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Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: Exploration and Discovery

Program Number: 2288RJ
Start and End Dates:
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; 9/6/2015 - 9/11/2015; 9/20/2015 - 9/25/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/9/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Skamokawa, Washington
Price starting at: $939.00 - 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
Skamokawa Resort on the Columbia River.

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
   Skamokawa Resort
  Skamokawa, WA 5 nights
 Skamokawa Resort
Type: Inn
  Description: Skamokawa Resort is part of a National Historic Area, with renovated buildings that date to the 1890's. It is on the Columbia River, with views across the river to Oregon. It is within easy walking distance of the sand beach and forest trail of Skamokawa Vista Park, Columbia River Kayaking's facilities and dock, and the River Life Interpretive Center.
  Contact info: 1391 W State Route 4
Skamokawa, WA 98647 USA
phone: 360-795-0726
web: http://www.skamokawaresort.com/
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, satellite television
  Facility amenities: The Skamokawa Resort has a small conference center where we will gather for meals. It also has a general store with a nice beer and wine selection. The Post Office is in the same building complex.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $79-$169 Additional nights may be spent in one of the hotel rooms ($79-$89) or in Condo #5, which has a living area and kitchen facilities ($169).
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $79-$169 Additional nights may be spent in one of the hotel rooms ($79-$89) or in Condo #5, which has a living area and kitchen facilities ($169).
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at Skamokawa Resort beginning at 3:00 PM You will be staying at Skamokawa Resort 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 Skamokawa Resort the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A liability waiver will be mailed or emailed 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
Columbia River Kayaking
phone: 360-747-1044
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
Columbia River Kayaking
phone: 360-747-1044
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 pass the sign reading "Entering Historic Skamokawa", take a left onto Steamboat Slough Road and an immediate right into the parking lot for Skamokawa Resort, 1391 W. State Route 4. The building is visible from State Route 4, with the general store in front and post office next to it. If you take State Route 4 over the Skamokawa Creek Bridge, you have gone too far. (Note: the other entrance to Steamboat Slough Road is five miles east, just after the Elochoman River bridge. Do not take that entrance, as a road closure prevents access to the west.) Please park at the far west end of the parking lot. You may temporarily park closer to the inn for the purpose of unloading luggage.
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 Skamokawa Resort, evening presentation on the history of Skamokawa
(Sunday, June 21)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive as early as 3 p.m. at Skamokawa Resort and relax or explore the grounds, Skamokawa Vista Park, or the Hansen Refuge before dinner. At 5:30 p.m., there will be social time in the conference room before 6:00 dinner.
 Dinner: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill Catering, 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 for fifteen years taught a course about the Lower Columbia River as an adjunct faculty member of Lewis & Clark College.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to Kayaking on Protected Deep River. Paddle into Historic, Wildlife-Rich Gray's Bay on the Lewis & Clark Water Trail
(Monday, June 22)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning at Skamokawa Resort. Options include eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage. Breakfast is usually at 8 a.m. At 8:40, you will be transported to the kayak put-in or to a field-trip destination.
 Morning: We will have an introduction to kayaking on protected Deep River, offering an opportunity to work on strokes before paddling out the river to Gray's Bay. Gray's Bay of the Columbia River is one of the premier wildlife areas in the region. Wildlife seen on this adventure include river otters, harbor seals, Roosevelt elk and nesting Bald Eagles. Here the Columbia is eight miles wide, offering impressive views of the estuary, yet our path along the forested hills along the shore is protected from prevailing winds.
 Lunch: Each day we will prepare pack lunches that may include a deli sandwich, chips, fruit or homemade cookie that will be eaten in the field. Our lunch site the first day is a small golden sand beach tucked among sandstone bluffs, with a view across the broad Columbia to Astoria. Here we will share some of the most exciting journal entries of the Lewis & Clark expedition at the location where they experienced it. Our beach also offers the possibility of finding Miocene marine fossils.
