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Archive for the ‘boating’ Category

Sunday, 27 August 2017

On April 12, 2014, I took my first kayak ride. It was here in Skamokawa that I signed up for a beginning lesson from Columbia River Kayaks. We went up the inside passage of Price Island and back down on the riverside for a total of three miles (posted here). They have graceful sit-inside craft with snap on skirts and were a big help in deciding what kind of boat I wanted to own. They offer a wide range of trips with expert guidance.

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The road to Skamokawa

In March of this year, we had visited the museum at Redmen Hall, shown in the photo below.  From the windows, we had seen an enticing boat launch.

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Here is Redmen Hall from the boat launch.

The plan today was to head east, stay near the shore inside Price Island, and duck into Steamboat Slough to visit the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Today the wind was forecast to be from the north 10 to 16 mph. That would mean I could use sail power both directions and hopefully minimize heading into the wind.

I filled out the form. I noticed the launch was pretty quiet for a sunny summer Sunday. There were no cars parked nearby.

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I put in my dollar.

One of the locals came down to see if he could launch his ski boats yet but the tide was still too low. He then he told me that I needed to park my van in the parking lot across the road behind the trees. I only had $3 towards the $5 parking fee so it was off to the little store under Redmen Hall for a snack and more money.

As I pulled into the boat ramp’s parking lot I discovered a campground with close up views of the passing ships on the Columbia.

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Back to the launch all sorted out.

I copied this idea for carrying my boat on the van’s roof from a Yakima rack loader. It requires only lifting half the weight at a time. I’m trying to avoid using a trailer.

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Next step is to swing the tail off to the ground and then lift down the bow.

With the parking paid, I was finally off.

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Here is a closer look at the trimaran I had seen on our previous trip.

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Here is the outward channel and a marker ahead.

I chose to head outside the island as the inside passage still looked narrow and shallow.

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An Osprey nest.

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Outside Price Island I passed a kayaker carrying her dog on the back deck while playing a splashy game of fetch.

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A large barge was heading downstream across the river.

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Maybe the local I met at the ramp was finally out on the water.

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A sailboat passed me going upstream. I was paddling and had the sail out but it still passed me.

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The entrance to Steamboat Slough, about 2.5 miles from Skamokawa.

Another ship was heading up the river.

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It was the Enishi.

When I got home, according to marinetraffic.comI found out the Enishi was soon to arrive in Longview.

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There was a light breeze as I headed away from the Columbia River. I didn’t even feel the wake from the Enishi.

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Steamboat Slough and adventure ahead.

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Looking back at the Columbia.

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The shallow water is kayak friendly but not so good for motors.

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A gate that controls the water level of the interior wetlands.

I had to see what was on the other side.

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Here’s Steamboat Slough looking back towards the Columbia.

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The thick Ellison Slough continues behind the gate.

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And blackberries.

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Steamboat Slough Road is also a way to explore this area.

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Canadian geese keeping ahead.

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Steamboat Slough, the road, and I all continued east.

Soon there was no wind at all.

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Here is a junction. I went off to explore a wrong route.

My map and good camera were back at home, probably sharing the same table with Skooter. I could use the phone’s  ‘MapMyTracks’ map.  First, it helped me go inland, then back upstream, then back the way I came (but differently), and finally out to the river. The inland route stays a sizable stream and crosses under the highway.

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Missing this turn would have taken me inland or upstream to the next town.

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The incoming tide was filling the slough from ahead.

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The shortest route home was to the right while keeping straight would add another three miles.

By now it was about four hours until sunset. Although there was enough time that I didn’t need to go back the same route,  I wanted to finish the loop and avoid driving home in the dark.

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The hills of Oregon. I could hear boat engines beyond the trees.

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Back out into the river and the return of a wind.

The Columbia flows northwest here instead of due east. The trip back would be northeast and into the north wind.

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A sailboat crisscrossed the Columbia upstream but I was headed the other way.

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I was enough upstream I could see the bridge at Cathlamet, about seven miles from Skamokawa.

Here I was tacking against a near headwind. Meanwhile, two sailboats were motoring their way upstream. They had an incoming tide, and a fair wind to push them along, but, not me.

A can floating by to salvage.

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It was unopened and punctured from the side, a mystery.

Soon came a float I thought I could salvage.

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It snagged me hard and swung up the daggerboard. This may have been a marker for a pot.

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Another bird home design

Finally, after about three hours I was back at the entrance to Steamboat Slough.

