Canoeing in the Willamette

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Last week we went on a tour of the Willamette River here in Portland, with the great folks of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.  It wasn’t a long trip nor far, just a couple of hours, with lunch in the island.

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They offer free events like this one, and lots of other cool resources.  I can’t believe we hadn’t done anything with them until this summer.

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So we got on this 12-person canoe and paddle in the Willamette River.

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It was the first time we’ve been out with them and I am so glad we decided to go.  It was a beautiful, clear day.  It was hot, but it was cooler in the water.

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DSC_0013 copyWe saw the Sellwood Bridge.

DSC_0006 copyAnd downtown.

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And just being in the water, makes you see everything in a different perspective.  I love the views.

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With a field guide and binoculars provided by the staff, it was fun to see up close.  And we did get to see some cool stuff.

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(Oh, how I wish I would have taken my zoom…)

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Lucky us we got to see a Bald Eagle flying over us, a few Great Blue Herons perched in this small island and on edge, Canada Geese, Killdeer, Purple Martins .

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As we got closer to Ross Island, we were told that Kingfishers nest in these burrows.  I had no idea.

DSC_0023 copyWe had great guides, all four of them.  Our boat had two staff, both directing the canoe and sharing their knowledge.  We got to spend our paddling with this guy.  He was knowledgable, funny, and shared lots of information.  He talked about the birds, the history of Ross Island and who bought what when, and how it came about what it is now, about animals, history of the region, natives.

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It was cool to share few hours with them.

DSC_0041 copy DSC_0028 copyThis is the other canoe that went with us, it looks so pretty.  Doesn’t it?

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Downtown.

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We noticed how the river rises with the tides.  It changes about 3 feet he said.  I had no idea it was that much.  I’ve never really have paid that much attention to the water levels.

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We stopped at Ross Island for lunch.

DSC_0071 copyThe view was gorgeous.  Oh what a day.

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We had a chance to talk to the guides, have lunch, hang out a little, cool off in the shade and see what treasures we could find in this new (to us) place.

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(Someone chewed on this stick.)  Signs of life, of autumn, signs of the life cycle.  There is always so much to notice just by being out of doors, isn’t it?

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We even saw a barge get launched to the river, not too far from the island.

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And waves of all sizes.

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After lunch we had to go back.  I really wished we could have paddle all day.

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I think I want to get something to paddle around in the river.  We live so close to it (10-12 blocks?)  We should try to find something.  I think it would be fun.

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I think of all the things this beautiful city has to offer.  I feel so lucky to live where we live.  The natural beauty amazes me almost daily.  Sometimes it’s hard to pay attention to it, when we are in the day to day life, when the garbage needs to be taken out, or it’s so hot to be outside, or inside for that matter!

But if I stop long enough to notice, I feel so very lucky we have ended up where we are.  The greens all around us, even in the hottest I’ve had; the blues, in front of us and up above;  the browns and grays; the yellows and all the natural colors in between; the people and friends we’ve been lucky to meet and keep through these twenty years of living in the same spot, because it’s been a wonderful spot up until now, at least.

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If we are going to live in a city, I feel lucky we’ve been able to raise our kids in this city. There’s always been things for us to do that we all enjoy.

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I think we’ll be going to other trips they offer, for sure.  Everyone loved it.

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4 thoughts on “Canoeing in the Willamette

  1. Glendie August 25, 2015 / 5:31 am

    Looks like a GREAT day with all the peeps on the river!!!

  2. darwinsbulldog August 29, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    Love the LCEP’s canoe paddles! Can’t wait until my now 3-year-old is older and can join my now 9-year-old and I on some of these…

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