At the Boathouse - Into the Unknown
July 28, 2011

This marks Week Six of our 10-Week Summer Youth Paddling program. The kids have come a long, long way, and it's time for a celebration. One goal of the program is to reconnect the kids with the environment, ecology, and economy of Toledo, so I've been building them up to make the big excursion past the bridges and to the end of Depoe Slough.

We had only five kids from the school program, Heather, Page, Eve, Taylor, and Jacob (all returnees) as the rest of the kids were headed off to the Thursday Market. We also had a family of walk-ons, Kim and her three boys, Nick, Zack, and Mike. We had the usual scrum at the launch. I tend to encourage developing skills in close in navigation and dockside maneuvering - that's when you are gonna need the most skill and practice.

Volunteer Jim R. had augmented our fleet with his aluminum canoe, operated by veteran Taylor and new comer Zack. There was a very close call with a very expensive boat, but no hit, no harm, no foul.

Heather decided she wanted to be at the Thursday Market, so we shifted people around and moved Taylor into Page's canoe.

Page is a true gem of a person. She is going to grow up to be a wonderful human being.

Jim took Kim and her two youngest into a rowboat (they had no experience with boating) and I had Zack in my canoe (you can just see Eve's head, too.)

Zack took a little time getting used to rowing, but where he got it, he moved along very well.

Our goal lay under the railroad bridge.

Here's a better pic of Jacob and Zack.

Hooray! They made it. We were going against the wind and tide, so this was a pretty cool accomplishment.

This is not the proper trim for a canoe, but try as we might, every kid we put in the canoe with Page just refused to paddle. Finally, we rotated Jacob in and he demanded on being the "guy in the back - the one that does all the work." So I let him.

Zack and Eve look forward while Jim and Kim consult with Michael.

It is really neat, up the slough. Very cool and dark. Both Taylor and Jacob live within sight of it, so it was great to get them out on it, paddling in the water.

The slough ends at a wall with flood gates. Everyone decided it needed to be touched.

I took Taylor and Zack up for their turn.

Nice group shot.

It was now about 3pm, time for a snack break. I had everybody raft up, told them a story about how Kingfisher got his laugh . . .

. . . and Aaron rowed up with water, bananas, oranges, and other snacks.

A little later, Jim tried some team rowing with Taylor. I do wish the kids'd show more interest in team rowing, I think they could really make the boats fly if they could just stop trying to mess each other up.

Kim and Mike switched boats, placed Jacob at the bow, and took off. She really seemed to enjoy it.

Eve being Eve.

I like this shot.

Kimberly took her three boys, thanked us profusely, and went home. I took Taylor, Jacob and Eve out for a final stab at team rowing, and that's how we wrapped up the day.

Jim invited us down to a place on the Alsea River, near Waldport. On Friday morning, we hauled some boats down to the water for a little Alsea River action.

One thing I love about boating is all the problem solving involved. Hauling the dinghy across the mudflats was much easier than you'd expect.

Jim and Curt did their best to sail against the wind and tide as I paddled around in a canoe. It was a beautiful day on the Alsea. Many thanks, Jim.