Spring Paddle with PaddleNW – Bachelor Island, WA

6 04 2011

Although winter is tenaciously hanging on in this La Nina year and I love snow sports, I’ve begun a seasonal desire to turn to water sports. My 21 times skiing this season has had me ignoring my meetup group. So since I had some free time April 3rd so I scheduled a paddle with my PaddeNW Meetup in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

I was not surprised when 10 people signed up right away. My intuition about pent up paddling desire was spot on!

When I arrived at the meeting space there were many cars with happy folks and brightly colored kayaks on roofs. We waited for everyone to show up and got to know each other…

Then it was on to the water – a trip around Bachelor Island. It’s about 9.5 miles around. One side is protected sloughs, while the other is on the Columbia River.

At this time of year the Columbia is close to max flow. It was so high it covered the wing dams and almost covered the signs identifying the wildlife refuge.

The first part of our paddle was south, against the current and quite a workout. Then we lunched on the south tip of the island.

A duck hunter’s blind served us as a lunch counter. There were shotgun shells everywhere.

The trip with the Columbia current was like warp speed, and there were dozens of spring salmon fishermen anchored. Seems like the fish don’t stand a chance!

We also caught a glimpse of a freighter, which some paddlers rushed out to get a closer glimpse…

We saw a lot of really cool birds. Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Blue Herons, Cormorants, Kingfishers, Geese, Mergansers, Terns, Swallows and Red Winged Blackbirds. But my favorite of all was the Great Horned Owl. That was way cool.

We were done by 4:00 p.m. or so, and we were pleased – a good time was had by all! Looking forward to more paddles this year!

There’s me working on that nettlesome forward stroke!



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