Out of the House!

It’s time to ignore the never-ending rain and get out of the house. From film to flowers, hiking to kayaking, contra to Indian dances, there are no excuses. See you out there!

WSU-V Native American Film Festival

April 4-6Native American Film Festival– Washington State University Vancouver is offering a Native American Film Series at 5:30 p.m. in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110. The series is free and open to the public. Each evening opens with a 30-minute guest lecture at 5:30 p.m. followed by the film screening at 6 p.m. Each film in the series addresses Native -American experiences with boarding schools. The speakers and films are:

April 4, “Older Than America” – Georgina Lightning, the film’s director and actress, will speak before the screening. In this contemporary drama of suspense, a woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school.

April 5, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School” – Jacqueline Peterson, WSU Vancouver professor emerita of history, will speak before the screening. This documentary uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of western society.

April 6, “The Only Good Indian” – Grace L. Dillon associate professor, indigenous nations studies at Portland State University will speak before the screening. In this film, set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian “training” school to assimilate into white society.

April 5First Thursday – Downtown Longview and Kelso  – Galleries and the Cowlitz County Historical Museum  are open in the evening with receptions at various galleries.

 April 6Full Moon Hikes at Ridgefield  National Wildlife Refuge . Evening hike, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the Oaks to Wetlands trail at the Refuge. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 360-887-3883 for reservations and details.

 April 6 – As always, there are multiple First Fridays around Clark County including Vancouver, Ridgefield and Camas. For details check out the Arts of Clark County calendar.

In Downtown Vancouver – At 7 p.m., don’t miss the unveiling of the latest addition of public art to downtown Vancouver – a sculpture by Dave and Jennifer at Cobalt Designworks installed at Evergreen and Main. No excuses for staying in on the first Friday of the month!

In Downtown Camas – Visit each participating merchant, pick an egg out of the basket and see if you can select the Golden Egg!  Special deals are inside each golden egg at each of the participating merchants!

First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival

April 7First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival –  Noon – 8 p.m. The inaugural event features this year’s release of Walking Man Brewing’s Iron Man Imperial IPA, live music, hot food and a chance to sample a variety of Strong Ales from various breweries. Held in honor of “Iron Man Jim Caldwell.” Skamania County Fairgrounds. Admission.

April 7Vintage Fishing Gear Show – Display and show at 9 a.m. at the spring meeting of the NW regional of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. Red Lion Hotel in Kelso. Details at 360-274-8045. Admission.

April 7Klickitat Trail Conservancy Birding walk – 7 a.m. Lyle trailhead  – 3-4 miles. This is a special area. From the Conservancy: “The Klickitat Trail follows the first 31 miles of an old railroad corridor linking the towns of Lyle and Goldendale.  It is unique among rail trails. Nowhere else is there a rail trail that starts in a remote, beautiful tributary canyon, winds along a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River, and finishes in one of the nation’s only National Scenic Areas.”

 April 7-9Razor Clam Dig! – Three beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch – will be open for morning razor clam digging all three days. Mocrocks will be open for two days, April 7-8, and Copalis will be open April 7 for one day only. Get the details here. Here is a ZEST post about our first excursion digging those delicious bivalves.

April 7-29Columbia River Kayaking has  a plethora of kayaking trips for beginners and experienced kayakers. Check out their calendar of trips here.  The river is really high right now. Be dry, safe and plan accordingly! Trips begin at their Paddle Center in Skamokawa unless otherwise listed.

April Contra in the Couve Caller Mary Devlin

April 13Contra in the Couve – Vancouver has a contra dance on the second Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. New and experience dancers welcome! Popular Portland caller Mary Devlin will be calling the dance. 

April 13-28Magenta Theater – Downtown Vancouver’s always entertaining theater company presents Hitchcock’s 39 Steps. Tickets are available here.

April 14Battle Ground Wine Loop – You can take the Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour bus around the loop for just $5 per person. It will make the loop all day long. Just hop on and off at each of the three participating wineries – Rusty Grape Vineyards, Heisen House Vineyards  and Olequa Cellars. Or take a designated chauffeur and drive the scenic 7-mile loop if you prefer.  Small tasting fees may apply at each location. Battle Ground Wine Loop from noon – 6, followed by live music after at Rusty Grape starting at 7 p.m.

April 14Klickitat Trail Conservancy Wildflower Walk – 10 a.m. 4 miles – Starting at the Lyle trailhead. Easy to moderate.

April 14-15Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Winners of the Young Artist Competition will perform  the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Also All Classical’s Edmund Stone will narrate A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn with a performance by the Willamette University Chamber Choir. Buy Vancouver Symphony tickets here.

April 14-21Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week –   Immerse yourself in India! Columbia Theatre offers a wonderful schedule of events, culminating with a April 21 performance of Ragamala Dance (see below). Lots of events happening on Saturday, April 14 including Indian food, music, yoga, henna, fighting kites and “Bollywood Movez” dance lessons.

Holland American Bulb Farm Show Field

 

April 14-15 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

April 15Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield, WA –   The Plankhouse opens the season with a special presentation at 2 p.m. by Dr. Robert Carriker who will present “A Student in the Pacific Northwest: Sacagawea Travels the Columbia River.” Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon – 4 p.m.

