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Advanced Kayaking on the Lower Columbia River

Program Number: 19493RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/7/2015 - 6/12/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Skamokawa, Washington
Price starting at: $958.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Explore the Great River of the West with other experienced kayakers on a long-distance program that exposes you to little-traveled sections of the river. Paddle with expert guides who know the cultural and natural history of the Lower Columbia, opening a world of wildlife areas and geologic formations visible only from the water.




Highlights

• Paddle to Gray’s Point and back along a forested shoreline frequented by otters, bald eagles and Roosevelt elk.
• Spend a day practicing skills such as bracing, rescues, rolling and towing with coach Karl Andersson.
• Conclude with a scenic trip along the rugged Columbia north shore from Skamokawa to Altoona, passing the ruins of old cannery towns, a basalt arch, and 100-foot cliffs.



Activity Particulars

Paddle 10-16 miles daily with tide. Experienced paddlers.



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
Participants will stay in Skamokawa Resort, on the Columbia River between the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge and Skamokawa Vista Park.

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, Washington 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: 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 from 3:00-5:00 pm. You will be staying at Skamokawa Resort that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 8:00 A.M. breakfast on final day. Checkout time is at 10:00 A.M. of final day. You will be staying at Skamokawa Resort the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking on site.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Skamokawa, Washington
  Nearest highway: Washington State Route 4
  Nearest airport:  Portland International Airport (PDX)
  From End of Program
  Location: Skamokawa, Washington
    (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.
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: Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Introductions & Getting to Know You, Introduction to History of Skamokawa
(Sunday, June 7)
   
 Arrive To: Check in at Skamokawa Resort between 3:00 and 5:00 pm. There will be social time in the conference center at 5:30. Orientation and a Lower Columbia history presentation will follow dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at Skamokawa Resort. Menus typically include a salad, entrée, fresh homemade bread, and dessert, often featuring fresh, local ingredients.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: This program takes you to explore the Great River of the West with other experienced kayakers on long-distance paddles that expose you to little-traveled sections of the river. You'll have an overview of the experience to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory session. PRESENTATION: After a short break, we'll have a slide presentation introducing the history of Skamokawa and the lower Columbia River by guide Andrew Emlen. Andrew has taught a course on the Columbia River as adjunct faculty for Lewis & Clark College. Note: This program is designed for experienced paddlers to learn advanced skills; no beginners. Paddling 10–20 tide-assisted miles per day.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Paddle from Deep River to Gray's Point & back, evening presentation by historian Irene Martin
(Monday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: The hearty and varied breakfasts include eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, and juices. Before we leave for the morning, prepare your own pack lunch from a variety of fresh ingredients provided by Skamokawa Resort.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We will begin paddling in Deep River and emerge onto Gray's Bay, the widest point of the Columbia River at eight miles across. Gray's Bay is usually our best area for seeing wildlife, including river otters, elk, waterfowl and nesting bald eagles. Note: The “field trip” designation denotes a group outing that includes on-site presentations by experts.
 Lunch: We will eat our pack lunches at forested Gray's Point, where Lewis & Clark camped for two stormy days in 1805.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After the tide changes during lunch, we will return along the shore of Gray's Bay, passing the ghost town of Frankfurt on our way back to our Deep River launch site.
 Dinner: We will eat together at Skamokawa Resort. Chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz are experienced caterers who provide delicious, healthy and varied dinners for us each day.
 Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Irene Martin is a local author and historian. Winner of the Governor's Award for her historical work, she has also worked as a gillnetter and Episcopal priest and has entertained and informed Road Scholar groups for many years on every conceivable topic related to the Lower Columbia River.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Clinic of intermediate to advanced kayak skills with coach Mark Whitaker, River Life Interpretive Center, live folk music of the Columbia River
(Tuesday, June 9)
   
 Breakfast: The hearty and varied breakfasts include eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, and juices. Before we leave for the morning, prepare your own pack lunch from a variety of fresh ingredients provided by Skamokawa Resort.
 Morning: SKILLS CLINIC: Led by respected kayak coach Mark Whitaker, we'll work on stroke refinement, bracing, rescues, rolling, towing, and navigation.
 Lunch: Depending on timing and conditions, we will eat our pack lunches on the deck of Skamokawa Center, overlooking the river, or on a beach on Price Island.
 Afternoon: SKILLS CLINIC: We will continue our clinic, learning and practicing to improve kayaking skills. EXCURSION: After the skills clinic concludes, we'll walk across the road to the River Life Interpretive Center. This Queen Anne-style 1894 schoolhouse was purchased and beautifully restored by the Friends of Skamokawa Foundation in 1985, and now serves as a historical museum.
 Dinner: We will have dinner together at Skamokawa Resort.
 Evening: EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: The popular local folk band Willapa Hills will present a program of songs 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.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Paddle Eagle Cliff to Skamokawa via the Lower Gorge and the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, evening presentation on the history of kayaking by Mark Whitaker.
(Wednesday, June 10)
   
 Breakfast: The hearty and varied breakfasts include eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, and juices. Before we leave for the morning, prepare your own pack lunch from a variety of fresh ingredients provided by Skamokawa Resort.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Beginning at County Line Park, we will paddle along the basalt cliffs of the Lower Gorge, featuring 90-foot waterfalls, many wildflowers, and the ruins of old salmon canneries. These cliffs are part of the world's second largest basalt flows that filled the Columbia 16 million years ago.
 Lunch: We will eat our pack lunch on an uninhabited island in the Columbia before continuing down river.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We continue paddling to Skamokawa through the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge. The Sitka spruce swamp sloughs through which we'll paddle are lined with trees up to 350 years old. We'll have opportunities to watch river otters, bald eagles, and nesting osprey.
 Dinner: We will have dinner together at Skamokawa Resort.
 Evening: Evening presentation: Guide Mark Whitaker will give a history of kayaking, with an emphasis on the Aleut and Greenland cultures where the kayak developed. Mark has built traditional skin-on-frame kayaks and associated equipment and teaches traditional Greenland paddling and rolling techniques.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fourteen-mile tide-assisted paddle from Skamokawa to Altoona past forested basalt flows, former cannery town sites, Pillar Rock and Andrew's Arch; live music program
(Thursday, June 11)
   
 Breakfast: The hearty and varied breakfasts include eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, and juices. Before we leave for the morning, prepare your own pack lunch from a variety of fresh ingredients provided by Skamokawa Resort.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Our route this morning will begin along the rugged north shore to Pillar Rock, a landmark made famous in the Lewis & Clark journals as the point where they first reported seeing the ocean.
 Lunch: We will eat our pack lunch at Andrew's Arch, an arch formed where the Frenchman Springs basalt flow flowed into seafloor sediment 14 million years ago. The south half of the arch is basalt, the north sandstone. If the tide is still high enough, we can paddle through.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We will paddle the final miles to Altoona, where we will take out near scenic Twin Fir Rock and the ruins of the old Altoona Cannery.
 Dinner: Our final dinner features wild-caught salmon at Skamokawa Resort.
 Evening: EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: River Songs, performed by musicians Andrew Emlen, Jillian Weiss, Kyleen Austin and Eric Friend.
   
Accommodations: Skamokawa Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Farewells and Program Conclusion
(Friday, June 12)
   
 Breakfast: The hearty and varied breakfasts include eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, and juices.
 Morning: The program concludes with breakfast and farewells so that everyone can begin their independent departures. Best wishes for all your journeys!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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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