Tradition takes 11 to Columbia Gorge

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Corban professor and 10 students upheld a school tradition of departing shortly after graduation for a week of backpacking. This year’s trip – the school’s seventh – featured camping and hiking along the picturesque Columbia Gorge May 9-14.

“The … backpacking endeavor was a mature group of non-complaining, God-praising Christians who worked well as a team and had a fantastic time,” said Professor John Scott.

The trip began with a route up the famous Eagle Creek Trail to 7 ½ Mile Camp and an attempt to summit Tanner Butte, which stands 1,500 feet above sea level. It was unreachable due to snow on its north-facing slope, but remarkable sights along the way included the world-class Punch Bowl, Loowit and Tunnel falls. These and other falls were particularly spectacular due to May runoff.

The group then moved their adventure to the Washington side of the Gorge. There they set up camps at Paradise Creek and hiked to Falls Creek Falls and Dog Mountain. Falls Creek Falls is a jaw-dropping 285 foot tall marvel that is one of the great waterfalls in the American West.

“We agreed that it needs a more dramatic name. Its mundane moniker keeps more people from visit this site,” Scott said.

Dog Mountain also delivered. One Oregonian newspaper reporter describes it as a “grueling hike” that’s “worth the blisters and sore muscles the next day” due to the view: “You can see the Columbia River winding past mountains capped with the last remnants of winter snow, even as the lush greenery of western Washington's spring unfolds at your feet.”

On the upper 1,000 feet of the mountain, the hikers were delighted by thousands of Indian paintbrush, balsam root, lupine, penstemon and other species covering the upper hillsides.

Like past trips, the Columbia Gorge expedition was organized by Westrek, the club at Corban that Scott advises. The student-led club offers trip offers outdoor activities for students all year long. This year’s end-of-the-year hikers were Kendra Crosby, Anna Cunningham, Hannah Dorr, Shannon Rensi, Chelsea Reeher, Katy Rogers, Thomas Berney, Brian Eberhardt, Brent Fahsholz and Adam Karnes.

--By John Scott and Christena Brooks




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