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Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: Exploration and Discovery

Program Number: 2288RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/18/2013; 8/31/2014 - 9/5/2014; 9/14/2014 - 9/19/2014; 10/5/2014 - 10/10/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/24/2014; 4/12/2015 - 4/17/2015; 4/26/2015 - 5/1/2015; 5/10/2015 - 5/15/2015; 5/24/2015 - 5/29/2015; 6/21/2015 - 6/26/2015; 7/5/2015 - 7/10/2015; 7/26/2015 - 7/31/2015; 8/9/2015 - 8/14/2015; 8/23/2015 - 8/28/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Skamokawa, Washington
Price starting at: $820.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Skamokawa is the ideal starting point for exploring the lower Columbia River by kayak. Paddle in a variety of habitats, from narrow sloughs winding through Sitka spruce swamps to wide-open expanses on the estuary of the Columbia. Walk among the giant trees of ancient coastal forest. In addition to giving professional kayak instruction, your leaders are experts in local history, geology and wildlife.




Highlights

• Weave your way through the long chain of tidal marsh islands that comprise the 35,000-acre Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge.
• Paddle along the 90-foot cliffs and waterfalls of the Lower Gorge.
• Enjoy two traditional music performances: “Songs of the Lower Columbia” and “Music of the Lewis & Clark Era."



Activity Particulars

Kayak in single or double kayaks on both protected sloughs and open river. Field trips up to six hours, including a break for lunch. Kayaking locations dependent on tides. No previous kayak experience is necessary.



You may also be interested in program #19493-Advanced Kayaking on the Lower Columbia River.




Date Specific Information

4-12-2015, 4-26-2015

April is the best time of year for wildlife on the lower Columbia. Most of the wintering waterfowl are still present, while spring migrants are arriving. Harbor seals are still abundant, shortly before they leave for the ocean to have their pups. Spring wildflowers are blooming on the cliffs of the lower gorge, and the waterfalls are spectacular while still charged with winter rains.



Coordinated by Columbia River Kayaking.




Skamokawa

Lewis and Clark paddled down the Lower Columbia River near this historic river town, situated where two national wildlife refuges meet. The village is a gateway to the explorers’ historic water trail and the surrounding landscape and wildlife habitat.



Accommodations
Comfortable B&B in the rural valleys of Skamokawa.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Mark Whitaker

Mark Whitaker is a well-known and respected kayak guide and coach, having led more than 75 Road Scholar programs. He builds traditional Greenland-style skin-on-frame kayaks, has led open ocean trips along the Oregon coast and coached for the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium and other symposia. He was on the board of directors for the Institute for Sustainable Forestry and ran the institute’s Wild Iris Research and Development Hardwood Mill.
 
Andrew Emlen

Since starting Skamokawa's kayaking program in 1998, Andrew Emlen has led more than 150 Road Scholar programs. Andrew has a master's degree in environmental studies. A former instructor of environmental science, geology labs and field biology, he is well-versed on local birds, mammals, insects, plants and mushrooms. Andrew plays cello, guitar and several other instruments with his fellow local musicians during evening presentations that feature music of the lower Columbia River.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
  Skamokawa, WA 5 nights
 The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm
Type: Bed and Breakfast
  Description: The Inn is secluded on 14 acres in a quiet valley near the town of Skamokawa. Enjoy a respite from the hectic rhythm of everyday life. Feel free to walk the ground, find a quiet spot on the creek to read. Our free ranging hens will keep you amused and guests are welcome to help collect the eggs.
  Contact info: 15 Oatfield Road
Skamokawa, WA 98647-9718 USA
phone: 360-795-0585
web: www.crippencreek.com
  Room amenities: The rooms have a private bath, luxurious linens, plush absorbent towels, and radiant floor heat.
  Facility amenities: Our newly rebuilt farmhouse is reminiscent of simpler times, with porches that beckon you to sit and invite you to linger. Our great room offers an extensive library of books, music CD's, a piano, games and movies. We serve hearty breakfasts and use the freshest local ingredients in hand crafted meals that will surprise and delight your palate. We make everything from scratch and raise as much as or own food as possible--pastured chickens and their eggs, and pastured pork.
  Smoking allowed: No

