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Tag: Ships

Pacific in Sight!

September 12, Day 173, 3292 Miles Completed, 31 Left!

I could hear the wind in the trees and waves hitting the shore this morning. It made me less excited to get on the river early. Nevertheless I was paddling before sunrise. 

With predicted north winds I crossed over to the Washington side. There were a few salmon fishermen out, but the river was much, much quieter. Ships were docked in several places.

Although there was a brisk wind when I started out it began to die down.  At times the tide was helping me a little bit and at times the tide was hindering me but it didn’t  make a dramatic difference either way.  At times I noticed I was cruising at about 5 miles an hour so I was getting maybe 1 mile an hour gain from the current and tide, I’ll take it! I think maximum gain from current and tide since I passed Bonneville dam is about 2 miles an hour. The minimum is about -1 mph. 

Several oceangoing ships passed me again today. Looking at the big wave they were pushing in front of them you would think that a poor kayaker would be swamped by them. I found however, that they threw off less of a wave then a powerboat passing nearby. 

Passing Ship


I saw at least two seals and heard one another time that I didn’t spot.  There were many cormorants and a few pelicans.  This close to the sea obviously most of the shore and hills are covered with trees.  I couldn’t help but think back to my smokejumper days looking at some of the trees that must’ve been nearly 150 feet tall, and I was glad that I wasn’t hitting the top of one of them with the parachute. 

My old smokejumper buddy Andy Anderson gave me a call unexpectedly.  Neither of us realized that I had passed his home town area already. Rats!  

I have Pacific fever now so I only took about three breaks and they were fairly brief. At one spot there was an enormous oceangoing ship’s anchor sitting on shore.  It would be fun to know it’s history, it must be valuable as it was still in extremely good shape. 

For most of the day the wind was very light, only for 45 minutes or so did I have a strong tailwind. Towards evening a side wind came up but it was not much of a factor.  Wind, and thinking about wind, has been a very big part of this journey.

About 4 PM I slowly rounded a corner and got goosebumps. To the west I could see mountains and islands, and water that extended to the horizon, the Pacific ocean! What a thrill that was.  It was a big surprise too.  I knew I was over 30 river miles from the ocean so I didn’t think I would be able to see it so soon.  

Checking out the map there were a series of islands between me and Astoria and the mouth of the river got wider and wider. I decided to follow the south shore so I wouldn’t get caught on the wrong side of the bay by a strong wind. 

I had come over 40 miles and I was tuckered out.  Each of the last two days I’ve also done about 40 miles. Each represented long days of paddling.  When I passed an island with nice high ground with big trees, including spruce trees,  I decided to camp. 

There were lots of good camping spots.  I dragged my kayak up the gently sloping sandy beach until it was above the high tide mark. There I tied it off to a big log.

Pacific in view!


From my tent I can take a few steps and look out across the Pacific. If the wind cooperates, I might be able to finish on Wednesday, the 14th, but not before then. It will feel good to crawl into my sleeping bag tonight. Colter

Clark: November 7th Thursday 1805… Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I Suppose) may be heard distictly

Trip overview and route map with position updates: 

https://bucktrack.com/Lewis_and_Clark_Trail.html

Big Ships, High Tides

September 11, 2016; Day 172, 71 Miles to Go

When I was writing up my journal last night I noticed L&C had mentioned some tide in the area. I’d dragged the boat completely out of the water and tied it to a fallen tree, so I wasn’t worried. 

About 1:30 though, something woke me up. A clunk. I grabbed my headlamp and was very surprised to see my kayak floating! It was tied off but I dragged it up higher and tied it up again. I looked up the high tide: 7 feet! Over a hundred miles from the ocean! 

When I launched out onto the dark river in the morning the current and falling tide were adding over 1 mph to my paddling speed. I left my headlamp on with the light blinking until it got light. 

In places there were crazy numbers of fishermen out, flotillas of fishing boats, in some places many of them anchored in a long line across the current. The wind was very light but I was often dealing with considerable waves because of wakes from high speed boats. I took off my hat, forgetting about my headlamp which I was still wearing although it was turned off. That’s the last I saw of it. 

Ocean fog/clouds were to the west. Two ships were anchored along the shore, actual oceangoing ships. They were a long way from saltwater. Yesterday I saw a big sea lion with a salmon.

I didn’t notice any good places to buy more food as I paddled past St. Helens and  Columbia City. I used my phone to find a convenient store  near the river.  When I was getting set to walk up to the store a young couple stopped to chat. I asked them how secure they thought my boat might be if I left it here for a little while and they kindly offered to drive me into town to the grocery store while the other one kept an eye on my boat. 

Soon I had groceries, water and a new headlamp. Thanks you two! 

River Angels


I had been making extremely good time but when I launched the tide had turned and a headwind had come up. Now I was working for my miles again. Happily there were many fewer fishing boats. I watched as three tugboats worked to get a large ship docked. Another big ship I had seen in Portland came downriver. I was surprised at how quiet it was, much more quiet than the tugs or fishing boats. 

Anchored Ship


I managed to make 40 miles again today.  I am camped on the Lewis and Clark site of November 5, 1805. Colter

Clark: Novr. 4th Monday 1805… We landed at a village 200 men of Flatheads of 25 houses 50 canoes built of Straw, we were treated verry kindly by them, they gave us round root near the Size of a hens egg roasted… The Indians at the last village have more Cloth and uriopian trinkets than above I Saw Some Guns, a Sword, maney Powder flasks, Salers jackets, overalls, hats & Shirts, Copper and Brass trinkets with few Beeds only. dureing the time I was at Dinner the Indians Stold my tomahawk which I made use of to Smoke I Serched but Could not find it… met a large and Small canoe with 12 men from below the men were dressed with a variety of articles of European manufactory the large Canoe had emeges on the bow & Stern handsomly Carved in wood & painted with the figur of a Bear in front & man in a Stern… Those Indians were all armed with Pistols or bows and arrows ready Sprung war axes &c. Mount Hellen bears N. 25 ° E about 80 miles, this is the mountain we Saw near the foks of this river. it is emensely high and covered with Snow, riseing in a kind of Cone perhaps the highest pinecal from the common leavel in america…
Clark: Novr. 5th Tuesday 1805 a Cloudy morning Som rain the after part of last night & this morning. I could not Sleep for the noise kept by the Swans, Geese, white & black brant, Ducks &c. on a opposit base, & Sand hill Crane, they were emensely numerous and their noise horrid. We Set out at Sun rise & our hunters killed 10 Brant 4 of which were white with black wings 2 Ducks, and a Swan which were divided, we Came too and Encamped on the Lard. Side under a high ridgey land, the high land come to the river on each Side. the river about 11/ 2 mile wide. those high lands rise gradually from the river & bottoms—we are all wet Cold and disagreeable, rain Continues & encreases. I killed a Pheasent which is very fat—my feet and legs cold…

Trip overview and route map with position updates: 

https://bucktrack.com/Lewis_and_Clark_Trail.html

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