young hemlock

When I was a kid, I was really, really into fishing, and somewhere along the way, I picked up subscriptions to Outdoor Life and Field and Stream magazines. I read the hunting articles with gusto as well, and used to read all the outfitters’ ads in the back, imagining what it would be like to hunt javelina in Arizona or moose in Alaska. But hunting was not something that my family did, not my parents’ generation anyway.

My dad had an old Winchester model 94 rifle, chambered in obsolete .32 Winchester Special. When I finally got to be a teenager, and had been through hunter safety training at Boy Scout camp (in direct contravention to my mother’s orders to stay away from the rifle range), I was allowed to at least handle this rifle, and I used to take it out of the cabinet and clean it. It was in pretty rough shape though, with lots of copper fouling and crud. I don’t think it had been cleaned since sometime in the early fifties, if then.

But I never knew any adults who hunted, and so it pretty much slipped off the list of things to think about. When I lived in Northern California, one year I went looking for a wild turkey for Thanksgiving, having read a small book about turkey hunting. They were everywhere in that neighborhood, but I wasn’t able to find the flock that day until I had tramped all over about 300 acres of land. When I finally came across them, there they were, on the other side of the fence where my hunting permission stopped.

pack and rifle

When I moved back to Washington, I started fishing again, and pretty much had to teach myself how to catch salmon, since that was also something that I didn’t learn from my family. I had a pretty frustrating first season, first not hooking any fish, and then hooking and losing them, but I eventually figured it out. For the past three years, I’ve been talking about getting a hunting license, too, since I live surrounded by elk, deer, grouse and bear, but I would always get caught up in other activities and, since hunting would require a steep learning curve, I would let it slide.

This year, though, I finally decided it was time to do something about it. I dragged out some of my brother’s rifles that are stored here, and ended up selecting the SVD Tiger/Dragunov as the closest thing to an elk rifle that I had, and I went and bought a license, my first one ever. I spent a few days during early deer season scouting around behind my land here, and the first day I went out, I jumped a small buck in thick alder and brush. He was up and out of there so fast I didn’t have a chance to shoot. I spent the next couple of days trying to find him again, but with no luck.

timbered slope

When elk season started, I went over to the forest behind Andrew’s place, where there was a lot more elk sign than at my place. I spent several days, getting into the woods at dawn and hunting until afternoon. I had a great time, and covered a lot of territory that I had never seen before, including a nice stand of second growth timber, which is not all that common around here anymore.

I quickly figured out a few things, mostly about noise, and moving quietly. Almost all my clothes are noisy, my pack is noisy, and especially the rifle is noisy. The safety is very stiff and loud, the plastic stock makes loud noises every time it brushes up against anything, and it is covered with sharp, angular protrusions that are uncomfortable against your body and tend to snag up on every little twig or branch.

I ended up putting this rifle away, cleaning out the piggy bank and buying a “proper” deer rifle, a used Marlin 336 lever action rifle, in .35 Remington. It is SO much nicer to carry!

For days of elk hunting, these old bones were as close as I got to an elk.

elk vertabrae

One of the best things I got out of hunting this year though, was learning the area behind my land at a level of detail that I did not know before. I found two different ways to walk up to the next network of logging roads on the ridge that lead all the way over to Oatfield road, where Andrew and Audrey and the Speranzas live, and was able to drive (just barely!) from that side all the way up to the top, where the ridge is only about as wide as the road and you could look into Middle valley on one side and over to the marsh below my house on the other side. GPS waypoints and Google maps are awesome tools.

On the last day of elk season, I was hunting in the clearcut behind my place, and jumped a blacktail buck out of his bed. He walked about 30 yards up towards the timber, and I stopped, sat down and pulled out the binocs. He stopped about 100 yards away, and stood there, perfectly broadside to me, and just watched me. If only it was deer season!

