Posts Tagged ‘Naselle River’

  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



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 with a plus 5.1 tide.

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.


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


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


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.



‘MapMyTracks’, a phone app.








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Monday, 23 February 2015

Today I thought I would paddle the upper Naselle River. I had looked at it and its current several times. I wondered if I could successfully paddle back to the launch or whether I would be walking back from downstream. Because we’ve haven’t had a day off for a while, I had a bunch of chores but finally arrived at the launch about 3:30 with two hours before sunset. The tide was still rising from 6  to 7 feet and would drop to 5 before I left.


map to Naselle

From here, Naselle is over there…

Last time I boated the Naselle River, I started at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge, went around Stanley Peninsula and had to turn around a little past the 101 bridge.


Flowers that return yearly for all of us to enjoy planted years ago at the north end of the  Astoria Megler Bridge

google map

Naselle is lower right. O’Conner Creek at the upper right was my upstream limit today. Downstream limit was the bend at the upper left.


The boat’s little wheels (and my boots) were a mucky mess

I fortunately didn’t need to back up a boat trailer but this stuff was sticky. Trying to keep mud out of the boat, I discovered that the water near that bank was indeed deeper than my 15 inch boots. After tying the muddy wheels on the boat in case they were needed, I headed upstream.  If I couldn’t make headway I planned to go ashore at the bridge and walk back. The GPS later said the current was 1.4 mph which is slower than the 3-5 mph I can paddle.



The first heron I actually got a picture of. They are usually very still while they watch me, then sound like what the movies think is a pterodactyl sound as they fly off.

a flying bird, though not up to Mr. Tootlepedal's photographic standards

The heron flying upstream, though not quite up to Mr. Tootlepedal’s photographic standards

Heard lots of little birds but very little other noise. Only the occasional car as there was a small road paralleling the river for part of the way.

still water

still water

The water was very calm and made for great reflections.


The light current shows on these logs


Multitasking as I clean my boots and walk the boat

 After a little over a mile there was shallow gravel all the way across. After a tow there was deeper water upstream.


Last view upstream.

 Our gardening and blogger friend, Ann, had shared pictures of her father’s place on the river up here somewhere. I remember it had a monkey puzzle tree near the river and it was also near a fish counting station with a cable & basket over the water. At this point. the current seemed to get faster and I would need to get out and tow again. Cars were visible ahead on Highway 4 but I wasn’t getting to any of these goals today. I turned around.





Hmmm, you’re back

  This could be the same heron I interrupted earlier.


sorry I disturbed you again…


More trees


The launch at plus 7 feet

Back to the launch. I remembered the van getting stuck in soft grass on a job last week and knew I would not have been able to pull out a boat trailer through the mud today. Fortunately, my boat is light enough to not need a trailer.

The GPS told me I had gone 1.5 miles upstream and that the boat had reached a speed of 5.6 mph going downstream. With an hour of sunlight to go I was able to go one more mile downstream.


 Heading under the  Lewis and Clark highway that comes north from the Columbia river.


Can’t get the boat very close to the ducks before…


….off they go, even though I try to  drift up quietly.


Ferns and a dock; well, maybe it’s just part of a dock now.

On January 4, a major rain storm washed out part of Highway 4 nearby and parts of this riverbank still looked de-vegetated.




This was the closest point to highway 4 for a while so I got out for a look.


Muddy wheels and a wet mess of clothes in the back of the boat.

The water was over 15″ deep here too.


No road in sight.




Washed up fishing floats.


More reflections.


Different tree, really


Cows outstanding in their field

Reminds me that my dad once boated down the Cedar River through Kent, which is south of Seattle, into Lake Washington. He mentioned that the parking lots, stores and malls are hardly visible at all from the river and the car noises are much quieter. The deep trench of this river didn’t allow me to find Ann’s monkey puzzle tree that I mentioned earlier or to see much of this pasture.


Not wildlife.

I could be seen though.


Almost back to the launch


Just grab a tuft of grass, grab the rope and commit.

Now it was five miles and two hours later. There is a house on the right of the photo that overlooks the launch and further safety is provided by…


Naselle is prepared for what we know can happen to small towns in the woods .

I spotted the zombie response vehicle at the local grocery when I arrived and later photographed it on the way out. It’s clearly owned by a worker, on their shift, there to protect us all.


Columbia River sunset over the Astoria Megler Bridge on the drive home

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