Journal Excerpts

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Day 4     Tuesday, June 17

Columbia River

Slow getting going this morning.  Low tide was to be ~1:40.  We stayed in bed late, had a beauty B-fast by Tom, we went walking, picked cattail and cooked up the roots.  Fried 'em up in butter.  Yum! Both of our first time having it.  We left this farmer's field with a couple more roots and some sheep sorrel for later.

 
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Day 7      Friday, June 20

Columbia River

So, here we are, camped on Suave Island, either in a nudist colony or on a wildlife refuge where camping is prohibited. Hard to tell from our map and the information - or misinformation -  we were given earlier.  Unfortunately, the man strolling down the beach during dinner somewhat confirmed the former.

 
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Day 13         Thursday, June 26th

 Columbia River

What a day!  I woke up to the munching, snorting and shuffling of cows in our campsite.  One overly curious cow knocked over the kitchen.  Actually, I guess we were camped on their turf.

 
Entering Fort Louden lock on the Tennessee River - a similar experience to Bonneville lock & dam recounted in the following journal excerpt.  (Photo by Knoxville News Sentinel)

Entering Fort Louden lock on the Tennessee River - a similar experience to Bonneville lock & dam recounted in the following journal excerpt.

(Photo by Knoxville News Sentinel)

Day 13 (Still)        Thursday, June 26th

Columbia River

What a weird sensation, paddling into a huge lock with walls 64 feet high with huge iron doors on either end.  The lockkeeper yelled our instructions: “Go to the far end, hang onto the tie-in, wait for the Tyee, pull over and tie up to them.”  We did just that.  When the tug pulled up, we shoved over and they helped us aboard. – Nancy

Paddling into the lock was a very strange event.  I felt like I  was being put into a huge escape-proof prison cell.  The water flowed into the lock, essentially pushing us to the front wall.  The walls of sheer concrete towered 64 feet above us, showering us with water as we moved in.  Then the tug appeared at the downstream gate. I felt like a mouse trapped in a corner as the big cat approached.  Luckily everything turned out fine.  The next few dams should also be a piece of cake! - Tom

 
 Wind surfers like waves this size, canoeists not so much.    (Photo courtesy of Big Winds, in Hood River, OR.) 

 Wind surfers like waves this size, canoeists not so much.  

(Photo courtesy of Big Winds, in Hood River, OR.) 

Day 15         Saturday, June 28 

Columbia River

Those winds we figure must gust up to 40 mph or more.  They blew spray right off the water and created 3-foot waves.  Not your typical canoeing sort of weather.  So we sat after unloading and pulling the canoe up.  We read, ate lunch and whiled away 2 hours until we thought we’d try it again.  Just as we were putting the boat in, a gust came and knocked me around some. We bagged it.  

 
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Day 15 (still)          Saturday, June 28

Columbia River

Tom held the boat out away from the rocks and I brought the packs.  Total spray skirt time.  Tom took the stern now and we  headed out.  The gusts would try to grab my paddle from me.  We cruised!  ... The point we wanted to get around splashed waves - I didn't want to try it.  Nor did Tom.  We just pulled up to the rocky embankment (that's all there was!) and unloaded.  Tom held the boat - kept it from being beaten against the rocks the best he could while he took things out and tossed them to me on the rocks.  How tense & intense!  We decided to leave the canoe there by a big log for carrying it [all the way] up the embankment would have done it in.  We locked and tied it out of reach of the crashing waves, took our gear up top and across from the RR and highway was a drive in dirt road to a beautiful waterfall.  We took it.

 
Vertical gate at John Day Lock and Dam on the Columbia River.

Vertical gate at John Day Lock and Dam on the Columbia River.

Day 21            Friday, July 4

Columbia River

         What a trip across!  It was real windy.  The waves were all bow-licker size.  Some hit 4.5 feet Tom estimated.  These are our Tsunami waves.  Our spray skirt helped us out a few times, still we took on a little water.  We got across before the tug in plenty of time.  A guy in a motorboat came up and asked if we were doing okay.  We motioned we were fine and didn’t need help.  It was nice of him to inquire. 

            Well we thought the pull cord to be on the wall on the other side of the lock.  We didn’t want to cross over as the tug was getting close.  We pulled up to the rocky left shoreline and waited for the tug so we could motion to him.  He didn’t even notice us so we paddled furiously across behind him to look for the cord.  We found none, then saw it farther up on the other side – where we just were.  We poured on the steam to get there as the tug was now getting in the lock.  The long rope had swung away in the wind.  I had to stand up and stretch my paddle out to get it.  I buzzed the lockmaster and told him we were in a canoe and asked if we could lock through with the tug.  He came back to say, “This is a hazardous lock.  You’ll have to wait 45 minutes for the tug to get through first.”

          Good grief.  All our efforts for naught.  We finally found an okay place to pull up the boat, we sat on some driftwood and had lunch.

 

Day 28        Friday, July 11

Columbia River

 The end of another wonderful day.  What a nice campsite this is. 

 
Host extraordinaire Bill Stein signs our Thank You paddle after having providing us room and board in Pasco, WA. 

Host extraordinaire Bill Stein signs our Thank You paddle after having providing us room and board in Pasco, WA. 

Day 31        Monday, July 14

Columbia and Snake Rivers confluence

Bill lives here at the motel.  We passed his room and he had a funny sign and a picture of himself on it.  He’s really quite a character.  He urged us…to go around the corner and look at another sign.  It was a welcome sign for Tom and me.  It had stick figures of Tom and me and funny quips about us paddling.  It was a regular riot. Bill went all out. He insisted on taking not only our lunch check, but tonight’s dinner and breakfast tomorrow. He’s great!