Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paddling Drift Creek

When I was a young lad, I carried an inflatable raft in my Volkswagen bug at all times, winter and summer. When I could round up a gang of water rats, we would shoot the rapids of the various rivers that drain from Mt Hood, in the nearby Cascade Mountains. No one had yet rated these trips according to category and no one told us it was dangerous. Many times we would end up running down some white water clinging to the upturned raft, soaked to the skin (wetsuit? what's a wetsuit?) Loads of fun, especially if you skipped school.

In later years, I discovered open water sailing and never looked back. But now and then, the urge comes to drift a river on the tide. This week, the trip was up and down Drift Creek on the mid-Oregon coast.

Drift Creek empties into the Alsea River, near Waldport, Oregon. In summer, it has a tide rise and fall for about six navigable miles before the water becomes too skinny to stay off the bottom. About two hours before high tide, we put in on the south side of the Alsea, then crossed into the protected waters of Drift Creek.

A light current pushed us up river while we identified bird species and looked hard for the wary elk that had made their trails down to the river from the salt marsh.

Words do not do justice to the feeling of paddling silently through a salt marsh. It doesn't take long to find yourself lost in time - you could be present in any epoch.

My companions were Curt and Don in their kayaks and Jim, Lucy the Dog and myself in a canoe. I can't claim much proficiency in a canoe, though I did my best.
My shoulders still hurt, but it was worth it.

A beautiful day on the water.

Thank you, my friends, for calling me away from work. Often the best times are had while playing hooky.

The first time drifting past this wasp nest they left us alone. The second time, they got mad. You can come to visit, but just don't stay.......

More photos on Doryman's Flickr site.


Bursledon Blogger said...

Zen boating at it's best, simple boat, few friends great location, not epic but just as about good as it gets - you have some great locations

doryman said...

Strange as it may seem, when I moved to this area ten years ago, there were no human powered craft anywhere to be seen. Needless to say, I soon remedied that.
In recent years my oft repeated invitations to explore these beautiful tidal rivers have been heartily endorsed. Also, the State of Oregon has recently purchased tidal properties for public use, which has brought a lot of kayakers from all over.

The secret is out.

Tweezerman said...

It's been awhile but I did a couple of river trips in a Coleman Canoe. One was on the Monocacy River which runs through Antietam National Battlefield. I remember paddling up to an area where there was constant and loud gunfire. We pulled out for a moment to determine what was going on. I swore to my paddling companions I saw a bullet geyser on the water. We eventually quick marched down stream underneath a bluff that seemed to have a firing range on the ridge. Good times. I need to do this again.

doryman said...

I assume you mean a river trip in a Coleman, not running the gauntlet under a firing range.
We're not done with you yet, who else has your eclectic taste in music?
(I'm one of those who who misses your Friday music very much...).