2288
Washington
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
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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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 Introduction, Julia Butler Hansen National Refuge
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 drive to Cathlamet for a one-way kayak trip to Skamokawa with the outgoing tide. We will begin with an introduction to kayaking in protected Elochoman Slough. We will paddle along the exact route of Lewis & Clark, who were led through this slough by Wahkiakum Indians who brought them to the village of Elochoman to trade. The area near the former village site is part of the wildlife refuge that still resembles the forest Lewis & Clark saw in 1805, including individual trees that were standing at the time.

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. On Monday we will emerge from Elochoman Slough to a sand beach on the main channel of the Columbia.

Afternoon: After lunch we will have a short paddle on the main channel of the Columbia before entering historic Steamboat Slough, another protected section of the wildlife refuge dominated by Sitka spruce swamp. We will continue down river with the outgoing tide to Skamokawa. After returning to Skamokawa, the guides will present a demonstration of all the commonly used kayak rolls and rescues. There will then be an opportunity for any participants who want to try learning these skills to don a wetsuit and practice. There usually will be about an hour and a half of free time before dinner on this day.

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 along the 90-foot basalt cliffs of the Lower Gorge.
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 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: 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: 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 will take the .7-mile hike down to Little Waikiki Beach on the outside of the cape before driving back to Skamokawa 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, 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 present a slide program on the history of kayaking.

DAY
5
Kayak Welch Island the Lewis & Clark National Refuge
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 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 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 Raye will return to 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.

DAY
6
Departure Day
Skamokawa, WA
B

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






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