Summer Programs Announced!

GOA is very pleased to announce our Summer 09 expedition schedule. There’s some new stuff, some old faves, and some new stuff added to an old fave.

So take a look, see what strikes you and let us know if you’d like to apply!


Willamette Canoe Expedition
June 15-18

GOA has again partnered with Willamette Riverkeeper to bring you four exciting days of floating, exploration, photography and journaling our way down the historic Willamette. We’ll spend three nights camping along the riverbank, observing the fascinating wildlife and ecosystem of the mighty Willamette. Included is a half-day of pre-trip training, including a swimming and tip test.
$250 $50 deposit

Seeking the Last Wild Buffalo
July 6-10
On this new expedition, we will be exploring Southern Utah’s remote Henry Mountains, home of the last wild herd of buffalo in the world, and with any luck we’ll get a sighting of these magnificent creatures. You will also learn backpacking, primitive camping, and fire-making skills.
Leave and return to Salt Lake City.
$500 $100 deposit

High Cascades Oregon
July 20-24
Join us as we travel through the scenic wilds of Central Oregon, hiking, climbing, and telling the story of what we discover on this adventure. This five-day expedition will start in Portland and loop down through the Three Sisters Wilderness, over to rock- climbing mecca Smith Rock State Park, then up to the Deschutes river canyon, returning to Portland along the Columbia River.

Enrollment is limited to youth in DHS care. If interested, please inquire with Oregon office.

Olympic Coastal Backpack
August 3-8
Hike Washington’s stunning coastline, explore tide pools while eagles soar overhead, and climb rope ladders up into to the pristine Pacific Rainforest. This year we’re adding a two -day backpack over high passes in the nearby Olympic Range, as well as a service project for the National Park Service.
$400 $50 deposit

Two Wheels of Freedom
August 17-21
Join us for a van-supported supported adventure by bicycle in Central Idaho. We’re still putting the details together, but if you like biking and the outdoors, this will be a great expedition for you.
Must bring or rent your own bicycle equipped for on-road travel, or arrange with us early to borrow one. Helmet rules strictly enforced.
$450 $50 deposit

Schedule and availability subject to change without notice. And stuff.


As noted by the Oregonian earlier this week, the Senate–in a rare Sunday session–moved to preserve 125,000 Acres on and around Mt. Hood as designated wilderness.

We here at GOA think this is great news. Mt. Hood is a magnificent treasure, and it should be kept as pristine as possible. Lots of folks use the mountain for many different things–as well they should–but ensuring that such a large chunk of it will remain as nature made it is just a great idea all the way around.

Here’s to a lifetime of enjoying the quiet places that will now remain on this majestic mountain.

mount hood

85 Years and Climbing

We were quite taken with this fellow Northwesterner, and will be very happy indeed if we can still do the things we love to do outdoors at anywhere near his age.

Watch this amazing video!

Membership may be required, but you should probably have a membership to the New York Times anyway, shouldn’t you, smarty pants?

The River Song

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the world-wide debut of “The River Song” as composed by Edie (aka Fred) and performed by the GOA Players last June on the Willamette Canoe expedition. Enjoy!

The River S-o-o-o-ong

Ready For The White Stuff?

I think this would look great on your head!

"Hey, come here for a second..."

It’s looking very much like there’s going to be lows in the teens and the possibility of snow in Portland this weekend! While the Utah contingent in the GOA offices has greeted this news with eye-rolls and barely-stifled yawns, the locals seem to be pretty excited. When it’s all said and done, though, we’ll all take any break from the rain-drone we can get.

So if the flakes should fly, make the best of it while it lasts! Get out there and make some snow peeps, (or maybe even that whole snow-entourage you’ve been dreaming of), pelt someone in the back of their fool noggin with a (nice, fluffy) snowball, build an icy fortress of solitude–whatever, just so you get out and do what you can to enjoy this rare opportunity.

We got up on the mountain yesterday and stomped around in the snow with YEI and had ourselves a blast. Great group, great kids, great times!

soldIt’s Armistice Day, and if you have the day off, a great day to get outside and explore (what day isn’t a great day for outdoor adventure?). I’m not sure what to think when I hear that the Forest Service and BLM have relaxed usage fees for our public land today in an effort to encourage veterans to enjoy the land they fought for. Should we be grateful to our great father in Washington for letting us walk on our land without charging us money? Should we consider the difficult position of these federal land management agencies whose budgets have been decimated in the last decade so that, impoverished, they shake down citizens who dare to use public land? I find it difficult to believe that if this country can bail out huge corporate banks that we can’t also manage our public lands with funds from the community chest. Should we get all civil disobedient and walk our land, refusing to pay the parking fees within 100 meters of trailheads that  have been so controversial in the last few years?  I don’t really know the answer. The BLM and Forest Service do get a lot of abuse when Libertarian ire rises in people like myself who love to walk the land, but hate paying fees beyond the taxes already paid when there’s no transparent benefit. But these federal agencies, as feeble in preservation and complicit in selling resources to business interests as they may seem to environmentalists, are the only thing standing between our mountains, deserts and rivers and the kind of criminal theft and sale of resources that goes on in Siberia. So when I get all turned around like this, I like to think of the words one of my heroes, Woody Guthrie. You can listen here:

I’m sure of this–if it’s not easy and affordable to access our public land, the public will stay away; the public will forget the wonderful lessons of wilderness. And when people don’t value something, they turn it into a strip mall.

Coyote Sighting!

coyote1I stopped by my friend the house of my friend, Frank, last week, just in time to hear his neighbor report a coyote sighting in front of the house on Northeast 61st avenue. It’s always great to hear about wildlife sightings in the middle of the city. Hemmed in by two freeways, as you can see from the map, there are wild beasts like the wiley coyote looking for food. A couple of years ago, there was coyote found on the lightrail train at the airport. It was curled up on a hard plastic seat, getting warm on a cold night. After I hearing about the train-hopping coyote, I kept an eye out every time I rode the train to or from a flight. Early one cold morning I remember riding the train home from an early flight and as my car rounded a huge blackberry hedge, I caught sight of a big, fluffy coyote as he pounced to flush a ground squirrel. He looked as unique as each coyote I’ve ever seen up close. This one had a big, light brown cape of thick fur, appearing well-fed on squirrels, birds and cats. That blackberry hedge is gone now, built over by the slice of suburbia plopped down next to the airport–it’s where the Ikea store is. I suppose I would feel differently about the coyote if I grew up on a sheep ranch, but I didn’t. I still feel a sense of kin with this creature who survives in the cracks of wilderness between the paved over city scape.