SAT 8-30…. I drove down to the first dam known as Little Goose Lock and Dam. It is about 26 miles plus or minus. I forgot it is Labor Day weekend, so everyone is already or going down to camp for the weekend, the Corps of Engineers has a lot of spots along the N. Side of the “lake” and the County has a very nice park down river from the dam. So I figured I would have a hard time getting a ride.
I came back and decided to attack these four dams/lakes…reservoirs the following way:
Instead of doing it the way I have, putting in at A, driving down to B and leaving the Van and hitch hiking back and then doing that particular section, I am going to just kayak from A and kayak back. Yes, it is doing twice the miles, but I am in 100% control from here on out. All 4 of these sections have very limited access, are very remote and very little traffic. Once the weekend is over, that means my chances of getting ride on my terms and on my time is very limited.
I still believe that I can do these 4 sections in 2/3 days apiece and several of them in 2 days for sure. The last section from Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is only about an hour’s kayak down into the Columbia. In fact, I may have to kayak up river for a ways, then back down just to be able to say I did the Snake into the Columbia.
So I am spending this night in the van, hoping to get a good night’s sleep and leave very early in the morning. I am glad I am not on the water now, the wind has been howling, which is not uncommon this time of the day. What would be nice if I get down the river in one day early and turn around and the wind blows me down most of the way up river back to the van. That will be the ideal situation.
SUN 8-31…. Got up early once again and got on the water. I have been very lucky on the weather, almost every single day has started out beautiful. It was only the first week or so I had that rain around Idaho Falls/American Falls and then it was so warm it didn’t matter.
These 4 reservoirs are going to be big and slow. All four obviously are backed up by dams and the reservoirs appear to be full and high. Not a lot of people, even for this weekend being Labor Day.
I paddled down to almost the dam, turned around and started back and by right rudder wire broke so it was very difficult to paddle with only one side working, the kayak with the wind blowing wanted to turn to the left. Wore me out. But finally got back to the boat dock, got unloaded, went and fixed the rudder wire at the Wal Mart parking lot, went to Albertson’s and headed down river to the next put in.
MON 9-1…. Got to the next put in/boat dock and got things ready and spent the night. Put in the next morning a little later and paddled all day. Nothing eventful, very little wind and finished what is the 2nd of 4 reservoirs.
TUES 9-2…. The two middle reservoirs are somewhat remote, in fact, they are remote. Very few access roads and only one to the Dams. The road to the 3rd Dam access point was closed, they must have been doing some work on the road or the dam. Since 9-11 you can’t cross any of these Dams except for the Snake River Dam and that is one of those situations you just can’t access that area from the Oregon side it is virtually impossible. So I was not able to paddle this 3rd reservoir which I think amounts to about 20 plus or minus miles. Surely not a big deal when one considers I have done almost 850 plus miles on the Snake. So I have driven on down to Burbank, WA where the Snake merges with the Columbia. A lot of people think it is Pasco, WA where this takes place, but it isn’t, it is Burbank, WA. I stayed in the boat ramp parking lot. There is a nice park and RV Park here on the river, but it is closed so that means Labor Day weekend is last day it is open.
WENS 9-3…. The wind was blowing this morning, up river unfortunately which meant as I took off I was being blown up river which is a good thing. I was hoping that as the sun came up, it would lay down and quit blowing but that was not the case. It kept blowing and in fact picked up. So once I got within site of the Dam I had to fight the wind all the way back and it was the hardest paddling I had to do so far. As everyone knows, the Columbia is famous for wind and it blew all day long, hard. All the way to Biggs where once turns off to head to Bend I found the wind in the Van.
I didn’t get to paddle the few hundred yards down into the Columbia. I couldn’t, the wind wouldn’t allow it and if I would have got in the Columbia I probably would have been blown back up river, no way could I have fought it, so my trip comes to an end today.
If I had to do it over again, now that I have had some time to think about it, I would have planned it to take at least another 4 weeks. That way a guy could have spent more time on Jackson Lake, in Swan Valley and for sure in Hell’s Canyon. Fished more. Spent more time on the bank. Did some multi-day hikes on the numerous trials up into the canyons. Maybe another time, another life. But depending on circumstances, this trip would warrant a serious consideration of doing it again.