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The birds were still there, though by now most of the the bar was underwater.

It was 6:45 and everybody was heading home.

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A long crooked trip back

A bald eagle was at the harbor entrance.

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Its head was bowed and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for its noble pose.

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I passed the home to Columbia River Kayaking.

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The harbour’s Ospreys were calling it a night.

I passed by one of the local trawlers, the nondescript F/V Alki II. The blueprints and its history are in the Library of Congress here.

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“…Alki II represents the transition from traditional wood hull gillnet boats to the more modern fiberglass hull and a change in boat building…”

I’ve discovered the internet has resources for ship spotting, such as the Enishi and the smaller boats too.

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This blackberry covered special may not be on the internet at all.

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Finally, an hour before sunset and about to head home.

The top speed of 24 mph on the phone looked awesome until I remembered that I had put the electronics in the car when I went into town for money. Oops.

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It’s more like Distance: 17.4 miles Top Speed 6.0 mph and knock an hour off the activity time.

 

 

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

in which Allan goes boating on Young’s Bay and the Lewis and Clark River

“100 Paddles! is an opportunity for people to join in a human-powered water journey. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park invites the public to travel by water into the park, similar to how the Lewis and Clark Expedition members traveled during their winter here in 1805-06.

On the day of Saturday, August 19, experienced kayakers will meet at the Astoria Recreation Center (former Astoria Yacht Club site by the Old Youngs Bay Bridge) for a 10:30 a.m., launch and group paddle across Youngs Bay into the Lewis and Clark River. Less experienced folks are encouraged to meet at Netul Landing at 10:30 a.m., and head downstream on the Lewis and Clark River. The two groups plan to meet on the Lewis and Clark River. After a flintlock gun firing and huzzah, together the groups will paddle to Netul Landing for refreshments. Participants need to bring their own kayak, canoe, paddleboard or any non-motorized watercraft and need to wear a US Coast Guard approved personal floatation device. 

100 Paddles is sponsored by the Lewis & Clark National Park Association which supports park education and interpretative activities at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.”

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The yellow line points to the ambitiously named Astoria Yacht Club and the orange indicates how far upstream I went today.

While I was figuring out what I forgot, a happy dog splashed around the boat. “He likes to go in all the boats,” his walker explained. Coincidently, I also got the same tail-wagging greeting when I returned later.

HEY! Get back here.

Waiver signing and a nice kerchief for all, as modeled by one of the Park employees.

Boat, paddle, life vest. A simple combination for a fun day ahead.

Also heading out today were some fisherman.

Getting ready while all those darn kayaks line the boat ramp.

Ten boats in this picture but I did not get a total attendance figure.

“Are you tied up?” I heard as my boat started to drift. I quickly got tied up and waited to leave.

Expedition leader, Mitch, awaiting a gather around.

We had guides in a lead, middle and trailing kayaks. He explained that it was not a race and we were all to stay together.

A water auditorium with Mitch behind the blue kayak.

Off we went

The fishing boat at the dock heading for the Columbia River.

As the flotilla spread out, Mitch sends a boat back to the rear to make sure everyone was having fun.

I unfurled a quarter of my sail at this point and it seemed to make the paddle easier.

Astoria’s Regional Airport is ahead where the Coast Guard helicopters are based.

Two of the park employees passing a water hazard. Behind is the 101 bridge from Astoria to Warrenton. These are often mudflats but the tide is a plus 6.4 feet now.

We went under the Business 101 bridge by the community of Jeffers Garden and then up the Lewis and Clark River.

On the west side, the river bank is mostly ‘wild’ and without buildings.

On the east side was Astoria Marine Construction with a large trawler pulled up for repair.

Several other boats docked.

A fellow paddler with a well done homemade kayak. We discussed kayak seaworthiness and inverted bows.

We grouped up at the entrance to a grass route parallel to the river that would take us under Fort Clatsop.

Note the tree formation to find this route again. We followed the channel upstream about a quarter mile.

Park rangers on the bank to welcome us.

Here we met with the group that had done the shorter trip downstream from Netul Landing.

“Turn down your hearing aids!” we were cautioned.

BAOOM! (but no smoke)

“Hip hip huzzah! Hip hip huzzah!”  Then we crowded up for a group picture. I had the outriggers folded in so I wouldn’t get stuck in the grass or be a road hog.

In August 2015 I visited Fort Clatsap and checked out Netul Landing. My notes are in the last part of this blog post.

