A Paddle on the Willamette - June
We wanted to be at Willamette Park in West Linn at dawn, but we
were just a little late. Contrary to this image, my lovely was pretty
excited about going paddling today.
Me? I love a good day on the water.
We'd thought we might want to sneak up the Tualitin river for a
look-see, but the current was too swift and the mouth was too shallow.
There are some pretty fancy houses along the river here, probably
replacing the houses of years gone by when people actually went
down to the river and played. There is no path to this rope swing.
We snuck up along the inside of an island, and it was magnificent.
The water looks glassy calm, but there is actually a pretty good
current we are fighting.
A beautiful day on a beautiful river with a beautiful wife. Life
don't get much better.
These wild roses are commonly called Mission Roses here in the
Willamette Valley - so named by Jason Lee, an early pioneer/preacher
in Oregon's history. Legend has it he gave one to his wife-to-be
when she stepped off the boat in Astoria. Can you imagine a world
where women shipped themselves across the planet and got married
to the first hairy dude that met 'em at the dock?
A golden day, indeed.
There's a deer in there - a deer on a small island near a major
metropolitan center. Pretty cool.
The river has been very high all winter - evidenced by the high-water-marks
on the boulders.
As we rounded the tip of the island on the west side of the river,
I was just as happy as a clam.
We kept going up river to weather the tip of the next island. The
vultures watched our progress with interest.
We saw a bright splash of color and went over to investigate. These
Flag Iris and are beautiful. They are also invasive and cause
big, expensive problems along our waterway. Here's a quick way to
tell if a plant is invasive in Oregon: If it is pretty and/or any
color other than green, it's invasive.
I love this tree - man, it is hanging on for dear life. Look at
the roots it's kicked out.
We saw this swim platform/floating dock and went to investigate.
There is a water-ski course marked out in the slough behind (which
you can see if you zoom in on the Satellite
View of Google Maps) it and the plaque says it is the PLCClub,
but a quick web search didn't turn up anything. Still, it's good
that someone cares enough to set up a club so people can compete
Wait . . . what's that on the left side of the dock?
Really, people? Do you really need to use a pickaninny
for a scarecrow? Isn't it enough that water-skiing. is basically
a white man's sport and this happens to be in one of the whitest
towns (West Linn) in one of the whitest states in the union?
And these we saw our second deer!
The Willamette was the industrial highway for most of Oregon's
history, and there are several abandoned timber mills along the
river's edge. These big concrete 'wheels' were used to stabilize
the shore (why wheels? Easier to roll into place? Easier to cast?)
And as we completed our circuit, we saw these warning signs. It's
always nice to know nature is still powerful enough to kill ya.
Here's our route as seen on Google Earth. Willamette Park is easy
to get to off I-205 and launching is free. You don't want to go
downriver very far though - like the sign says: The falls'll get