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Now, picture this in the dark

Mt. Hood Adventure offers night snowshoe, snowmobile tours
by: contributed photo, Snowmobile and snowshoe trips on Mount Hood during the day can be a wonderful experience, but Mt. Hood Adventure will take people out at night for guided tours under the stars for something a little different.

The nighttime isn't just when animals like bats and owls come out anymore. Mt. Hood Adventure in Government Camp hopes to bring out some nocturnal recreation animals with their new night snowshoeing and snowmobiling tours, starting Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19-20.

'We were trying to come up with some unique ways for people to come up and see the national forest,' said General Manager Robb Hutson. 'We thought the night ride would be a neat one to promote.'

The snowmobile tour - a first-time offering on Saturday - can accommodate a total of eight people, but no experience is necessary for the journey. Sleds cost of $185 for a double sled or $130 for a single, and include helmets, the guide, a brief lesson for people who haven't gone snowmobiling before and even some hot chocolate on the trail.

As Hudson noted, spending time in the forest at night offers a very different perspective than a visit during the day.

'You feel more like you're out in the middle of nowhere when it's night and dark,' said Hudson. 'You truly appreciate the size of the forest.'

The snowshoe tour, which the company also offered during the New Year's fireworks celebrations on the mountain, will take 12 people on a three-hour tour from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is $75 per person and includes snowshoes, goodies and a stop by a bonfire prepared by the guide.

'Snowmobile tours are by far the most popular tours, but I love the peace and quiet of getting out on snowshoes,' said guide Greg 'Chopper' Moreno.

The guides are well versed in operating at night, and Hudson noted, 'they know the area like the back of their hand.' They also are knowledgeable in the various plants and animals we share the forest with and will take time to give visitors an interpretive experience on the trail.

As Moreno noted, even in the middle of the night, there's a lot to be seen in the forest, thanks to the light from the moon. The fortunate snowshoer or mobiler might just catch sight of another snowshoer, or at least maybe the tracks of a snowshoe hare.

'Everything just lights up,' said Moreno. 'And the stars really add a lot.'

For more information or to make reservations, please contact 503-860-3235 and 503-272-3051.