We then headed north to the landing for visiting and cake.

The party strung out behind until we re-entered the main channel.

Soon I spotted the most beautiful boat. It’s a small Chinook ocean-going canoe.

The owner had made a wood mold to create the finished boat, gunnels, deck and all entirely of light fiberglass so it would never rot. He now has the molds to create more when the time comes.

It is flat bottomed and reflects a design that has evolved over thousands of years. A sweetwater, or lake canoe has evolved into a different design. A brief explanation by trailtribes.org can be found here.

Pulling out at Netul Landing.

Two landings techniques were notable. One was to accelerate into the ramp, grind off a little hull, and then step out dry. Another was to park parallel and then roll out and accept the wet. The Chinook canoe was treated more carefully.

I was privileged to help carry the canoe to the trailer.

A closer look at the home built boat I paddled with back at the river’s mouth. It has a built in wheel. When on land he just drags it around like airport luggage.

A little bit of cake was still left by the time I got there.

This is a lightweight under 40lb. canoe by ‘Advantage’

The Rangers went around asking if anyone needed a ride back to the Astoria landing to fetch their cars so they could come back and load up their boats. I didn’t know that this was an option but it worked out well for most as the wind was picking up. I can’t guarantee they’ll do a shuttle next year but it could tempting after a 5.1 mile paddle.

The literature downplayed the short trip down from Netul Landing as suitable for less experienced kayakers but it is a good place to launch to paddle the entire river. The Lewis and Clark river runs about six miles.  I headed upstream alone as it was was still only one o-clock.

The first adventure was a black creature rustling ahead behind the shrubs. After just leaving the Lewis and Clark expedition I first thought BEAR and cautiously steered for the other bank.

The river banks were otherwise quiet, grassy, non-threatening and played their part of a pleasant day out on the water.

I reached the first upstream bridge in about twenty minutes.

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Here is the bridge from google’s street view. It has a pull out if you wish to drag a boat down to the water.

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Here’s a ‘googlemap’ view of the upper Lewis and Clark river as it crosses under a couple of bridges.

Heading back downstream I dodged the pilings. I only hit one because it was hiding underwater. The flipper’s shaft bent about thirty degrees but still worked almost fine.

Back near the Netul Landing the pilings are more frequent and often made of steel.

By now the wind was gusting up to 24.2 mph mostly from varying angles ahead.  That meant much fun tacking through the pilings.

I passed and greeted an inflatable that with the aid of the wind, was easily paddling back upstream.

One of many small mini gardens growing atop the pilings.

I beached under the riverside trail at the fort and got out warmer stuff to wear. Dave and Melissa had given me a waterproof bag as a gift and it proved handy to keep my sweatshirt dry before getting it soaked later in the bay.

The Astoria column with the boatyard in the foreground.

One of the boatyard buildings as seen through a wet sail.

It was a windy and splashy trip back along the edge of Young’s Bay. With the sail mostly rolled up (reefed) the boat still felt flat and secure as it reached almost 14 mph.

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This boat has what is referred to s a ‘wet ride’.

I had invited two guests. One observed that 100 paddles sounded like about 96 too many. Group rides are how I got started but it can be a solo sport. This trip follows a historical route that led to the building of the winter encampment of Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806. I appreciated the Park staff giving us a sense of the importance of the place that I would not have noticed alone.

The other invited guest had a tight timeline. I couldn’t see not being out in the water all day if I had cleared off enough of my obligations and there was fun was to be had.

Fort Clatsop also offers three hour guided paddle tours throughout the summer where they will provide the two-person boats and equipment. The registration is done online.

Lewis and Clark River Paddle Tours

Hop in a two person watercraft and paddle along the lush riverbanks of the Lewis and Clark River. See bald eagles soar while you calmly float through history and hear a unique perspective of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.The themes of these three hour ranger-led paddles will vary and include natural and cultural topics geared for all interests.
Tours will run Thursday through Sunday during the summer. Tours will start on June 24, 2017 and run through September 3, 2017.

  • The park will provide water craft, paddles, and life jackets however, if you are a special size you may want to bring your own life jacket.

…There is more to read, you register online, and the Tour is free with park admission.

I saw one bald eagle today as I ‘calmly floated through history.’

Go to: https://www.nps.gov/lewi/planyourvisit/paddle-tours.htm for more information.