April 19Sakura Festival – 1-4 p.m. To celebrate the breathtaking cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring, Clark College hosts an annual festival for the college and the region. The festival also honors Vancouver’s sister-city relationship with Joyo, Japan, which was established in 1995. This year, the Festival will also dedicate the new Royce Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden.

April 21Hometown Tourism Day – Many Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County sites and museums are working together to promote Hometown Tourism Day. Check out the list of locations.

April 21Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike through Swale Canyon – 9 a.m. Lyle trailhead – 13 miles – strenuous. Early flowers should be at peak. The Trail is railroad gravel in places, so sturdy boots are needed.

April 21Kalama Word Catcher –  Writers take note – You can spend the entire day exploring your craft with an excellent roster of instructors including Larry Colton and Carolyn J. Rose. This is a benefit for the Kalama Public Library. Pre-register here.

April 21Columbia Theatre presents Ragamala Dance – 7:30 p.m. The classical dance troupe will perform “Sacred Earth” as part of the Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week sponsored by Columbia Theatre. Tickets available here.

April 21Trout Lake Run – The Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K running/walking events start and finish at Trout Lake School, which is the beneficiary of the event.

April 21Earth Day Celebrations – Lots happening around SW Washington. Check your local papers and Web sites!

April 21-22 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

April 21 – May 13Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Lilac Days –  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Hulda Klager’s farm home and beautiful gardens will be open and lilac plants and gifts will be offered for sale in a lovely gift shop. During Lilac Days, the farmhouse will feature a display of vintage hats and accessories. Admission.  This is easily combined with a visit to the tulip festival! Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days.

April 27-29Home and Garden Idea Fair –  The fair features hundreds of ideas on how to make your home, yard and garden a more beautiful, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly place. Sponsored by Clark Public Utilities.

April 28Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike from the town of Klickitat to Pitt – 9:30 a.m. Lyle trailhead – easy walk.

If these aren’t enough events to get you out of the house, check your local newspapers for more ideas!

April 1, 2012   No Comments

September: Anime, Alpacas and Art plus Roller Dolls and a Rod Run

With summer winding down, there aren’t as many events happening around the region. But if quality trumps quantity, it will be a great month to tour the area.

September 3-5Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trip – The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad will be taking 10 mile trips out of Yacolt on Labor Day Weekend. Check the Web site for reservations.

September 3-5Kumoricon – Anyone who is interested in Japanese anime should head to the Kumoricon 2011 convention in downtown Vancouver. Events will be at the Hilton Hotel and the Red Lion at the Quay. Anime lovers in costume will be wandering the streets. Should be very interesting!

Kayaks along the Columbia

September 9-18 Lower Columbia River Kayak Roundup – These folks are into serious kayaking! It’s a great way to explore the Puget Island area. is an instructional retreat for kayakers of all levels. 2011 will be the 5th and final event. Full-day and half-day classes are offered on the weekend, and intensive multi-day programs are offered during the week.

The Rainy City Roller Dolls

September 10Roller Derby! – Centralia’s Rainy City Roller Dolls take on Salem Oregon’s Cherry City Derby Girls at the Back to School Beat Down.

Cars in a Past Rod Run

September-10-1128th Annual Rod Run to the End of the World – A mass of vintage cars are expected for this annual auto gathering in Ocean Park. But it’s not just about the cars. Jamie’s Rock & Roll Legends with Elvis, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline & Connie Francis will perform live on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The beach will be rocking this weekend!

Seattle's jazzy Groove for Thought

September 11Groove for Thought – They were fabulous on The Sing-Off (watch their performance here) and now the Seattle a cappella singing group performs a fundraising matinee concert for Pearson Air Museum. Get your tickets here.

Alpaca from the 2009 Tour

September 1713th Annual Clark County Harvest Celebration Day – Nine farms will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a great way to see rural Clark County and it’s free!

September 17 and 18ARTrails – Check out the 9th Annual ARTrails Open Studio Tour. This self-guided, free event takes you though the towns and backroads of Lewis County to visit the artists and studios of Lewis County.

September 30 & October 1 Columbia River Country Days and Grays River Covered Bridge Dinner – There will be a Farmer’s Market, Pumpkin Patch, Farm Tours,
Old Time Auction, and an October 1st dinner at Grays River Covered Bridge. For more information, call 360-795-3278

September 2, 2011   No Comments

Expedition Explores Lake River, Discovers the Mouth of Salmon Creek!

It was a rare hot day in late June when we set off from the shores of Vancouver Lake Park – four explorers, three kayaks (two Necky Narpas and a brand new Folbot Greenland II ), with views of five mountains (St Helens, Hood, Adams and even Rainier and Jefferson).

View of Mount St Helens from Vancouver Lake Park

Mt Hood and Youth Regatta at the Vancouver Lake Sailing Club

Paddling behind the lake’s main island, we arrived at the opening to Lake River about 45 minutes later. The south end of this water route to the Columbia River was busy at Felida Moorage, a unique collection of floating homes of various ages and styles, and boat ramp users.