 The Inn at Lucky Mud
Type: Bed and Breakfast
  Description: The inn has large guest rooms, each with private bath, interior and exterior secure entrances, and porches facing onto the terrace and the pond. The more economically-priced cottage, set a short distance up the hill from the inn at the edge of the forest, was lovingly built with hand tools in the 1970's. It has one master bedroom and two single rooms in the loft. Those staying in the cottage (up to four people) share one bathroom. The cottage has its own kitchen and living area. You may see photos of the inn and cottage at www.luckymud.com .
  Contact info: 44 Old Chestnut Drive
Skamokawa, WA 98647 USA
phone: 800-806-7131
web: www.luckymud.com
  Room amenities: The living room has a large bay window, fireplace, and a piano for those who play. Downstairs is a common area for entertainment; it includes a small kitchen, comfortable chairs and a library of books. This room, too, has its own entrance onto the pond.
  Facility amenities: You are welcome to enjoy the serenity around our lodging, play a round of frisbee golf or take a walk on the forested trails.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Each of the rooms within the inn has a private bathroom. At the cottage, up to four people may share a bathroom.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at your Inn beginning at 3:00 PM You will be staying at The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud that night.
  End of Program:
Our program ends after the 8:00 AM breakfast. Check-out time is 10:00am. You will be staying at The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A liability waiver will be mailed with your pre-program materials.
  Parking availability:
Lodging offers free parking in the gravel parking lot on site. You may access your vehicle at any time.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Skamokawa, WA
  Nearest highway: Washington State Route 4
  Nearest airport:  Portland International Airport (PDX)
  From End of Program
  Location: Skamokawa, WA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Portland, OR

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Alex Vegvary, Columbia River Kayaking
phone: 360-795-0882
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75 per person one way
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

One hour and 45 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

87 miles

   

Shuttles at the end of the program can be arranged during the program.

 

Kelso, WA

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Alex Vegvary, Columbia River Kayaking
phone: 360-795-0882
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$40 per person one way
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

One 

 

Distance:

 

39 miles

   

Shuttles at the end of the program can be reserved during the program.

 
Driving Directions
  I-5 from Portland or Seattle Going north on I-5 (from Portland), take exit 36B toward Kelso/Longview. About 2 miles after taking the exit, take the exit marked 3rd Ave./Industrial area. You will come immediately to a light. Take a left at the light onto 432 west. Continue for 8 miles until it ends at State Route 4. Turn left onto State Route 4 and follow for about 29 miles to Skamokawa. Going south on I-5 (from Seattle), take exit 40 toward Kelso/Longview. Follow the signs to WA-4 / Ocean Beach Highway. Once on Ocean Beach Highway, drive 35 miles until you reach the town of Skamokawa. Once you are in Skamokawa, take a right onto East Valley Rd. It is the first right after entering town. If you drive over the bridge over Skamokawa Creek, you've gone too far. East Valley Road forks at the junction with Middle Valley Road after 1.2 miles. For the Inn at Lucky Mud, keep right and continue on East Valley Rd. Follow East Valley Rd., watching for the mile markers. The inn is 1/4 mile past mile marker 6. You will see a sign that says "The Inn At Lucky Mud." Turn left into the driveway. Go to the top of the hill. The inn is the first house you will see on your right. Phone for Inn at Lucky Mud: 360-795-8770. Do not try to use GPS to get to Lucky Mud. GPS navigation is unreliable out here. For the Inn at Crippen Creek: Follow the directions above until the fork of Middle Valley and East Valley Roads. Take the left fork, Middle Valley Road. Continue for about 3 miles. The road will take a sharp right and go over a small bridge, where it becomes Oatfield Road. There will be a straight stretch of road before the road winds up the hill. Near the end of the straight stretch there is a white sign for the Inn on your left. Turn left into the driveway at 15 Oatfield Rd. If you use GPS instead of these directions, say "Hello" to the family of your kayak guide Andrew, as you will end up at their farm at the end of the valley, half a mile beyond the Inn. Phone for Crippen Creek: 360-795-0585.
Equipment Requirements: The kayak as well as a paddle, flotation jacket, spray skirt, whistle, and pump are included. We have some sleeveless 3 mm wetsuits available for borrowing.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, Dinner at Lucky Mud, Evening Program on the History of Skamokawa
(Sunday, October 13)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive as early as 3 p.m. at your B&B and relax or explore on-site before dinner. At 5:30 p.m., participants staying at Crippen Creek will be driven to The Inn at Lucky Mud for the Opening Dinner. Dinner will alternate between the two B&Bs.
 Dinner: The dinner buffet at The Inn at Lucky Mud will include fresh salad from local ingredients, vegetables, a meat or vegetarian entree and homemade dessert.
 Evening: Enjoy a slide presentation on the history of Skamokawa by Andrew Emlen, who teaches a course on the Lower Columbia River as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis & Clark College.
   
