First the running and other things to do in the area:
Lothlorien Woods Hide-A-Way is located in White Salmon, Washington – just across the Columbia River from Hood River – so my husband and I spent the day on the Oregon side of the waterway. As you may know already, there is plenty to do in the Hood River area. We started at Waterfront Park, which was filled with people of all ages windsurfing, kite surfing, swimming, playing at the park, or just relaxing in the sun. We then took a walk along the paved park path, watched people learning to windsurf, then meandered to nearby Solstice Wood Fire Cafe and Bar for a delicious build-your-own pizza lunch. (This place makes a great pizza with fresh ingredients. I highly recommend it)! After lunch we headed back to the park and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine and spent quite awhile watching the amazing skills of windsurfers and kite surfers. We were surprised to discover that many of the windsurfers were an older crowd than we expected. It was pretty cool to see that it is a life-long sport for many, just like running is for many of us.
If you want to get in a trail run or hike while you are staying in the area there are more options than you can imagine. Just listing them would be a whole article in itself (Matt highlighted some cool areas in Hood River on his “Make a Day of It” post back in late 2015). On this visit, we opted for some “urban walking” and just explored the area. We discovered that downtown Hood River was a busy place on a Sunday afternoon. Finding parking was challenging, but do-able, and the streets and shops were full of people. Hood River has become quite the tourist town with many interesting shops and restaurants.
There are plenty of races in the Hood River and White Salmon area throughout the year, but here are a few that you could run while staying at Lothlorien Woods Hide-A-Way.
- White Salmon Backyard Half – June
- Post Canyon 50K and Half Marathon – Aug. 13
- Columbia Gorge Marathon – Oct. 23
- Twin Tunnels Turkey Trot – Nov. 26
Now to the details of the experience itself:
I’m not a camper. I got my fill of true hard-core camping as a kid and I’m over it. I love the great outdoors, but give me a nice clean hotel room with a comfortable bed, a real toilet, and a hot shower after a day of adventuring. When I was given the opportunity to try out Glamping, I figured that would be a good middle ground for me. Glamping Hub hooked me up with a stay at Lothlorien Woods Hide-A-Way.
After spending the day in Hood River we made our way across the river on the Hood River Toll Bridge (a $1 fee) and headed into the town of White Salmon to eat dinner at Everybody’s Brewing, which we both enjoyed. Our accommodations were about 30 minutes outside of downtown White Salmon, so we began the drive after dinner. It wasn’t long until we were outside of town and in a mix of open land and forested areas. After traveling along quiet country roads, we came to a single lane gravel road that would take us to our final destination. This appeared to be an old logging road and was a little scary since it was winding and narrow. I was afraid of meeting another vehicle traveling the other way on the narrow road, but on the 2 mile drive, we did not encounter anyone else. We entered the code Glamping Hub had given us for the electronic gate and arrived at the “tree house,” which was actually a house on stilts in the midst of trees.
The house was clean and neat, but truly rustic. If you want a place to be unplugged and surrounded by nature, but with people nearby and not too terribly secluded – this is the place for you. There was no cell service, no wi-fi, and no TV, but there was a large collection of cassette tapes available for our listening pleasure. It was like a step back in time. However, right across the way you could see several houses that appeared to have all the latest innovations and technology, so it was a bit of a false step away from it all. There was also a nice hot tub on the porch of the house, so it wasn’t truly roughing it.
The house was cozy and quaint. The downstairs featured a small, but complete kitchen, with a wood stove for cold days and living room perfectly sized for two. Although warm outside, the house was cool and comfortable due to being in the shade of the trees and the open windows taking in the breeze. Next to the futon in the living room was a small spiral staircase that led upstairs. The bedroom and bathroom upstairs were very open concept, although there was a door on the toilet area. The large windows upstairs had no window coverings so that you could enjoy the view of the trees, however, you could also clearly see the host house, which was a little uncomfortable for me – especially the large picture window right outside of the shower. There was also a large window in the toilet area, which looked out to a forested scene. Although we saw no one immediately around the house, there was a bit of a feeling that anyone could walk by at anytime. However, I was pleased that the outhouse outside was not a necessity!
The house reminded me of one of those fun houses at a carnival. The floors were not completely level, so I sometimes had the feeling of falling towards one side of the room. It made for a strange feeling of almost dizziness, which added to the true quaintness and adventure of the place.
We settled in to the quietness of the evening and decided to do some reading. I broke out my Runner’s World magazine and enjoyed the cool breeze and the sounds of birds. Then I started hearing noises outside. Apparently, all the neighboring pets got word that visitors had arrived and at one point we had 3 dogs and a cat on the porch staring into the windows at us. Nothing like a typical hotel stay, for sure! When they finally realized that we weren’t coming out to play, they headed off for home.
The night was quiet except for dogs barking in the distance and birds settling down for the evening – a true backwoods symphony. We slept with the windows open to enjoy the sounds and cool breeze. We awoke to the pre-dawn crowing of the roosters at the nearby farm, but then fell back to sleep until the sun woke us. We were greeted with a beautiful morning landscape…and our canine buddies.
Our morning showers were quick and invigorating (this obviously wasn’t designed to be a state of the art water heating system). But when you are out enjoying the forest and unplugging from real life, even just having a shower is a luxury. The “tree house” dogs did their best to get us to stick around (one of them had even brought a ball), but we had to make our way back into civilization – though we ended the stay by seeing a coyote, 3 wild turkeys, a multitude of rabbits, and a deer on our way. Soon we were back in White Salmon where we stopped for breakfast at a cute little place called Katina’s Cafe.
Lothlorien Woods Hide-A-Way is the place for you if you:
- Want to unplug
- Want to be close to nature, but don’t mind neighbors nearby
- Are a dog lover
- Enjoy quirky, original places
- Are adventurous
- Prefer your camping to be more indoors than out