For the last couple of months, my life has revolved around various springtime tasks, and leading our Elderhostel/Exploritas kayaking groups every other week. This has been a very cold, wet, and windy spring. The picture below was taken on March 28th, on our Leadership Scenarios day in Skamokawa. Today, it looks much the same out there, at the end of May!
I have been involved with Elderhostel groups since 2004, and to date, I have been a co-leader for 84 Elderhostel programs. This year, all four of our spring programs lined up on similar tides, and we paddled the same routes each time. One of these routes was paddling along the cliffs upstream of Cathlamet, created 17 million years ago by the Columbia River basalt flows. There are dramatic waterfalls, and a population of plants that are found nowhere else in the county, including various wildflowers, Oregon white oak, Madrone and even poison oak.
Flowers shown below are Broad-Leaved Stonecrop, Larkspur and Streamside Arnica.
The controversial, but beautiful Caspian terns are back, to spend the summer nesting on sandy islands in the Columbia, and feasting on salmon smolts. You can read a little about the terns, and their presence on the Columbia River by clicking here.
In other springtime news, I did finally manage to catch a spring Chinook, with only a couple of days left of the season, and my brother caught his on the very last day. The water was so high and cloudy down in this part of the river that even though there was a decent run of fish passing through, the catch rate was pretty mediocre, and a lot of people went up above the confluence with the Willamette to fish in clearer water.
And I caught a very small window of dry, sunny days, and managed to till my garden beds while the soil was dry and warm. I got my potatoes planted, three 40′ long beds worth, just before the weather switched back to rain again. I bought fresh seed potatoes this year from Irish Eyes, and planted Russian Banana, a fingerling that has done well here before, Chieftan, a red potato, and Bintje, a variety I had never heard of before.
Now, if it would just stop raining for a little while….