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.