I came back for the four days of late deer season, looking for this buck every day, and never saw him again. The weather was rainy and sometimes very windy, and the deer stayed hunkered down and out of sight. The day after deer season closed, I went up to the clearcut again, and found the buck’s fresh tracks going right up the middle of one of the logging roads, right out in the open. They’re not dumb, those deer.

do you see the buck?


Well, here it is, almost Halloween and more than three months since I last posted anything! It has been a busy season, and I just haven’t felt very organized about blogging and posting pictures to Flickr. I have to admit, Facebook has absorbed a good deal of the time and energy I have for blogging and social interaction on the computer, but I am not ready to give up the blog just yet. So here’s a somewhat long update.

Pelicans at Buoy Ten

Salmon fishing this year was incredible. Almost every time I went out, everyone on the boat limited. One day Brian and Lisa and I went out in the ocean and kept six fish in under an hour, and put back five natives. It was about as hot as I have ever seen it. I smoked and froze a bunch of fish and when it got to be too much fish to have time to smoke it all, I vacuum packed and froze fillets instead.


In August, we held the Loco Roundup kayak symposium on Puget Island again. After a whole lot of last minute wrangling and logging approved training hours, I took the BCU four star sea kayak assessment, and passed. This is something I have been trying to get done for almost a year and a half, and it finally came together this summer. It was a two day, on the water assessment, leading a group of paddlers near Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River. I was so focused on the task at hand, that it was only later I realized that I hadn’t taken a single picture for two days. But I did take pictures during the training sessions, and that’s where this picture is from.

Cape D

I also passed the three star canoe assessment, and took the new Level Two coaching class. With luck, a lot of hours practicing, and piles of paperwork, I might be ready to take that assessment next spring. I helped Ginni with two BCU assessments this year, one of them was a new two star with canoes and one was a three star assessment with candidates from three countries, speaking two different languages.

Canoe fun

navigation project

At the end of August, Shannon and I went to see Al Green at the Edgefield. Does Al Green still have it goin’ on? Yes, he certainly does…

Al Green at the Edgefield, August 28, 2009

Near the beginning of September, Columbia River Kayaking got the news that we will be allowed to run our own Elderhostel programs here next year, without the need for a middleman like we had this year. This will allow us more direct control over our interaction with Elderhostel and we will keep more money in the bank at the end of the day as well.

pilings and kayaks

Oh, and Elderhostel, for reasons I cannot fathom, decided this year to change the name that it has spent 25 years building brand recognition around. Apparently there is a sizable piece of the over-55 demographic that found the word “elder” to be offensive. The new name, which I might never get used to, is Exploritas. I’m sure there were many interesting committee meetings involved in that decision…

smooth water

Skamokawa Center continues to languish in limbo, though. There had been a foreclosure auction scheduled for October 2nd, but the day before, Greg and his LLCs filed for bankruptcy, which automatically shielded him from the foreclosure action. The auction was rescheduled for Friday, November 13th. Heh, heh, heh….

Sunrise in Port Townsend

The well ran dry this year. There was not enough August rain to keep it full for the whole dry season. I carried water for about three weeks, which isn’t too bad compared to other years. One year I hauled water for something like 80 days. Unfortunately, it always runs out just at the time that there are fish to clean and process…

the well

It was a great year for food preservation. For the first time in a long time, I was very organized and persistent in keeping on top of all the food that was showing up this year. Besides fish, berries were also in abundance and I made a lot of jam. And when Ginni left for Mexico, we had a big garden gleaning day at the farm and hauled away bags and boxes of produce, including an IKEA bag half full of jalapenos. I pickled a bunch of those, and Shannon and I made some jalapeno relish, and I have a big tray of roasted ones sitting here that I need to finish putting in jars tonight. I still have to get in the rest of the apples from here and Ginni’s place.