Accommodations: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to Kayaking on Protected Skamokawa Bay and Steamboat Slough. Paddle Through the Sitka Spruce Swamps of the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge.
(Monday, October 14)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast each morning at your B&B, including a variety of cereal, sausage, fresh fruit, juices, homemade bread and farm-fresh eggs. Breakfast is usually at 8 a.m. At about 8:45, you will be transported to the kayak put-in or to a field-trip destination.
 Morning: Limber up for an introduction to kayaking, starting at our dock on protected Skamokawa Bay. We will round the bend into historic Steamboat Slough, part of the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, where Sitka spruce up to 350 years old line the shore of Price Island. Look for Osprey feeding their nestlings at three or more active nests along the slough. After leaving the slough, we'll paddle about three-quarters of a mile on the main channel of the Columbia to our lunch site.
 Lunch: Each day, we prepare pack lunches that may include a deli sandwich, chips, fruit or homemade cookie. Our lunch site the first day is a sand beach on the main channel of the Columbia with a striking view of the estuary.
 Afternoon: After lunch, the tide will be with us and make for an easier paddle back to our put-in site. Weather permitting, we'll take the main river back on the outside of Price Island. After returning to Skamokawa, our experts present a demonstration of commonly used kayak rolls and rescues. Participants can don a wetsuit and practice these maneuvers. Enjoy about an hour and a half of free time before dinner.
 Dinner: At The Inn at Crippen Creek, enjoy a buffet including fresh salad from locally grown ingredients, vegetables, a meat (often local, grass-fed beef) or vegetarian entree and homemade dessert.
 Evening: Historian Irene Martin won the 2000 Governor's Heritage Award for her work documenting the cultures of the Lower Columbia. Author of six books on the history of the region, she is also a gillnetter and an Episcopal priest. Her wide-ranging interests and intellect make for a fascinating presentation.
   
Accommodations: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Kayak along the 90-foot cliffs of the Lower Gorge.
(Tuesday, October 15)

Note: To take advantage of better tides or weather, the Day 3 and Day 4 itineraries may be switched.



   
 Breakfast: A hearty breakfast will be served at your B&B at 8:00, including a variety of the following: cereal, sausage, fresh fruit, juices, homemade bread, farm fresh eggs.
 Morning: We will start along the historic waterfront of Cathlamet, including the 1868 Warren cannery. We will then proceed along the cliffs, formed 16 million years ago as part of the world's second-largest basalt flows. Many interesting formations can be seen along these 90-foot cliffs, including the cast of a tree that was engulfed in lava and left an imprint of its bark before being consumed in flames. Multiple waterfalls cascade into the Columbia from the cliff top, and native wildflowers are abundant from April through June.
 Lunch: Our pack lunch will be eaten on a tiny cobble beach tucked among the cliffs. The pebbles on the beach include rounded examples of quartzite and petrified wood carried from what is now Montana during the Missoula Floods of the Pleistocene, the world's largest freshwater floods.
 Afternoon: Depending on time and weather, we may return to Cathlamet via Cathlamet Channel or cross the channel to Birnie Slough to paddle a longer loop through the homes and farms of Puget Island before crossing back to Cathlamet. After driving back to Skamokawa Center, we will walk across the road to the 1894 schoolhouse that has been lovingly restored as the River Life Interpretive Center. It serves as historical museum, bookstore and community center.
 Dinner: At The Inn at Lucky Mud, enjoy a meal featuring fresh local ingredients.
 Evening: The six-member folk band Willapa Hills will perform music by and about the people of the Lower Columbia River. Willapa Hills is known for creative arrangements using various combinations of voice, guitar, autoharp, cello, banjo, mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, piano and percussion. The band is currently collecting local stories from long-time residents and turning them into songs.
   
