Canoe the slough

This past weekend was the last non-weekend-weekend I get on my paternity leave. From here on out, I’ll be splitting my weekends up with actual work. Lame.

In order to enjoy the weekend, Joe, Scott and I borrowed my dad’s boats and went for a canoe trip on the Columbia Slough, entering at Kelly Point. The slough, which enters the Willamette just upstream from the confluence of the Columbia River and Willamette, is lovely and gross at the same time. The proximity to industrial uses and landfills has not made it the cleanest, but it’s still a lovely place for a paddle.
Joe and Scott at the mouth of the Columbia Slough
Before heading up the slough, we paddled out to the Willamette to check out the view of the big water and see some of the other users. Just south of the slough is a large grain silo where misc. grains (wheat, I assume) are loaded from box car into silo, then into tankers and shipped away. North is Kelly Point Park and lots of folks come to fish from the beach.

As we paddled up the slough, we encountered a number of folks fishing. This of course was in contrast to my suggestion to Joe and Scott not to get wet if they could avoid it, and not to touch their orifices if they did get wet. Once we got up stream a ways, there were actually signs hidden in the overgrowth of cottonwoods that warned that you shouldn’t swim, fish, or drink from the water.
Fork in the Slough
This picture is of us heading back towards the mouth of the slough. To the right of the canoe is a dormant and capped landfill. On the same bank as the landfill was a teen fisherman trying his hand at carp fishing. We were puzzled by this – maybe he didn’t get the memo about the bio-accumulative property of heavy metals and other toxic materials in fish, or maybe he was hungry enough that it didn’t matter. They were the largest carp I’d seen in Oregon.

I like the slough – partly because I enjoy birds. We were treated to close encounters with some great blue herons, kingfishers, ouzels, sand pipers, and a beaver. They hadn’t received the memo either.

Afterwards we rallied with others at Concordia from some tasty brews and food. Ah, summer.

3 thoughts on “Canoe the slough”

  1. I, too, went on a nature trip the other day. It started when I left work Sunday morning and decided to see if Chuckanut would be the quick way home. I’m starting to think that watching South Park episodes while I drive is a bad idea, because my first encounter with nature almost ended badly, with me swerving erradically to barely miss a dead coyote in my lane on Bayview Edison. Then, further down Bayview Edison, I had to brake from over 100mph down to about 20 to give a skunk enough time to figure out that his best course of action for avoiding being run over by me would be to get OFF the road rather than plod along at a lazy speed in the center of my lane going the same way I was going. And then, finally, nature’s last flirt with disaster ended about five miles later when, on Chuckanut, I came around a corner and a whole flock of birds flew up right in front of my car. One of them completely exploded on my grille. It must have hit hard becuase there were no traces of it when I got home. All I could think was, “Damn, what’s next, monkey’s swinging across the road in front of me!?” Anyway, it was natureful.

    Oh yeah, those fishermen/fisherkid may have just been catch and release fishing. It’s still fun. Well, we can hope, at least.

  2. Looked like an awesome day for a trip like that, the pics turned our very well. But who else was in your boat? Rowing a canoe by yourself is kinda a drag, and you normally get a little wet from switching the paddle from side to side… toxic water.

  3. Andy was roling the kayak while Joe and I were in the canoe.

    Good times….I relly enjoyed it, though I still can’t get over the fisherman.

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