All of that food, plus the fact that I’ve been really broke this year led me to break ground on a new garden. I haven’t been willing to go all out with gardening here, since the water is not all that reliable, but I have been reading Steve Solomon’s “Gardening When it Counts” and setting this garden up with his minimalist irrigation plan in mind. Basically, you give each plant more space, and then relentlessly weed out any competitors for the water. I borrowed Krist’s tractor and tiller attachment and tilled up a space about 40×60 feet, and then made nine, five foot wide beds out of it. I planted three beds to garlic and the rest to cover crops for now. Fencing is next.

new garden

This will be the biggest garden I’ve grown since I lived in Salmon Creek, in 2000.

garden beds

This is also the first year I have purchased a hunting license. I didn’t grow up with hunting, so I never really learned anything about it, but I have had deer and bear in my yard this fall, and there are always elk around here, too. Last year, we bought a quarter of a local steer for the freezer, and spent several hundred dollars on that. It was delicious, and it’s nice to support local folk who are growing local meat. We bought a half a hog this year from Crippen Creek Farm. But I sure would like to put an elk or a bear in the freezer, too. We’ll see how that goes. With hunting season in mind, I’ve been sifting through the armory here, looking for an adequate elk rifle. I’ve been shooting my brother’s Dragunov rifle, but I haven’t been able to set it up on a bench and sight it in properly yet. It seems to shoot a little low and to the left. My practically new Browning shotgun might actually get put to use this year, too, since grouse are abundant around the land here and they are open until the end of December.

Dragunov SVD Tiger

I should have put up more firewood this year. I did a lot of work in the woods here this summer, making tractor trails so I can access the stands of trees there. But what I pulled out in that process is still only a cord or so, and three cords is more like what I use in a season here. No doubt I will actually end up purchasing a cord or two this year. I’ll get back in there in the spring to pull out another batch of logs to inoculate with Shiitake mushrooms.

alder logs


What happens when all that snow melts and then it rains hard for a few days?

Flooding, that’s what. This is the state highway between my house and town, about an hour after high tide. Yes, I did drive through it, and yes, it was a little bit sketchy.

Maybe a plague of locusts will be next….

flood waters

flood waters


Skamokawa Center in the snow

What a year it’s been, and what a month December has been!

Notable events for December include the bankruptcy and closure of Skamokawa Center, where much of our kayaking work was based, and where I have worked managing the paddle center for five years. In fact, five years is the longest I’ve ever worked for the same organization. Columbia River Kayaking, the LLC that the guides formed in 2007, is now scrambling to find ways to replace that income and hopefully keep some of our programming going in some other form.

the end of the back porch

All that snow that we were playing in back on December 20th? Well, an awful lot of it is still here. In fact, it snowed almost continually through Christmas Day, which resulted in our back porch roof collapsing under the weight of about 20 inches of snow on Christmas morning. The light-duty, almost flat roof was never intended to hold up that kind of weight. On Christmas eve, it had started to thaw and rain a little, but during the night it switched back to heavy snow. I did manage to save the front porch roof by climbing up a ladder with a snow shovel and clearing it off. Thankfully, the Subaru wagon did remarkably well in this weather. With it’s all wheel drive and studded snow tires, I was never unable to go where I needed to go. The only place I got stuck was in my own driveway, trying to break out of the deep snow that had accumulated the night before.

snow machine

My driveway is finally clear down to the pavement though, even though the rest of the land is still covered. I hiked up to the back of the land this afternoon and was still finding snow deep enough to go over the tops of my rubber boots. The heavy snow did a lot of damage to the fruit trees and shrubbery near the house, and I wanted to see how the forest had fared. There wasn’t a lot of damage up there, mostly small hemlock and spruce trees bent over and some breakage in the wild cherry and alder. My Port Orford Cedars and Redwoods will need to be dug out of the snow and propped back up again, though. I’m hoping I can save them.