Accommodations: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field Trip to Cape Disappointment State Park
(Wednesday, October 16)
   
 Breakfast: A hearty breakfast will be served each morning at your B&B, including a variety of cereal, sausage, fresh fruit, juices, homemade bread, farm fresh eggs.
 Morning: We take a break from kayaking to drive out to Cape Disappointment State Park, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Along the way we will stop at Dismal Nitch, named (as spelled) by Captain William Clark, the small cove where the Corps was forced by bad weather to camp for days on giant logs that floated and pitched about at every high tide. When we arrive at the park, we will hike a two-mile trail inside the cape where the Corps of Discovery also was proceeding on foot. Here we'll explore a section of ancient temperate rainforest with trees up to nine feet in diameter and see landmarks described in the expedition journals.
 Lunch: We will eat our pack lunches in a picnic area of the park near our trailhead.
 Afternoon: We will visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Perched on top of Cape Disappointment with a spectacular view of the river bar and ocean, this particularly well-done center was rebuilt for the Lewis & Clark bicentennial. Afterward we may take the half-mile hike down to Little Waikiki Beach on the outside of the cape or visit the Columbia Pacific Heritage Center in Ilwaco before driving back to The Inn at Crippen Creek for dinner. We usually return by 5 p.m.
 Dinner: Wednesday night is always pizza night at The Inn at Crippen Creek. The Speranzas know how to make real Italian pizza, of different varieties including meat and vegetarian options, along with salad, and, for dessert, a delicious panna cotta.
 Evening: Guide Mark Whitaker will share his considerable expertise on salmon, the icon and lifeblood of the Columbia River region.
   
Accommodations: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Kayak around Welch Island of the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge
(Thursday, October 17)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast at your B&B, including a variety of cereal, sausage, fresh fruit, juices, homemade bread and farm-fresh eggs. To take advantage of the tide this day, we will have breakfast at 7:30 a.m. rather than 8.
 Morning: We will paddle across the main channel to Welch Island, the easternmost of a chain of tidal marsh islands that comprise the 35,000-acre Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Some of the big old cottonwood trees there house active Bald Eagle nests. We will paddle around this 1,800-acre island in the center of the Columbia before landing on another island for lunch.
 Lunch: We will have lunch on a small sand beach on Tenasillahe Island. This island has a dike trail that will give us a chance to take a walk and look for wildlife before crossing back to Skamokawa.
 Afternoon: We will paddle back across the channel to Skamokawa.
 Dinner: Our final dinner at The Inn at Lucky Mud showcases Columbia River salmon along with other fresh local foods.
 Evening: Our final evening program features the musical duo of Emlen & Reynolds performing "Corelli to Cruzatte: Music of the Lewis & Clark Era," in period costume. The first half of the program features classical music from Thomas Jefferson's library, and the second half features fiddle tunes and folk songs likely to have been played on the Lewis & Clark trail. Emlen & Reynolds have performed for many state and national Lewis & Clark bicentennial events and historical society events, and have been videotaped for the National Park Service archives.
   
