I drove out to the Gorge for a hike at Hardy Ridge Loop. The hike overall was nothing spectacular (there are others on the Washington side of the Gorge that I prefer, but I was looking for one I hadn't done before... New Tricks). It was nice, though, to be outside under semi-clear skies with occasional views of the Gorge, surrounded by the fresh scent of fir needles, doing what I wanted to do at my own pace, which meant running at times and pausing to snap photos whenever I felt like it.
Several hours later, I was back in the car on Washington's Route 14 (a scenic drive that I love), headed to Everybody's Brewing in White Salmon. I chatted with a couple gals sitting near me while I ate lunch, then headed over to Hood River where I'd stay for the night. I checked in to my new favorite hotel and beelined it for their hot tub, which is set right on the Columbia River. So, so good. Once I'd had my share of water jets, I went to my room and took a bath in some amazing smelling salts from Barry that I'd packed for this getaway. I lounged in my river view room (free upgrade!) and started reading The Association of Small Bombs. When dinner time rolled around, I headed to Celilo for a glass of wine and a plate of gnocchi that was so damn tasty. Back at the hotel, I read for a couple more hours and contently drifted off to sleep.