Due to a battery failure, I like the results of my phone’s MapMyTracks ap better as it shows 3.6 miles more distance.  I think the phone covered the faster return trip when the Garmin had ‘died’. Even better, the phone picked up a top speed of 13.8 mph (!!) versus the 7.9 on the Garmin. Paddling usually averages around 3 mph.

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Sunday, 30 July 2017

The original destination for today was the Niawiakum River that runs in front of Goose Point Oysters, just north of the Bay Center turn off. It’s one of three rivers accessible from Bay Center that also includes the Bone and the Palix. Here’s a map to give a general idea. The Bone River is just below Bruceport, then the larger Niawiakum River just east of Bay Center and the larger Palix River system is SE of Bay Center

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Bay Center is just across from the tip of the peninsula.

In the early 1850’s James Swan lived at the mouth of the Bone River. A trip to that site is here. He sketched and wrote extensively of the area and included this sketch of a camp he visited on the Palix.

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The cover and a sketch he includes.

The tide was low at only 1.5 feet, which meant most of Willapa Bay was mudflats.  It seems to stay that way until it rises to about 3 feet. It would be rising until dark so I planned to stick to the river channel after leaving the dredged port entrance. There is a launch in Bay Center amongst the oyster boats, next to one of the shellfish processors, but first I drove by the picturesque wreck of the R/V Hero. To the owner, it must look nightmarish. Last year it was afloat but in need of work, but now that it’s sunk, it’s going to cost more. There is a Facebook page for the R/V Hero that includes many photos of its work as an Antarctic research vessel and its demise located here.  It was built in1968.

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At Bay Center, just uphill from the dock, I ran across the Chinook Tribe’s Office.

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One of their great canoes is stored here.

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A low tide and a quiet harbor.

Near the launch is an area washed by the tide that supports Salicornia (Sea Beans). Here is a site with better ID and seven ways to eat them.

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A plentiful supply of Sea Beans. A few would be salad garnish tomorrow night.

It was a quiet launch as it was a Sunday and a low tide.

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Accidental landscaping to starboard as I left.

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Oyster farms extending out into the bay as I pick my way through the channel.

I headed for the channel marker tower to look for the Naiwaikum River and turn upstream. From the shore, the start of my adventure looked like somebody’s first-time sail trip. I put up the sail and then headed nearly straight out.  Then, if they were watching, onlookers saw me get tangled in the eel grass, beach the boat, take down the sail and slowly paddle away. I didn’t see another boat out on the water today which speaks to how remote we are.

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It’s slow going through this stuff.

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Here’s my excuse for missing the entrance to the Niawiakum on this google map. The river’s entrance was actually further downstream from the channel bouy. There was no Niawiakum that I could see.

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I chose the Palix River channel and headed upstream hoping the Niawiakum River channel would appear later.  As Rat said in The Wind in the Willows “…there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Either river would be a good day.

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The Mollusk in front of one of the processors. It was working during my visit when I blogged about the trip here.

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Older real estate with character.

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The Hero from the other side.

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The 101 bridge over the Palix.

From here the Palix splits into the North, Middle, and South. I followed the South Palix.

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This might have been the camping ground in James Swan’s book.

It was very quiet except for the birdlife.

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A house was an unusual sight so it gets a picture.

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The bank washed away and ruined this dock but even google maps doesn’t show a likely house that would have used it.

Further upstream I came to this cleared area and discovered I needed to turn around or take the mast down.

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I can see through first floor. The lack of plantings made this house look empty.

Within sight of the empty house was a low bridge. It was 3 PM, an hour and a half out from Bay Center. It would be upwind most of the way back so I turned around. I had come 5.7 miles but it ended up being 10.5 miles back. That included a lot of tacking and a short side trip up the middle branch of the Palix. I read there is a falls upstream. That trip will have to wait for another day.

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Trask Lane meanders over this bridge.

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Logging relics just east of Highway 101.

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Here’s a boat launch next to 101 on the Palix I haven’t used yet.

The wind gauge shows I’m making progress upwind (if the daggerboard is doing its job). Another sailing dingy my dad gave me would usually put me on the same shore locations at each tack, with no upwind progress. It’s made of styrofoam and sits so high off the water I think the wind just overwhelmed the daggerboard and rudder.

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A low sun, a glittering surf, and maybe a whole eight mph.

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The Hero again at higher tide with a flooded doorway

It was 5:40 and the tide is now up from the earlier 1.5 to 5.9 feet. Finding the Niawiakum would be easy now. Next time, I’ll head a bit downstream for the right channel or, just wait for a higher tide.

