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This is a fantastic annual event that I very much look forward to.
A great, usually scenic hike and really nice people.
This hike is not ADA accessible but it's close. After doing Swale Canyon Sunday I ran into
a double amputee Vet along the Mosier Twin Tunnel Trail. He was running a specially
designed, hand operated trike. I told him about Swale Canyon and he agreed that this
is a trail worth checking out for use by disabled Veterans. Unlike many Gorge trails
which are just too difficult and unsafe for newly disabled Vets, the Klickitat Rail
Trail and in particular, the Swale Canyon segment is a good choice for returning
Veterans seeking out reasonable hiking/biking trails.
I was out here in 2013. Those hikes are documented HERE, HERE and HERE.
The Spring 2013 KTC Swale Canyon hike is documented HERE.
The KTC 2011 Swale Canyon hike is documented HERE.
More information about the entire Klickitat Rail Trail can be found HERE.
GETTING THERE: Take SR 14 to Lyle, Washington. Turn North at the Lyle Cafe onto
Centerville Highway. Go 14.72 miles and turn left onto Harms road. The trailhead is
about a half mile down the road.
CAR SHUTTLE SERVICES: Note that we have not used thie service yet so we cannot
vouch for them in any way. If/when we do try them out, we will post an update
on future trip reports. The shuttle is provided by Carl Coolidge, owner of the
Canyon Market, Klickitat, Washington. 509-369-4400:
Nancy was our hike leader this time. I was delighted to see Bev today. Bev is my
favorite Trail Boss! Well, ok... Jim Denton and Beverly are both my favorite Trail
I like bridges. Lyle has some dandy bridges.
It's usually very serene out here in Swale Canyon. This is one of my favorite
hiking locations. You just never know what you're going to come across while you're
There were a few colorful weeds out here. Swale Canyon has stunning color
especially in Spring and Fall.
It was nice that one of the Blue Angels did a fly by just for lil ole me :)
I love the brilliant color out this way!
Pictures really don't do justice to the beauty of Swale Canyon.
Anyone who visits this web site regularly knows that I am a strong supporter
of Rails-To-Trails and in particular, the Klickitat Trail Conservatory. The KTC
folks are friendly and welcoming. They are very knowledgeable and really believe
in what they are doing. Jim Denton is one of the most amazing guys I've ever known
and Bev is a delight to hike with. I have consistently promoted and recommended the
Klickitat Rail Trail to folks looking for fun places to hike. The KRT is especially
valuable to novice hikers since it is safe and since it is pretty much impossible
to get lost here. Swale Canyon, in particular, is a dandy hike during times of the
year when the Columbia Gorge trails are deep in snow.
So it's on a sad note that I have to report the following: This year's KTC Swale
Canyon hike was unilaterally hijacked by someone from The Friends of the Gorge.
Someone who could best be described as a "brass balls broad" publicly demeaned and
embarrassed Nancy, a KTC Board member and our hike leader. "Gloria" appointed herself
as the leader and barked out orders. She declared that the entire group of several
dozen hikers *MUST* wait for latecomers to arrive even though we were well past the
scheduled 09:30 event start time.
How I got on Gloria's radar is a mystery to me. I was minding my own business chatting
with another hiker about aircraft carriers when Gloria chose to interrupt our
conversation and challenge why I was there. Gloria made it quite clear to
me that the Friends of the Gorge has a strict signup quota limit and since I had
not registered for *HER* hike, I was not welcome. Since I was here to attend a KTC
event, her abusive and disrespectful comments went in one ear and out the other.
But it's worth noting that very few people feel brave enough to speak to me in that
manner face-to-face. Had Gloria been a man I would have *DEFINITELY* punched her in
the face. Anyone who knows me knows that I take that kind of crap from no man.
After the hike, I reported this incident to one of the KTC Board members. I have
every confidence that this matter will be dealt with appropriately. From follow-up
feedback I've received, the Friends of the Gorge are apparently in denial about
their representative's behavior and plan to do nothing about it. Which is fine with
me since I have no plans to ever attend any Friends of the Gorge functions. However,
if I find myself enduring Gloria's bombastic presence at future KTC events, there
could well be problems.
In summary: Based on my completely negative first impressions of The Friends of the
Gorge, I would *STRONGLY* recommend that this is an organization that is best avoided.
And while I am still a strong supporter of the KTC, I would caution readers to be wary
of any KTC events that The Friends of the Gorge are involved with. I've communicated
a request to the KTC that they please be very clear on their web site and activity
announcements as to who is actually in charge. In the future, should I find myself
enduring abusive behavior or being bossed around by someone from The Friends of the
Gorge, I will immediately report this to the KTC activity leader. I would request
that the KTC Board generate a policy statement with regard to the handling of rogue
Friends of the Gorge personnel so that there will be clear and consistent guidelines
on how matters like this will be handled moving forward.
Personally, it would not hurt my feelings if the KTC declined to have their events
co-managed with The Friends of the Gorge. In this case, at least, The Friends of
the Gorge added *ZERO* value to this event.
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