Sunday, February 8, 2009

January Reflections

January is always sort of a let-down month for me. Christmas in my family is a really big deal and I sort of wait all year for that time of year. Shell and I did a lot of decorating at our house, cut our own tree and spent the better part of a month listening to Christmas music... and I loved every minute of it.

So, into January we move... the weather in Oregon was, shall we say, less than favorable. We started out the year with snow, rain and more snow, so the rivers we going straight up (See January 1st story). This was followed by wind and more wind. Paddling was actually cancelled due to high winds... sheesh!

In any event, I had some interesting adventures during the month of January...

The weekend following our New Year's trip my buddy Mike and I headed up to the Hood River to run the Dee to Tucker section (Class III/IV) at about 6 feet on the guage. It was a big water day, for sure and eddies were few and far between. The water was cold and it was "game on" the whole way. About a mile above the take-out I got stuffed in a nasty little hole and after getting worked for a while came out of my boat for, what would turn out to be a really ugly swim. I made it out due, in no small part, to my Swiftwater Rescue Tech training (THANK YOU RESCUE 3 INTERNATIONAL!) After getting denied the following weekend, Mike, my buddy Aaron Nudelman and myself headed up to the Washougal River to run the Big Eddy section (Class III). It was a great day and the weather was pretty good. We all had very clean lines and whooped and hollered our way down... I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

The next day, Shell and I hosted the Intermediate trip for the Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club. I'm the Vice President of the club, so this was a pretty special day for me and the first in our series that we run every winter. We opted for the Dodge Park to Oxbow Park run (Class II+) on the Sandy River. This was a great time, though we started the day off with snow... again, a weird winter in Oregon. Overall a great trip, made better by the fact that I got to paddle with my Shell... the grace she has on the water never ceases to amaze me and as I continue to paddle I just hope that, someday, I will be good as she is. Again, I'll let the pictures do the talking (Note though, the pictures at the end of the exposed tree stumps is pretty interesting: When Lewis and Clark came down the Columbia in 1805 they experienced the area in the recent aftermath of Mt. Hood's volcanic eruption... in fact, they found a 3 mile long island at the mouth of the Sandy River, which was caused by the debris that came down after the eruption (think of the Toutle River after Mt. St. Helen's blew). Anyway, the amount of debris that came down must have been huge, because at Oxbow Park, the recent floods have exposed a 100 ft high bank, inside of which are the huge trees you see... NOW, that must have been one heck of a flood!):

Aside from paddling, Shell and I had friends from Nashville come in for a weekend... it was the windy weekend, so I got to spend lots of time with them and Shell... Brett and his wife Aida were a blast to have in town and Shell and I had lots of fun showing them the town and experiencing some of Portland's great Middle Eastern cuisine.

So, January is over now and looking back, I guess it wasn't such a bad month. True, I have a whole year before it is socially acceptable to listen to Burl Ives , but I guess that is a small price to pay for getting to spend time with my wife, my friends and family in this magical land we call home... our Oregon.

Until next time, walk softly out there and I'll see you on the river.


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