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The channel buoy is now surrounded by water.

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Oyster bed markers.

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Bucketing off the deck.

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A wet lens, so it must have been fun.

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  Monday, 19 June 2017

Allan goes boating on the Naselle River

It’s going to be the first day of summer tomorrow. Today is going to be the first kayak expedition since last November.

Back in October 2014 I thought I could launch at the Willapa Refuge, head all the way upriver to the town of Naselle and back in one day. In six and a half hours I made it just past the 101 bridge, up the Ellsworth Slough and back.  The bit of the river around the town of Naselle I paddled once in February 2015. There is no launch in between unless I pull off the road and drag the boat across a field, which is possible, but too athletic.

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Today it’s the lower route

 

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The fog was still out hiding the bridge across the Columbia to Astoria

 


Same view later from on the way home

The tide was plus five foot but would be going down all afternoon. The Naselle River stays deep enough for a kayak all the way up to the town of Naselle even when the Willapa Bay is mostly mud. The plan was to launch from Naselle and go out with the tide. The current would be on my side but there would be a headwind with gusts to 20 mph. If I took a sail, I could sail back and maybe cover the almost 20-mile trip.

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The boat launch with enough concrete to walk on.

When I returned after the trip, the launch was concrete deprived.

At the low tide of 2.2 feet, it’s muddy

It’s sticky, sucking off your shoes, covering your boat muddy.

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Fortunately, it was easier to launch than it was to return and I set out.

I thought I’d snap a picture after just avoiding the overhanging trees

Watching for sunken trees and things that go bump.

A fallen tree had blocked three-quarters of the river. I think it used to be an island that is now being washed away.

The root ball and channel are off on the left.

Tree branch ribs

This helps show the tidal range. It’s plus 1.6 foot now.

A toy for a water fun

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Someone had done a long climb to get that rope up.

A backhoe scoop had been installed the right, a modest garden is now on the top deck.

The rear deck and a doorway for someone else to explore. I did wonder if it opened.

Another old boat up on the shore

There was very little breeze through the woods. When I got out of the trees the wind picked up to to 15 to 20 mph

A furled sail makes upwind paddling easier

Before this boat, my usual experience was that I had to fold up the sail to get home. Tacking back and forth trying to work back upwind with my dad’s boat would usually just be back and forth but no upwind progress until I got the oars out. Small sailboats usually don’t come with oarlocks but I find them handy.

Around the bend, I partially unfurled the sail as it was gusty from 15 to 20 mph. Too much sail at once can be too exciting and actually slower.

Someone left these pilings in the way to zig zag through

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Less than eight miles per hour but it seemed fast.

This is the bit of river I see when driving north of the curved 101 bridge over the Naselle River.

I ducked up into a calm Ellsworth slough to put on some warmer, dryer clothes and grab some lunch.

The 101 bridge, the goal.

Made it

Now the wind was at my back. The river isn’t straight, nor does the wind keep coming from the same direction as the terrain changes. This makes the sail sometimes flip from hanging off one side to hanging off the other side. The boom running along the bottom of the sail will whack the inattentive sailor as it flips to the other side giving notice that the boat will be instantly leaning the other way.

The internet suggested I could hold the sail out if I cut a notch in the paddle.

When the sail wanted to switch sides it would wrestle the paddle away.

Low-tech worked better.

It was an easy 6 mph glide back up to the woodsy part of the river. That beats 3.5 average paddling speed. That made the extra time setting up a sail worth it.

On the way back I saw this leftover relic from logging.

Someone has a nice garden with a river view which I’ve never noticed from the road.

I thought I saw a herd of deer scramble up from the shore. When I ‘developed the film’ I saw that someone is raising goats.

Into the woods and the wind was quiet

As the signboards used to say along the freeway, “If you lived here, you’d be home now.”

Or, more affordable, here.

I’d settle for this and a good tent.

Six ten and nearly home, the landing is just beyond this bridge in Naselle.

Something to look at, maybe salvage if it’s a sailboard.

It’s got tent poles. Here’s another use for a water proof camera…use it under water.

Perhaps it blew into the river during one of our windstorms. Perhaps it was trash tossed off the bridge

Now to do the responsible thing because creatures could drown in it. It won’t decompose.

dragging it back

Dragging stuff up the muddy landing

A tent ready for a leaf bag from the car.

