I was introduced to Rudy during an assignment for work. He is the 2018 inductee to the Skyline Award for Excellence for his service to White Salmon, Skyline Hospital and the Columbia River Gorge. I was as his house to snag a couple pics for a newsletter. While chatting with him, he brought up that he sets up a 40 foot lighted “tree” on the bluff outside his home. Seeing the curiosity on our faces, he took us out behind his home, to which we were treated to this view.
Rudy started the tree in the early 90s with a 20 foot mast. It wasn’t clear enough from the Hood River side of the river, so he increased the mast height a couple more time in the subsequent years, settling on 40 feet as the proper height. He worked out the kinks and uses a set of rigging points to raise up the strands and can do all the raising himself. This year is his first using LED light strands, hoping to reduce the cost of running such a large display.
He invited me back to see the setup process a couple weeks later. I had this grand idea to film it and produce a little video. I was able to get what I needed that day, however I had hoped to get some video of the tree at night from across the river, but the opportunity never materialized. The video project sat on the burner for a bit, but I eventually edited together what I had and here it is.
I love it when people love their communities enough to light up their corner of the block, or in this case the bluff. This puts my house decorations to shame, but it makes me want to do better. Here are a few more pics of my time at Rudy’s on the bluff.