There were elk tracks everywhere, and evidence of them resorting to eating the usnea lichen off of the trees wherever they could get to it. I’m sure they will be glad when this snow finally thaws away. At least one of the feral bunnies is still alive though, having holed up in the empty barn and successfully foraged under the trees.

snowy trees


Yesterday was the annual Christmas Bird Count. I was feeling a little under the weather and didn’t go out for a full day, but went out for three hours, and paddling about eight miles. There were a lot of duck hunters blasting away in one of the most likely sloughs, so I avoided that one. And there was a cold east wind blowing, too, so most of the little perching birds stayed low and out of sight. But I still managed to get 19 species, mostly waterfowl and a few raptors, and I hauled a pile of trash out of the tidal area of Welch Island. These bald eagles let me paddle right up underneath them.

Well, that’s that for 2008, there’s only a few hours left now. Here’s hoping for positive change, health and prosperity in 2009!

high tide on Welsh Island


pyranha micro 240

So, it doesn’t often snow this much in Skamokawa, but today I’ve had several inches of snow on the ground for days already, and more is predicted to arrive this afternoon. It is already about seven or eight inches deep in the pasture.

Alice and I went out to do some sledding, which usually gets done with garbage can lids at my house. When it rarely snows, you don’t own a proper sled. So we were scrutinizing the garbage cans again, when I suddenly remembered the whitewater kayaks! Perfect sledding substitute!

Alice at the top of the hill

It took a couple of passes down the driveway to get the snow nicely packed down, but then it worked very well. Too well, almost! On one pass Alice ended up under a rhododendron bush covered in snow, and on another pass she ended up in the ditch by the road, having just missed a small alder sapling.

Already being a kayaker, I knew a little better how to steer by leaning and bracing, but having no paddle, I used my bare hands for bracing, which worked alright until my last run, when I hand braced into the blackberry bushes on the side of the driveway… and then ended up flipping over at the bottom while leaning a little too hard trying to avoid the ditch.

All in good fun…and I’m still picking blackberry thorns out of my hands.

zooming downhill

at the bottom

me, going fast

This is a trip I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve paddled from Skamokawa to Astoria several times in the last couple of years, and the last time I went down there, I felt like I had energy to spare and joked with my clients that we should paddle back with the flood tide. They looked at me like I was crazy…

It is about 19 miles or so to paddle from Skamoakwa to Astoria, and so doubling that would come in at just under 40 miles, the longest paddling day I’ve ever done. When Ginni and I were building the schedule a few weeks ago, we were looking for a compatible tide series for this trip, and the only one that was available to us demanded a 4 AM departure from Skamokawa. We looked at each other and said, “Why not?”

The plan was to paddle to Astoria on the ebb tide, arrive around 8:30 or so, and eat breakfast at the Blue Scorcher bakery, just a couple of blocks up the hill from the Maritime Museum. Then when the tide turned, we would head back upstream to Skamokawa.

What 4:30 in the morning looks like

So we dragged our butts out of bed at an unnatural hour, made our way down to the dock, and set out downstream, leaving Skamokawa at 5 AM. There was a strong current flowing out and my new GPS showed us zipping along at 7 mph. Ginni borrowed the GPS and got her kayak up to 8.5 mph for a moment.

Down below Miller Sands, where the shipping channel turns towards Astoria, the dredge equipment was working, and we also saw this buoy, tangled in several hundred feet of gillnet. I’ll digress here for a minute. First of all, these nets are not cheap! Why anybody would lay out thousands of dollars worth of net in a place where they would risk tangling it this severely is beyond me. And it wasn’t just snagged on the end, either; whoever did this evidently drifted down on this buoy with the net strung out for hundreds of feet on both sides of it. But what really gets me is that after it tangled on the buoy, they just cut it loose and abandoned it, as a hazard to fish and to navigation. The bright side of this story is by the time we passed this buoy again on the way home, the guys running the dredge equipment had removed the net and piled it on one of their barges.

number 6, festooned with gillnet

That last leg of the paddle from Rice Island to Astoria is a long one, since the destination is in plain sight for so long, without seeming to get much closer. Finally we starting pulling up on Tongue Point, just east of town.

approaching Tongue Point

By this time, we were starting to smell the cinnamon rolls and coffee!


