2288
Skamokawa
Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: Exploration and Discovery
Paddle the tidal marshes, boreal forests and pristine estuaries of the lower Columbia River with experts as you improve your kayak technique and learn the story of this ancient region.
Program No. 2288RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
999
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Class
Skamokawa, WA
D
Skamokawa Resort

Dinner: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill catering, feature fresh local ingredients, including a meat or vegetarian entree, vegetables, salad and home-made dessert.

Evening: Enjoy a slide presentation on the history of Skamokawa by Andrew Emlen, who for 16 years taught a course on the Lower Columbia River as an adjunct faculty member for Lewis & Clark College.

DAY
2
Kayak the Julia Butler Hansen Nat Wildlife Refuge/Live music
Skamokawa, WA
B,L,D
Skamokawa Resort

Breakfast: A hearty breakfast will be served each morning, including eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, juice, and fresh fruit. 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 begin in Cathlamet with an introduction to kayaking. Our 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 they form 90-foot cliffs with many interesting features. 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. In May, wildflowers are at their peak: blue Cliff Larkspur, yellow Broad-leaved Stonecrop, and purple Coast Penstemon are some of the common species that color the cliffs.

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. 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: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill catering, feature fresh local ingredients, including a meat or vegetarian entree, vegetables, salad and home-made 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.

DAY
3
Kayak Welch Island (Lewis & Clark Nat Wildlife Refuge)/Opera
Skamokawa, WA
B,L,D
Skamokawa Resort

Activity 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 each morning, including eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, juice, and fresh fruit. 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 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, often via historic Steamboat Slough. After returning to Skamokawa Landing, we will walk 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: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill catering, feature fresh local ingredients, including a meat or vegetarian entree, vegetables, salad and home-made dessert.

Evening: The four-member folk band Skamokawa Swamp Opera will perform music by and about the people of the Lower Columbia River, including their original songs. Skamokawa Swamp Opera are known for creative arrangements using various combinations of voice, guitar, cello, banjo, mandolin, mandocello, and percussion.

DAY
4
Field Trip to Cape Disappointment State Park
Skamokawa, WA
B,L,D
Skamokawa Resort

Breakfast: A hearty breakfast will be served each morning, including eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, juice, and fresh fruit. 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 be taking 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: Kyleen has been exploring the outdoors her entire life and has led Road Scholar programs since 2014. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has completed the British Canoe Union’s four-star kayak sea leader training. Kyleen studied English and Music in college, worked as a worldwide marketing director for IBM, directed the American River Conservancy and is a cheese-loving founder of Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery on Puget Island. The multi-talented Kyleen is also a singer-songwriter. Watch her perform on her programs for Road Scholar!

Dinner: Dinners at Skamokawa Resort, prepared by chefs Jake Collins and Ginger Schmitz of Jack & Jill catering, feature fresh local ingredients, including a meat or vegetarian entree, vegetables, salad and home-made dessert.

Evening: Guide and traditional kayak builder Mark Whitaker will give a slide presentation on the history of kayaking.

DAY
5
Fitzpatrick Island/Paddle back to Skamokawa/Live music
Skamokawa, WA
B,L,D
Skamokawa Resort

Breakfast: A hearty breakfast will be served each morning, including eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, juice, and fresh fruit. 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 paddle across the main channel past the former horse-seining grounds of Fitzpatrick Island, then cross back to follow the longer route back along the bluffs of the north shore.

Lunch: We will have lunch on a small cobble beach that was once the site of a cannery town from the 1870's to the 1930's.

Afternoon: We will return to Skamokawa along a rugged and varied shoreline featuring pillow basalts and breccias, mature Douglas-fir forest, and sites of former cannery towns.

Dinner: Our final dinner at Skamokawa Resort showcases wild-caught salmon along with other fresh local foods.

Evening: Skamokawa Swamp Opera musicians Kyleen Austin, Andrew Emlen, Eric Friend and Jillian Weiss will return to perform "River Songs", including both local songs and well-known sing-alongs.

DAY
6
Departure Day
Skamokawa, WA
B

Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast, including a variety of cereal, sausage, eggs, fresh fruit, juices, and toast.

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.