So, two hours after spotting the tent, I was heading home to clean off the mud and to cook up a late dinner.

 

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‘MapMyTracks’, a phone app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Note: If you enjoyed Allan’s recent Audubon trip to Long Island with author Robert Pyle, you might want to go back to that post and read the two post-trip messages (now added to the end) from the organizers. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017: Allan’s Day

Friends of Willapa trail clean up

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A map in the Headquarters Unit showing protected lands and their recreational features.

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Today (Saturday) the gate was open. The trails are accessible even when the gate is closed

I was there to help perform maintenance on the Cutthroat Creek trail as organized by the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

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Pre-cut steps ready to dig in. They’re pre-drilled for a couple of two-foot rebar chunks to ‘nail’ them down.

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Supervisor Jackie and the first of many series of steps on this trail.

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Jackie and some of the asphalt installers

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The pink flag meant work. Here’s a new step almost ready for a piece of asphalt.

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A fungi party parallels the trail.

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Natural steps are sometimes in place.

I found that the log installation was going well. I thought an undrilled log could support a wiggling step. I learned it would just be a hazard later if it rolled underfoot so I packed in soil instead.

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I beat up some old clippers slowly cutting a step top. It’s better to score, bend and break.

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Some more steps going in

At this point I found myself hauling shingles to try to keep the shinglers shingling. Pruners were cutting and others were hauling but when hugging shingles, it wasn’t easy taking pictures and besides, I wanted to look busy.

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Maybe bark later when this muddy spot dries out.

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This fungi party extends off into the forest.

The logs are nearly done, some more need to be made, and the asphalters are near the end of the trail.

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Todd ahead as someone behind asked us to pose for a picture. Then I turned around and followed instructions to be included in a photo.

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Our ‘Garden Gang’ Todd who’s been doing this for years.

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Yumm, and I thought we had to bring our own.

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Maybe about twenty volunteers who have been making the Willapa a better place to visit.




Black Lake

Todd went right to work after the Cutthroat trail project. I went home (it’s supposed to be a day off after all).

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The kids in this book I was reading were figuring out how to sail on a frozen lake with their sledges. It had something to do with an expedition to the ‘North Pole ‘ that would be at the north end of the lake.

We had a good wind from the north, so later I went to practice at our local Black Lake. There is no walking or working out when you’re in a sailboat, unless the wind dies.

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Tucked under a tree by the generous permission of the land owner who likes to promote sailboats on the lake. The other two ‘yacht club’ boats have yet to be used by their owners.

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If the boat works sideways, it should work keel side down.

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Years ago, Ilwaco City Hall had an extra rhododendron which Skyler recommended they plant at the lake. Here it is on the east side.

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Downwind to the furthest tip.

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Now to sail back, step off on shore, and NOT use the oars. I’ve done it once in eight outings. That’s why I installed oarlocks.

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A flowering salal where it should be, in its natural state.

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Tried to grab the camera and get a horizon shot with the mast leaned way over. To do that I have to let go of lines and or rudder. The boat straightens up and, well, maybe it doesn’t lean over all that much.

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The top speed was all of five and a half mph, easier than running or rowing.

The landing is to the right, just beyond the grass. The shore blocks the breeze. It takes inertia to glide in. Too slow and the boat looses steerage and drifts into the hazards.

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Smooth water, no breeze near the landing.

I grabbed the camera, got the shot,  but in letting go of stuff I drifted into the island.

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Rippled water out in the lake meant there was enough wind to try again. I pushed off the island but didn’t row.

I put the camera down and went around again, and again, for an hour. The challenge was to not to paddle. The kids in Ransome’s books don’t paddle without good reason.

When I got home and was asked “How was the trip”, I thought that spending an hour circling the landing was the highlight of the trip. “That doesn’t sound very productive.” I thought I’d try to illustrate it here.

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A google map with the challenge highlighted.

In chess, there is a fifty move rule where the game is a draw if no piece is captured or a pawn moved. Time spent learning how to win an endgame is productive if you want to get the game over.

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White can checkmate, or it’s a draw if white isn’t careful.

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…success

 

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Allan’s Day, part two: Long Island

This was the feature of the day, the weekend, to me: A guided trip by naturalists of a route to easily land and hike up to the small stand of old growth cedar that has been preserved on Long Island.

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Here’s Long Island as it compares to the Long Beach peninsula

Here’s another view of the island.

