Lower Columbia River Water Trail Day 2: Lark Island to Skamokawa

21 07 2010

It’s day two on the Lower Columbia River Water Trail.

Wow, I woke up today on the beach at Lark Island feeling fantastic! I had a rock solid sleep. Since sunrise is so early in early summer, I use a face mask – and I wear ear plugs to block any noise. But the best thing is my recent REI On-Air Adjustable Pillow inflatable travel pillow. It’s U-shaped and goes around your neck. It doesn’t matter if you sleep on your back, or on your side. I also use a stuffed dry bag to support my arm. Finally, nights in the tent are totally comfy!

I awaken to spy Jessie across the way stirring getting up.

Monte has been up a while, and coffee is already pouring. Ahhhh, that’s what I needed!

Rubbing eyes and doing a couple jumping jacks and stretching, we all gather at the beach kitchen. The day is gray, but it didn’t rain!

We cook up a lot of oats – I sprinkle it with blueberries, raspberries, yogurt and nuts. All good!

Paddle & safety gear!

We take our time, but all the same, we get ourselves packed up fairly pronto. Today, the tide is outgoing all day – it won’t be slack until around four.

The plan is to head west around the Oregon side of Lark, then on to Tenasillahe Island. We will decide how to go about exploring the channels behind these Oregon – side islands. The game is all about playing the low tide. We don’t want to get stuck back here! Tenn

We pick a channel between two islands. Most of this route the depth is less than one foot and the tide is out going. We can’t afford to putz around. We spy more eagles, ospreys, blue herons, kingfishers, goldfinches, and thrushes. We’re just enjoying the water! Tenasillahe Island is one of the many islands in the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbia White-tailed deer (Columbian White-tailed Deer National Wildlife Refuge). On the downstream side of Tenasillahe is located Welch Island, one of the many islands in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.

Freighter watching – kind of like TV

I keep my eye on the chart. In case the main channel is really rough, I was considering running back through a small channel through the back end of Tennasillahe to shorten our crossing. We finally decide to beach out for lunch. T

Coming around the end of our little island hopping exploration, we decided to go ahead and take the long route across the channel back to Skamokawa. The main Columbia River channel did not look like such a harrowing experience.

Out in the main channel we had current against us and wind behind. There were some “swells,” coming from Astoria, which would come from astern, and a lot of refracted waves along with the swells. So there was a lot of disturbed water. But nothing overly challenging. When I took out, I was wobbly on land from all the up and down motion!

Jessie said that she’d been out here with dumping waves and she got flipped and had to be rescued. April also was out here in really tough conditions.

Back into Skamokawa

We paid close attention to a tug with a barge, but it was a ways off and came around and passed us. That was the only consideration.

Later, we rounded the marker at the end of Skamokawa, and entered the harbor. Nice job everyone!

Very welcoming to be back at Skamokawa – it’s home to Columbia River Kayaking.