Not long after, we were pulling into the East Mooring Basin to see if there were any lingering sea lions hanging around. We only saw one, apparently not with the program as most of the rest of the gang is off to California to the breeding grounds.

entrance to the East Mooring Basin

Here’s a great name for a fishing boat, huh? And a bottom dragger to boot! Last year, the trawling industry here was hit with scandal when they were caught dumping and grinding up protected rockfish bycatch to prevent their whiting season from being shut down. Nice, huh? Little was done about it and they continued to fish for whiting even after being caught cheating the system. And this year, when salmon fishing is sharply curtailed all up and down the coast, the trawl industry gets to kill 11,000 Chinook salmon as bycatch. Can you tell I’m not a fan of the trawl boats?

God's Will?

I don’t know much about this boat, except that it is an old, out of service pilot boat. It is a beauty though, with such a great color scheme. Here’s what I found when I googled it.

kayak and pilot boat

We paddled under the old red cannery building that was so damaged in last winter’s windstorm and then up to the dock at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The mileage to this point, measured by GPS, was 19.4 statute miles and we did it in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Not too bad! But we knew the return trip wouldn’t be so quick…

under the cannery


the dock at the Maritime Museum

After changing into “cilvilian” clothes and stowing the kayaks, we headed up to the bakery, where we spent an hour or so hanging out drinking coffee and eating breakfast. Josh looks like he’s still asleep though!

at the Blue Scorcher

at the Blue Scorcher

We got back on the water about 10:30, when we saw the ships at anchor starting to swing around with the change of the tide, and headed back past Tongue Point, where we saw four or five sturgeon jumping and rolling in just a few hundred yards. What makes them do that?

While our average speed on the downriver leg was 6.4 mph, now we were only averaging 4.3, and as we pulled alongside Rice Island and the dredge equipment again, the wind was starting to blow. We stopped on Miller Sands for a quick break and then continued on.

taking a break

This part of the trip was much less smooth than the first part, and we were soon surfing wind waves, and, around 30 miles or so, were starting to feel a bit tired! We took another break below Jim Crow Point and then got back to work for the last 5 miles or so. This part of the trip had only taken 50 minutes earlier in the day, now it took almost twice that! As we were pulling up next to Skamokwa, we were actually starting to notice an ebb current again.

where's the kayaker?

We finished the trip back at our home dock at 4 PM, eleven hours after we had begun. We covered 39.2 miles in eight hours and five minutes of paddling time, according to the GPS. We were tired, my drysuit was leaking and our boats seemed heavier than ever before as we carried them up the ramp to the paddle center. I joked that next time we should do the same trip in whitewater boats, just to keep things interesting. Oddly, there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for that idea….


finished and tired!

Busy, busy, busy!

I keep meaning to write this post before it gets too stale, and I keep being too busy to get to it. But today, I seem to have found myself with a little bit of slack time.

getting ready to tow

Last week, we ran two leadership scenario days for our guides at Columbia River Kayaking. The task was given to two or three guides to plan and lead a kayaking day trip. We invite along an assortment of paddlers, and then as the day progresses, Ginni and I come up with scenarios of different kinds for the paddlers to put into play and for the guides to respond to. These can range from wandering away from the group, unzipping PFDs, capsizing or needing to be towed.

The first day was with Josh, Katie and James as the leaders, the second day was a harder day, with Matthew and Levi leading. They have a year or two of experience over the other guides so we gave them some harder tasks to deal with.