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I’ve paddled into the bottom of the large green meadow in the center. Another time I paddled to the meadow opposite the Refuge and Baby Island but didn’t spot a good place to land with a trail. Actually, I felt it was OK to just sit in the boat.

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Not all birders are boaters, therefore, canoes and planning.

Once again I ran across Baylee Layman, owner of Willapa Paddling Adventures. She had just driven 35 miles south from Raymond with a customer’s rental. Her shop has a fleet of varied kayaks and paddle boards. It’s a great place to get a lesson and into the water.

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Baylee with one of her kayaks

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Robert Pyle loading up with Tom & Ann

I was the last to leave as I had boots to help push boats off.

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We were careful not to break the bug net

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A canoe returns for more passengers while the kayaks head for the old ferry landing.

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The pickup truck of the paddling world

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I dragged the little Mary Beth kayak to just over the grass bank.

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Robert Pyle & crew followed

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Here’s the party getting ready. Someone suggested I pull the Mary Beth up even further and tie it to a post next to Dr. Pyle’s canoe.

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Here’s the same scene after we came back. The tide had risen six feet and fallen back a half a foot and was still flooding the grass bluff.

There was a large group paddling around to the far side of the island to set up camp at Smokey Hollow, one of five campsites on the island.

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The evergreen huckleberry grabbed the focus

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Here’s a story

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Dr. Pyle pointed out a solitary Silverleaf at the boat landing.

The trail was easy to follow as it was an old logging road covered with grass and fallen branches.

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Fungi on the trail

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Water droplets – I just had to touch one and find out. I don’t recall any rain that day either, just fog maybe four hours earlier.

 

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The underneath was quite different from the top

 

After about two miles we came to a sign and a narrow trail.

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The beginning of about a fifteen-minute loop trail

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An evergreen huckleberry high up in the grove.

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A topped tree with multiple new trunks

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A fallen tree is bridged instead of sawn.

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The differences between lichen and moss are examined.

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Not sure of the book’s title but this sighting turned out to be a grey jay, sometimes called a whiskey jack.

A phone app that was recommended was ‘Merlin Bird ID’ by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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Back to the landing with the boats still there

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Steve, on the left, handled the logistics that made this trip possible.

 

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Dr. Pyle, Tom and I are the last boats back.

Now I can share this trip again with a friend or several. I have one person already angling for a trip to be organized later this summer.

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From the Refuge to the grove and back, at an average of 1.6 mph, with side trips took almost five hours and covered eight miles according to my ‘MapMyTracks’ app.

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Smokey and our Robert Pyle book collection


 Post Script…Emails from Steve & R.M. Pyle June 4

Hello All:

Just wanted to say a final Thank You to you for a fun & friendly gathering last week at the refuge.  We managed to stay safe on the water and to enjoy the incredible beauty of the several environments we visited, plus see, and hear, some birds.  I think the hiking was a bit more than what I had estimated but a welcome workout nonetheless.  It was a pleasure to be involved and great to meet some new folks.  I think we all enjoyed our human company as much as the flora and fauna.  Hope we can do this again.  I’m looking at the Ellsworth basin nearby as a potential trip next Fall or next year.  For those of you who are not Willapa Hills members I invite you to join or at least visit our website http://willapahillsaudubon.org/.  So long!

BTW, we had 25 bird species identified, several by sound only.

Steve

Bob Pyle wanted me to forward the following missive:
Dear Folks,

Thanks so much for coming out with Steve and me to Long Island Saturday. Everything seemed to work out well, and I, for one, had a fine time. Thanks to those who helped with my big canoe.
I was glad to see that the Grove of Ancient Cedars was named for Congressman Don Bonker. Don was a great representative who sponsored ALL the major land protection bills passed during the Reagan administration, which wasn’t many: Columbia Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, Bowerman Basin, and Long Island. Even then, Weyerhaeuser tried to hold the cedars hostage for more money than they had agreed to take in the first place. Bonker called their bluff, and saved the rest of the cedars. (This, of course, with lots of local support, including from WHAS.) His successor, Jolene Unsoeld, got the refuge expanded and the island protection completed. We won’t see their like again in the Third District, the way it has been gerrymandered by the Republican Party.

If you would like to know more details, you will find a fairly complete summary of the whole story in my book Wintergreen: Rambles in a Raveaged Land, in the chapter called “The Last of the Old Growth.” Earlier editions leave the story somewhat up in the air, but the latest (fifth; 2016, Pharos Editions/Counterpoint) brings it all up to date.It’s available in Redmen Hall, Skamokawa, at Powell’s Books (Including Powells.com, far preferable to Amamonster for on-line book shopping), and of course in our fine libraries.

