Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yakima River - Day 5 - May 28, 2010

It rains all night. This is one of the driest places in the state... except now. It just doesn't matter to us anymore since we have been wet, at least to our knees, for most of the last 4 days. I cook up coffee and oatmeal in the rain and then we walk down to the Horn Rapids Diversion Dam. Maps show irrigation canals on both sides, so we have no idea of where and how far we will have to go to get back into the river. We are pleased to find a foot bridge just below the dam on river-left, an access to Native American fishing platforms.
We return to camp and portage down to the river. Then, a short paddle to the warning sign a hundred yards above the dam. From here, we do an easy portage to a spot below the dam.
The day goes easy with no scouting, no lining, and no more portages. Nothing more than some ripples in the water comes our way. Birdlife is pretty good with pelicans, a couple types of herons, and some egrets. It rains several times and once, it rains very hard for over 40 minutes. It is a midwest rain and I tell Mike that I think it is a two inch per hour dumping.At the mouth of the Yakima, the river broadens some. Mike tells me that we can call for a lift if I'd like... and I look at him and say, "don't you think it would be rather cool if we paddle right to your folk's house - they live just 3 miles up the Columbia? I mean, I've just paddled 148 miles, I think I can handle another 3." Well, that's what he was thinking too, he was just being nice. The mouth has cattails and tules and all of the other marsh stuff that it should. The Columbia, a big river, is calm today and we have to paddle out about a 1/2 mile to Bateman Island to get around the shallow sandbar of the Yakima. My favorite birds, the terns, greet us from driftwood by spreading their wings and screeching at us. A bird, the size of a small crow with the attitude of an eagle.So, it is 4-1/2 miles upstream, easy with no wind and hugging the shore where the current is lightest, to the house.

We shake hands.

It has been a fine trip, an unexpected adventure on a multivaried waterway that is seldom paddled and in parts, seldom visited. We approached it as explorers and got a real wilderness experience from a place that is never far from civilization. And we bonded and worked as a team, not just traveling together, but relying on each others strengths and abilities.

25 miles for the day.
Kiona flow rate - 3000 to 4000 cfs
Must portage Horn Rapids Dam.


Anonymous said...

wow- a great adventure. enjoyed the ride-along. by the way- what is lining? sounds like day 2 was quite the challenge. my parents lived along the columbia but in wenatchee so i have visited parts of the river.
certainly not like this though...
thanks for taking us along!

white pelicans...we have only browns here as far as i know-or at least that is what we mainly see.

Scott Schuldt said...

Lining - when you have some water that you don't want to paddle you can portage or you can line. Lining is quicker because you don't unload the boat. One paddler grabs the bow line and one takes the stern line and you let the canoe drift in the current while walking along on the shore. It was really great around log jams where we just didn't want to risk a swim.

Scott Schuldt said...

White Pelicans are inland birds,they skim for fish and our about a foot longer across the wings than the brown ones. They are far more graceful than great blue herons - unbelievable to watch.

Lisa McShane said...

Wow - these are amazing posts! How interesting to see this area from the water.

Scott Schuldt said...

Thanks Lisa,
we were both stunned and pleased at how wild and natural large sections of the Yakima were. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it isn't going to get a lot of traffic because it does have some serious paddling stuff to deal with.