A Paddle on the Willamette - June 27, 2011

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 are Yellow 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 in water-skiing.

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 ya.