Paddle, Music and Good Company

What a wonderful weekend to be a flat/moving water paddler. Dave Graf has done it again, he raised the bar so high that even whitewater paddlers felt compelled to join the fun.

some of the boats. Photo by Dave Graf
Some of the boats. Photo by Dave Graf

First it started with a beautiful sunny day on this 4th of April, and trust me (my last trip was snowy), it takes a lot of planning to schedule, 3 months in advance, a trip on a sunny day in April despite a previous day with 40 degre and rain.
Coming from the Lower Columbia Canoe clubs as well as from the Southwest Washington Canoe Club, I counted 21 boats, about 35 paddlers single and double bladed, and 2 dogs for a paddle at Brownsmead near Astoria on the Columbia sloughs. A couple of eagles even came out to check those weird colorful things floating on the river.
The group lazily spread on the river, bumping into each other only when investigating the smaller channels of the area.
photo by Lee Session
A soaring bald eagle. Photo by Lee Session

Following the paddle, we regrouped at a nearby campsite where a majority of the group spent the night before heading to John’s beautiful house for one of the most elaborate potlucks I ever attented. The 2 kitchen ovens baked pies and quiches, while the 2 outdoor grills took care of the Chicken Cacciatore and the Bradwursts. Once everybody was full, we moved upstairs for a night of live music featuring the Brownsmead Flats ( This group does an amazing job of capturing the essence of living and paddling in Oregon and Washington with their lively music they label as “Crabgrass.”

Several of the guests had brought instruments and joined for the fun. After the group played a bunch of their songs from their 4 different CDs, an impromptu jam session started, for the joy of all.

Due to space contraints, I’ve published a few pictures only but be sure to come for the next year in review for a more comprehensive collection.

Photo by Dave Graf
The Brownsmead Flat and Loretta. Photo by Dave Graf

Thanks again to Dave for this wonderful day, to John and his wife for opening their house to this rowdy group, to the Brownsmead Flat for playing for us, to all who brought one or several instruments and played along, to all the cooks for the wonderful food, to the photographers for their photos and all paddlers for coming.

See you next month near th eUpper Klamath Lake.