In late July we flew from DE to the west coast to the small town of Skamokawa, Washington (pronounced Ska-mock-ah-way) for three days of kayaking and a day of Lewis and Clark history. We were participating in the Road Scholar Program, Kayaking the Lower Columbia River. Coordinators of this program are Columbia River Kayaking. Lodging is provided at Skamokawa Resort, who’s back dock provides a nice view of the Columbia River.
The boathouse for CRK is a ten minute walk down the road in a beautiful old building once housing a Ladies Clothing Emporium, when the steamships plied the river and represented the economic lifeblood of all river communities.
Our first kayaking day was a gentle paddle down Steamboat Slough to the river town of Cathlamet.
In the afternoon two guides treated us to a roll and rescue demonstration featuring techniques for righting kayaks and kayakers.
Our second day of kayaking found us crossing the river into Oregon and paddling the Red Slough between Welch Island and Tenasillahe Island. Osprey, bald eagles, and a large flock of white pelicans flew over us, or perched on shore.
We stopped for lunch at a beach on Tenasillahe Island. One of the highlights of this stop, watching a dragonfly emerging from it’s larval shell and getting ready for first flight.
On the third day we left paddling behind and took a journey through history to learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Traveling from Skamokawa to the Pacific Coast we visited several historical sites. At the Dismal Nitch, our guides entertained us with a reading of Lewis and Clark journal entries accompanied by whimsical special effects.
On our fourth, and final, kayaking day we used the tides to slingshot us around Fitzpatrick Island where double-crested cormorants nest in high metal towers. Paddling along the basalt cliffs we learned about their volcanic origins.
Our trip was a delightful journey into a history and river culture that was new to us. Our guides were terrific and the scenery beautiful. This is a Road Scholar trip that we highly recommend.
For further information:
Road Scholar: Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/2288/Kayaking-the-Lower-Columbia-River-Exploration-and-Discovery
Columbia River Kayaking: http://www.columbiariverkayaking.com
Skamokawa Resort: https://www.skamokawaresort.com