The first day we ran through an assortment of capsize drills, including this one out in the middle of the river. My job as the “client” was to get unstable, capsize and then be too seasick to stay in my kayak, requiring a long tow to sheltered water. Here’s Josh, emptying the water out of my kayak with a T-rescue.

kayak T-rescue

The next leadership day was set up to be a little longer and harder. The night before, we loosened some of the hardware on the guides’ kayaks: the skeg control and a deck line fitting on Levi’s, and a foot peg track and seat back strap on Matthew’s. If this sounds underhanded (it sure seemed that way to Matthew!), I should point out that we created no scenario for our guides that has not already happened in real life at some point. Hardware does fail!

I also set up my kayak with a bunch of loose, float-able gear in my front hatch. More later!

We set out downriver to Brookfield with our little group, and spent the morning spreading out, not listening to our guides, unzipping our PFDs and generally making pests of ourselves. At one point, I capsized, let my kayak, paddle and PFD float away and when one of the other “clients” came over to help, I capsized him as well. Things were starting to get interesting!

At lunch, we debriefed some of the issues from the morning, and then Ginni pulled out an exercise I had not seen before. “OK guys, your paddle is starting to get hypothermic and has a minor head laceration. Pull out your kit and deal with it.” As guides, we need to be able to deal with almost any contingency that might come up on the water, and hypothermia is certainly common enough, as are minor injuries. This is a great exercise for seeing right away how well equipped the guide’s kit is. Here’s Levi’s paddle, dressed in warm clothes, with a thermos of hot tea, and a bandaid on the head injury. Nicely done!

Levi's paddle, dressed warmly

After lunch, the plan was to cross the river just upstream from Jim Crow Point. At this point in the day, the wind and tide had combined to create some very choppy and confused water near the point. I set out with my front hatch cover loose, got ahead of the group and promptly capsized in the rough water. I pulled all the loose gear out of the hatch and spread it around and flooded the front compartment before anyone caught up to me. Now things were really exciting! My kayak was half sunken, with gear floating everywhere in the rough water. Another paddler had taken off straight across the river, and when Levi went to deal with that, he found that his skeg control didn’t work. Whoops!

Rescuing a needled kayak

Rescuing a needled kayak

Matthew took on the task of rescuing me, which takes more time and effort when one hatch has been flooded. Levi gathered everyone up again and retreated back behind the point, while Matthew towed me and my partially flooded boat back to safety.

Plans were changed now and we headed back upriver to look for a better place to cross, as the wind, which was supposed to be light, instead continued to build, setting up wind waves and whitecaps over the whole river.

kayak portage train

We ended up landing on Fitzpatrick Island for a rest and regroup session. There were still two miles to go to get back to Skamokawa, and some people were tired and others were not comfortable in the waves. We ended up portaging across the island to launch on a more hospitable beach. In the middle of the portage, Matthew suddenly stopped and set his boat down for a closer look. It seems that his foot peg track had fallen out! That certainly could have happened in a worse place…

Something is wrong with Matthew's kayak

We finally reached Skamokawa, remarkably close to the time that our guides had been aiming for, but not before a few more bothersome “scenarios” popped up.

I love doing these leadership scenario training days. Of course, I have a lot of fun capsizing and causing trouble for the guides, but I also get a lot out of watching how things develop and learning different ways of dealing with trouble. Thanks to the guides for enduring it and thanks especially to the folks who came along as “clients”. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Today was the first Columbia River Kayaking Immersion class of the 2008 season. We got a full roster of 6 students and I spent the day working with Ginni learning how to teach this class. We had a great group of people from around the Northwest, all beginners or nearly so. It is so exciting as an instructor to watch people improve over the course of the day!

Immersion is a day long introduction to the basics of sea kayaking, including basic navigation, trip planning, wet exits and deepwater rescue basics. if you are thinking of getting into sea kayaking, or getting back into sea kayaking after years of absence, you can’t go wrong taking a thorough introductory class like this one.

Here’s a few pictures to enjoy, many thanks to Pentax, for making this awesome waterproof camera.