Accommodations: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm or The Inn at Lucky Mud
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure Day
(Friday, October 18)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast at your B&B, including a variety of cereal, sausage, fresh fruit, juices, homemade bread and farm-fresh eggs.
 Morning: Our program ends after the 8 a.m. breakfast at your lodging. No program is scheduled, but you are welcome to continue sharing remembrances of the week. Check-out time is 10 a.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Skamokawa, WA Collupy Glass
Collupy Glass is a small glass-blowing company in Skamokawa. Treasure and Michelle Collupy are a husband and wife living their American dream. They are partners in life as well as in business. Treasure's creative shapes and techniques combined with Michelle's brilliant colors make for a unique piece of glass. You may call ahead during the week to watch the glass-blowing process in action. For additional information, visit www.collupyglass.com/
  Disc Golf Course
The Inn at Lucky Mud proudly presents an 18-hole championship disc golf course designed by Adam Fletcher with assistance from nine-time Washington State champion Lowell Shields. Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, however, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee® For additional information, visit www.luckymud.com/onsite/golf.htm
  Julia Butler Hansen White-tailed Deer National Wildlife Refuge
Deer and elk may be observed and photographed from the road which passes through the mainland portion of the refuge; evenings and mornings are the best times. The refuge is also a home or migratory stopover for 200 species of birds. You are welcome to walk, bicycle or drive along the serene country road. A wildlife observation site and interpretive exhibits are along State Highway 4 and at the refuge headquarters on Steamboat Slough Road. For additional information, visit .www.fws.gov/pacific/refuges/field/WA_julia.htm
  Skyline Golf Course
Everyone is welcome at Skyline Golf! A great atmosphere for beginners, youth, women, senior citizens, high handicappers, non-players, tag-a-longs, and the just plain curious. Learn and participate in a fun, comfortable environment. Compared to other nine-hole golf facilities, there aren’t many with the full amenities offered here. It makes us unique! For additional information, visit www.skylinegolf.net/
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Beach of Heaven: A History of Wahkiakum County


Author: Irene Martin


Description: Local historian, gill-netter and Episcopal priest, Irene Martin has won a Governor's Heritage Award for her books on local history. She lives in Skamokawa and will be an evening program presenter for our Road Scholar program.



Naked Against the Rain: The People of the Lower Columbia 1770-1830


Author: Rick Rubin


Description: This book is hard to find, but it is an excellent account of the Chinookan peoples native to the lower Columbia River.



Northwest Passage: the Great Columbia River


Author: William Dietrich


Description: Possibly the most comprehensive of the histories of the Columbia, broad in scope, thoughtful and thought-provoking.



Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska


Author: Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon


Description: This is the best plant guide for our area. Organized by family, it has good photographs and drawings and rewards identification of each plant with a wealth of ecological information and notes on human uses.



River of the West: Stories from the Columbia


Author: Robert Clark


Description: This beautifully written book tells the story of the Columbia through the individual stories of its inhabitants, from Native Americans early and modern, explorers, missionaries, emigrants, fishermen and those seeking new lives during the dam-building era.



Seeking Western Waters: The Lewis & Clark Trail for the Rockies to the Pacific


Author: Emory and Ruth Strong


Description: These authors have done something unique. For each day of the expedition’s travel in the Columbia River watershed, they provide a journal excerpt, explanatory text, and a photograph. Nearly every page provides a photo of an artifact, landscape, plant or animal described in the journals of Lewis and Clark.



Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place


Author: Robert Michael Pyle


Description: Bob Pyle, a winner of the John Burroughs award for natural history (for Wintergreen), here has written what Kathleen Dean Moore best described as “a lovingly rendered ecology of people in their home place”, just west of Skamokawa in Gray’s River.



Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West


Author: Stephen E. Ambrose


Description: This biography of Meriwether Lewis is the book that rekindled interest in the Lewis & Clark expedition, a bestseller with footnotes. Don’t expect a great deal of information on the Columbia, however. A Montanan, Ambrose wrote twice as much text per mile on the Missouri River as he did on the Columbia. All the same, a nice complement to a week following Lewis & Clark’s trail along the lower Columbia.



Way to the Western Sea: Lewis & Clark Across the Continent


Author: David Lavender


Description: Looking for one short, readable book that tells the entire Lewis & Clark story? Lavender encapsulates it all, adding interesting background and context for the events of the expedition. This is the book I was handed by the staff of Fort Clatsop National Memorial when I began volunteering there in 1992.





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