Expedition members sans the photographer's boat

Paddling toward Felida Moorage on Lake River

The strenuous paddle paid off just beyond the houseboats with an osprey nest perched above the channel. Osprey parents and two chicks wearily watched us watching them from their stick-filled condo on a power pole.

The osprey family watching us watch them

We had heard rumors that it was possible to paddle from the Salmon Creek Greenway to Lake River so, after a floating lunch in the boats, we set out to discover the opening.

About 10 minutes later there is was! Reminded of William Clark’s famous quote and (and misspelling, his, not mine) “Great joy … we are in view of the Ocian,” we found it! Paddling into new territory, Salmon Creek featured a much wider mouth than I expected.

While Lake River is fun to paddle (albeit sometimes strenuous due to the currents), Salmon Creek offered more variety in both flora and fauna. About 15 minutes into the creek, next to the BN Railroad Bridge, all the hard work of getting there paid off with the sighting of two beautiful bald eagles.

Eagle above Salmon Creek

“Turn around” our weary arms said so, while we really wanted to explore the creek, we saved it for another trip. Next time, assuming there is enough water in the creek, we’ll start from NW 36th Avenue at the Salmon Creek Greenway and explore the route to Lake River.

Paddling back, we saw the eagles again and more herons, some in flight, others lounging in the shade of the willows. Total wildlife count for the day: two majestic, adult bald eagles, countless herons, plethora of seagulls, Osprey family, kingfisher, geese, red-winged blackbirds, martins and other unidentified species.

Salmon Creek eagle

Heron in the willows

Heron in flight

Humans census: only two other kayaks, a few fisherman, a couple of pesky motorboats breaking the Vancouver Lake speed rules, and dozens of sailboats with young sailors, way across the lake, waiting for wind for the youth regatta at Vancouver Lake Sailing Club.

Four hours and about 10 miles later, we were back…hot, sore, downright weary and ready to go again.

July 31, 2010   2 Comments

“Creeking” on the Lewis River

by Julia Anderson
Kayakers from throughout Southwest Washington gathered on the East Fork of the Lewis River in Clark County on Saturday for a competition they call “creek boating or creeking.” Some 40 competitors sized up Sunset Falls with its roaring spring run off before testing themselves against other kayakers and rafters on a timed course.

Creeking on the East Fork of the Lewis River

Sponsored by Alder Creek Kayak with a store on Hayden Island and Next Adventure, an outdoor gear store in Portland, the event is one of several hosted by organizers of Northwest Creeking Competition, a loose group of kayak enthusiasts.

On Saturday, the parking lot at Sunset Falls, east of Battle Ground and south of Yacolt was filled with kayaker vehicles, trailers and gear and lots of fans including a large number of dogs (on leashes). Volunteers staffed a registration booth with race fees ranging from $10 to $20 depending on the event.

Believe it or not, kayaking can take many forms…hard-shell long- and short-boats, inflatable kayaks and even rafts with both men’s and women’s races. About mid-day, two-man rafts were plunging over the falls with a few landing upside down with their paddlers forced to swim. Don’t worry, despite the sunny warmer weather most competitors were wearing dry suits to protect against cold water temperatures. The day ended with a raffle and barbeque.

For more information on Northwest Creeking Competition, visit http://www.northwestcreekcomp.org/

April 13, 2010   No Comments

Adventures on Washington State’s Cranberry Coast, Part I

I love cranberries.  With about 30 percent of West Coast cranberry farms located along the Southwest Washington coast, it makes perfect sense that we have The Cranberry Coast to visit.

I thought this area could be easily explored in one trip. I was wrong. There is a LOT happening in this part of the state. This is Part I.

Thursday Afternoon and Evening
We leave Vancouver on a one of those frying, triple-digit July days. As we pull out of Chehalis on SR6, after our ritual stop at the Dairy Barn for milkshakes, the Wachovia clock reads 100 degrees. By the time we get to Raymond in Pacific County, less than an hour from I-5, we are down to a cool, marine 67 degrees. The Cranberry Coast is looking good already.

The Elegant Russell House

4 p.m. An Elegant Bed and Breakfast in “The Oyster Capital of the World” Our host Beverley warmly welcomes us at the historic Russell House Bed and Breakfast in South Bend. Russell House is a stunning 1891 Victorian home, built by John Russell as a 25th anniversary gift for his wife, overlooking South Bend and the Willapa River. Beverley has graciously agreed to store our tent camper and kayaks in the backyard while we are exploring the area. We settle in to the Bay Room with its turret window seat and spectacular view of the river.

6:30 p.m. Well-worn tavern, good beer, succulent oysters. Beverley recommends two diners in town for great oysters. We start with dinner at Chester Club and Oyster Bar, which more than one person points out has been written about in The New York Times. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. A few older guys are hanging out at the bar, occasionally wandering out to smoke and greet a very popular dog in a pickup. When I taste my first oyster, I slap the table. It’s that good. Lightly battered and fried but not greasy. And it’s matched perfectly with Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. I hope The New York Times was very, very kind to this bar. They deserve it.

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September 4, 2009   4 Comments