Getting ready to kayak. It’s important to have a good fit to the kayak!

getting ready

There are dry ways to get in a kayak from a dock, and then there are wet ways…

getting in

Rafted up.


Paddlers practicing handling each others’ boats.

two paddlers

Rescued! Here’s Ginni, demonstrating rescue techniques with me as the water dummy.


Well, it’s been a busy week! I finally got the new transmission in the Subaru the other day, after another trip back to Portland for more parts. For the first 100 miles or so, it was really stiff and noisy and not shifting smoothly, and I was starting to wonder when my bad car luck would end, if ever. Then, I guess the oil got to all the little places inside that it needed to and things quieted down somewhat and the shifting got much better. So, other than a host of other small problems like any car with over a quarter million miles on it might be expected to have, I have a decent car for daily driving again. Whew!

Here’s the new clutch all installed just before the transmission goes back in. The old clutch fork was just about worn through from lack of grease, and the axles were all loose and wobbly. I replaced those too, and now, with a quieter transmission, I can hear the noisy wheel bearings. Heh heh…

clutch cover

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The other big project this last week or so was getting shiitake logs inoculated. I went out into a little corner of woods by my barn and cleared out a bunch of small diameter alder, and cut it into 42″ lengths. Shannon and the girls stacked it up neatly and I ordered the sawdust spawn from Northwest Mycological Consultants in Corvallis, OR. It came about a week ago, and after I helped my neighbor Levi with his logs, I spent a day with Alice working on my logs and we got through one bag of spawn and about three dozen logs. Yesterday, Levi came over and we knocked out the rest of the spawn in a couple of hours. I still have some logs left over, so I will probably order another bag of spawn, maybe maitake, or one of the many oyster mushroom strains that are available.

It feels good to have gotten those things done, and just in time, since my work season is about to start in earnest. The first Elderhostel kayak tour of the season started Sunday night.

alder logs

Today, I took the day off from bashing my knuckles working on the car and went kayaking. Originally, Karl and Andrew and I were going to go to Ilwaco, but Karl bowed out and so we went with a revised plan instead. Andrew’s old friend Neil came along and brought with him Annette and Jay. We started out at County Line Park, named for it’s being near the county line, of course. The plan was to paddle from here downriver to Skamokawa, about 16 miles away.

I took a ton of pictures, but most were pretty washed out from the bright sunny day, or blurred beyond use from water on the lens. Oh well. A couple of the blurry ones were kind of cool, so I kept them.

waves and splashes

We stopped on White’s Island, just upstream from Puget Island so that Andrew could check on the horned lark population that he has been monitoring there for years. They have not been so happy with all the new dredge spoils dumped on top of their nesting grounds by the Army Corps of Engineers, but if it weren’t for the Corps, there wouldn’t even be a White’s Island, so what can you do?

While Andrew and Jay went for a quick hike, I wandered on the beach looking at all the flotsam and jetsam, and I found more evidence that irony is alive and well.


Zero garbage, indeed!

We stopped for lunch on this little beach, tucked away in a corner, and out of the east wind. This beach is covered with gravel deposits from the Missoula Floods, thousands of years ago. Andrew found several pieces of petrified wood while we were sitting there.


Now the outgoing tide was starting to pick up nicely and after lunch we practically flew along the basalt cliffs, past several waterfalls, to Cathlamet, where there are a number of boats of all kinds tied up at the old working waterfront. This craft appeared here a couple of years ago, and I had a Chinese couple on a tour that fall who translated the characters on the side and told me that they meant “Lucky Star”. She doesn’t look so lucky anymore, or maybe she is just lucky to still be afloat. She looks like an old longliner, and has such a pleasing shape.

number 37

We really lucked out on the weather, as it was sunny and almost warm at times, and what wind we had was at our backs. We got to Skamokawa a little before 4 PM, about 5 hours and 15 minutes from when we launched. A very nice day!