 Afternoon: After lunch our tide will have turned to aid our return to our put-in. After driving back to Skamokawa, our experts will present a demonstration of all the 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: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill Catering, include fresh salad from local ingredients, vegetables, a meat or vegetarian entree and homemade dessert.
 Evening: Historian Irene Martin has won a 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: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Kayak Through the Sitka Spruce Swamp Sloughs of the Hansen National Wildlife Refuge
(Tuesday, June 23)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning at Skamokawa Resort. Options include eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage. Breakfast is usually at 8 a.m. At 8:40, you will be transported to the kayak put-in or to a field-trip destination.
 Morning: We will follow Lewis & Clark's route through Elochoman (ee-LO-ko-man) Slough, a narrow waterway where the Corps of Discovery followed two canoes of Wahkiakum (wa-KIE-a-kum) Indians to their village site to trade (fish hooks for dogs and wapato tubers). We will follow the slough all the way to lunch through the Sitka spruce swamps of the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, which feature trees up to 350 years old.
 Lunch: At the end of the slough, we will emerge on a sand beach on the main channel of the Columbia, where we will eat our pack lunch.
 Afternoon: We will continue paddling downriver with the outgoing tide. For less than a mile we will be on the main channel before continuing to Skamokawa (ska-MOCK-away) via Steamboat Slough, also part of the Hansen Wildlife Refuge. After returning to Skamokawa we will walk across the road to the 1894 schoolhouse that has been lovingly restored as the River Life Interpretive Center.
 Dinner: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill Catering, include fresh salad from local ingredients, vegetables, a meat or vegetarian entree and homemade dessert.
 Evening: The six-member folk band Willapa Hills will perform music by and about the people of the Lower Columbia River. Willapa Hills are known for creative arrangements using various combinations of voice, guitar, autoharp, cello, banjo, mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, piano and percussion. They are currently collecting local stories from long-time residents and turning them into songs.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field Trip to Cape Disappointment State Park
(Wednesday, June 24)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning at Skamokawa Resort. Options include eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage. Breakfast is usually at 8 a.m. At 8:40, you will be transported to the kayak put-in or to a field-trip destination.
 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: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill Catering, include fresh salad from local ingredients, vegetables, a meat or vegetarian entree and homemade dessert.
 Evening: Guide and traditional kayak builder Mark Whitaker will present a history of kayaking.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Kayak Along the 90-Foot Cliffs and Waterfalls of the Lower Gorge During Wildflower Season.
(Thursday, June 25)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning at Skamokawa Resort. Options include eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage. Breakfast is usually at 8 a.m. At 8:40, you will be transported to the kayak put-in or to a field-trip destination.
 Morning: Our final paddle will take us along the profoundly beautiful cliffs of the Lower Gorge. An extension of the Columbia basalt flows, the second-largest basalt flows on earth, these lavas filled the Columbia River valley 17-15 million years ago. Today waterfalls plunge into the Columbia from the 90-foot cliffs. Wildflowers, including rare endemics, bloom in all colors and are fed upon by Rufous Hummingbirds. You may view the mold of a tree engulfed by the lava, leaving the imprint of the bark texture clearly visible millions of years later.
 Lunch: We will eat our pack lunch on a small pebble beach next to the cliffs and a waterfall. Our beach is partly made up of Missoula flood deposits, rounded pebbles of quartzite and many other minerals carried all the way from Idaho during the last ice age.
 Afternoon: Depending on the tides, we may either return along the cliffs the way we came, loop through the homes and farms of Birnie Slough back to Cathlamet, or take the Columbia main channel down to Skamokawa.
 Dinner: Our final dinner at Skamokawa Resort showcases wild-caught salmon along with other fresh local foods.
 Evening: Local musicians Kyleen Austin, Andrew Emlen, Eric Friend and Jillian Weiss will perform a program of River Songs, with varied instrumentation including guitar, mandolin, banjo, mandocello, cello and voice. The program will include many well-known sing-along numbers as well as local Columbia River tunes.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure Day
(Friday, June 26)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning at Skamokawa Resort. Options include eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage.
 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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