Obsessed with lakes. They are the closest to paradise you will ever see. You can almost smell the scent of water in the air. The cold snows melting fast and the great outdoors is just so welcoming. You can hear the silence of birds and the excitement of animals all around you. A log sitting on the ground can hear them too but so does your ear.
Lakes are the result of rainwater and snow runoff from mountain ranges hitting the planet earth and flowing into lowlands and then draining into oceans. This in turn creates tributaries and a river system that flows into the mighty Columbia River. The river forms through erosion and is one of the longest in the world, 17,000 miles long in its most westerly point.
The amazing thing about the Columbia River is that, although it starts in British Columbia, the greater part of it flows through Oregon. Its southern terminus is Fort Stevens State Park in the Columbia Gorge region of Oregon. Once you see the Columbia River it’s easy to imagine why British Columbia has earned its name as God’s Own Country.
The Columbia Gorge is a destination state for kayaking, camping, and hiking. The largest overnight drop into dismantled granite cliffs can be found at Waits Beach State Park. This is 15 miles of a river in a glacial bowl that can be traveled by four-wheel drive vehicles.
At the northern end of the Columbia Gorge is Tule Lake down in the Snake Range. This is the headwaters of the Kalouse River, one of the most majestic rivers in the world. When you visit Tule Lake the first thing you notice is the large number of underground waterfalls that neo-tropical climates have given rise to. The Snake Range is a land of many rivers, the tallest of which are over 1000 feet tall.
The Columbia River starts its trip in the mountains where the Monongahela and Snagpole Rivers meet in Oregon. The river then heads east to join with the Howe Sound and Klamath Rivers to form the Khmer Valley. Traveling through the Valley of Fire to the Valley of the Columbia, you will find that the ever-flowing Coleman River is a glacier-carved feature adding to the beauty of this area.
The Valley of the Columbia is surrounded by mountains, and what a mountain range it is! From the standpoint of a visitor, the greatest attraction area is the George Gill Ranges, but if you are inclined to kayak, canoe or just watch nature, there are many other attractions as well.
Adventure cycling, hiking, mountain biking, high ropes courses, paintball, skydiving, golf, and horseback riding are all offered. Kayaking on the Coleman River is fast becoming one of the most popular activities in this region.
In the warmer months, you can combine your hiking with a spot of paintball. The paintball goggles work best for this, but normal eye glasses will work too. Children love this activity.
Swimming is great too, although you must be careful to exercise adequate caution while wading or diving in the river. Ocean waves are large and can be surprisingly strong.
There are many lakes in the area, and one is certain to give your family a full day of fun. Mountain Lake has seven swimming areas, and each one is nicely equipped with water-side facilities. Mountain Lake also has boat rentals, fishing, a lodge and snack bar, and much more.
Why not also consider Coleman’s other attractions? Deep-water fishing is for the avid angler. There are arcades and bumper boats. The family will enjoy the area around the historic downtown area in Georgia.
Located only a three-hour drive from Atlanta, Georgetown is a great destination for young people and families. With four swimming pools and Sitka Black bear, it can keep you entertained for hours. The downtown area includes shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
A close-by mention should be made of Chaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Located only 30 miles from Anchorage, Chaska Nature Center is a wonderful attraction for the entire family. Activities include wildlife viewing. They also have a nature center that can be purchased for $20.
You will find that the fishing, hunting and camping are some of the greatest in the world. With the quiet confidence of a river, or the excitement of a mountain stream, Chaska Nature Center is the perfect place for family fun. For those who like interacting with wildlife, there are vistas of delectable fish colors wading along the bank. Or perhaps you will be camping or hiking and enjoying the peace of the vast great outdoors.