The trail penetrates just a corner of the cedar grove. There are many more, and denser, ancient trees protected there than we saw, but they take some work and time to get into. Dr. Jerry Franklin (UW & USFS), the old growth guru, said upon beholding them that this was the first climax forest he had ever met outside a textbook. He thought there were 3,000 year-old cedars there, and no significant disturbance for 1000 years. Their survival  was a close call.

Oh, and I was  little surprised to see NO butterflies on the island, given our lucky warm, sunny day, and plenty of nectar in the salal, evergreen blackberry, and spring beauty. Not many species occupy the coastal strip, but a few have been recorded on the island, and half a dozen or more could easily have been in the habitats we traversed. The long, wet winter and spring (so-called) have been rough on their survival through the winter, thanks to what I call the Rot Factor. Another, warmer & sunnier spring we might have seen some.

I much enjoyed meeting and seeing you all, and I thank brother Steve for getting this great outing together. Hope to see you again soon.

All the best,
Bob

R. M. Pyle
Gray’s River

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I managed to find the slow way out of town. Here I am watching a crew clearing the large tree that recently took out the city’s power. Down the road I was stopped again as traffic watched a crane working on a new culvert.

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Left is the tree top and right is the sizable trunk with fresh wires in between.

After arriving in Seattle and settling in and visiting with my brother, I attended a Christmas party with old friends Saturday night.

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A bunch of Moto Guzzi owners-but no motorcycles parked outside in the snow.

Next day started with some detective work.

A Wedgwood grade school classmate of mine had posted this picture on her Facebook page. The house in the background looked familiar but I couldn’t find it on google’s street view.

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The car may be a classic but it was just a couple of years old at the time.

Soon the case was solved.

Here it is almost sixty years later.

Next, I walked a little further to our grade school, past a ‘Little Free Library.’

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“Every book is a Tardis”

A small portion of the Wedgwood grade school’s playground has been made into learning gardens divided by grade level.

A greenhouse just like ours with an ambitious self-leveling water collection system already half full for the sixth graders.

The faucet by the fence is plumbed a long way from the school.

For the third graders

A friendly sign.


I went by my old house and noticed a more efficient heat pump had been installed by the new owners. Mom’s plants are maturing in the foreground and our Scottish Terrier’s play area was behind the fence.

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Across the street was a beauty berry bush.

Next, it was down to the water where Seattle likes to boat.

We are at the site marked number one.

In spite of a Seattle SeaHawks game and a forty degree day melting the snow from the day before, I saw a couple of boaters.

The Aqua Verde Cafe rents little boats and serves up Mexican food.

A tetrapanax highlights Aqua Verde’s small garden. The Interstate 5 bridge is in the background.

One of these tours might be convenient. They know where to go and will try to bring us all back right side up.

Birds of a feather flocking off the dock.

Next, I headed for Duck Bay in the university’s Arboretum, my favorite place to canoe as a kid.

Duck Bay residents.

When I was a kid, we used to drag our boat to the mud bank closest to the “You Are Here” arrow and muck our way in.

The Arboretum now has dedicated graveled landing sites, and they’re not very near the car at all. I was told at the visitor’s center that with the scarce parking, most boaters launch from the University crew house and paddle across the highway of motorboats going through the Montlake cut.

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The university rents canoes from the upper left.

When I was a kid, this seemed a lot bigger.

Here’s the water route that leads to the noisy freeway bridges.

Next place to check out was at the south end of Lake Union next to the original Boeing airplane plant .

The mouth of Cedar River has a small park and a boat club centered around its racing shells.

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When Boeing is done building the plane on the right it will be towed over the slender bridge to the field to the left.

Not the prettiest place to paddle, but lots to look at.

The couple on this bridge were waiting to see a plane take off.

A sign you don’t see very often.

I was behind the building when there was a loud roar overhead.

I missed the potentially fatal jet blast, dang.  The couple on the bridge was excited to see the plane take off,  whoa! How did the locals know the time of this thunderous event?

Later, back at my brother’s place:

A couch surfer’s view of my brother’s apartment on the last morning.

When a guest stays too long they look like prey.

On the way home, I stopped at Trader Joe’s for a few special groceries from the ‘big city.’ There I learned when not to get another free sample.

Sign at Trader Joe’s

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