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.

Important: Bakery Alert

Knowing the good restaurants, brewpubs,

ice cream stands, ginger bread stands, espresso stands,

milkshake stands and the like on the way to and from the river is important!

With that in mind, put the Hometown Bakery & Cafe on your list for a stop

the next time you do the Clackamas.  Coming from

Portland, it is in the industrial park on the right before you

get into Estacada.  Excellent pies, cookies, cinnamon

rolls, breads, etc.  Well worth the stop!

Lonely Rock on the Mollala

Did you say sun?
Did you say sun?
This report could have been about numbers, as in number of inflatable kayaks:2; number of canoes: 1; and lamenting about the disappearance of canoe paddlers.
This report could have been about the weather, as in sunshine: yes; snow: yes; rain: yes; and lamenting about the crazy weather we had this winter in Oregon. It’s snowing as I’m writing this.
This report could have been about river and flows, as in river: Mollala; run: from Avon Bridge to Feyrer Park; flow: 1300 cfs; gauge: 12.10 ft, and not lamenting because a bad day on the river is … you know!
Continue reading Lonely Rock on the Mollala

Second Sunday Class 2 Première

This past Sunday was the Premiere of this monthly event designed specially for beginners.

Photo by Neil Shulman
Photo by Neil Shulman
The first occurrence showed 5 paddlers braving the early morning fog to enjoy a good day on the river, 2 open canoes, 2 kayaks and 1 IK, the “new club” usual group. The fog lifted later on to let us paddle the North Clackamas under clear sky.
We went from McIver park down to Feldheimer. The flow was a normal 2090 cfs so it did not offer any real difficulty for this group of intermediate paddlers on a flow of above. No swim to report but rumors has it that a kayaker had to roll. We spent some time doing a little surfing as this is a fairly short trip. It tooks us about 2 and half hours including the compulsory lunch. 
We’ll do that again next month, with I hope more real beginners. SO see you on March 14.

TR:N Santiam, Packsaddle to Mill City


A great day on river deserves a trip report! With 8 open canoes and a C-1 versus only 2 inflatables and 2 kayaks, it felt more like the boat mixture of the “old” canoe club of a few years ago. (Maybe it helps to have a canoeist in charge to get those canoes out. Thanks Jim!) I note here that Jim’s trip was so popular he attracted boaters from as far away as Hood River (John and Betts), Bend (Trevor), and Denver (Scott Reed). We almost lost one of our few kayakers at the carpool meeting place when he discovered his gear bag had been inadvertently left at home, but fast driving saved the day and he was able to rejoin us.

Continue reading TR:N Santiam, Packsaddle to Mill City