Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Further Exploration is Required

Me and A set out again.  She is agitated with the rumble of life today.  I am not much less agitated with it myself.  A strange thing that I have discovered about canoeing, a thing that no other activity that I have tried does, is that canoeing washes all of the loose and unimportant stuff of life from the skin of the soul.  It doesn't leave you shiny, it leaves you level headed.  If I am not careful, I could very well become a constant nomad. 

After our last trip I looked on a map and found a place that we could put in on the Duwamish that was not much more than a couple hundred yards from where we turned around 2 days ago.  We will start there and continue upriver.  Arriving at that bend in the river, we do the 100 yard portage to the water.  It is not only a good place to put a canoe in, but it might be the best shoreline that I have dropped my canoe in the Seattle area - a low sloping sand beach with an active osprey nest on a pole nearby.


We both remark, immediately, that the river character at this point is completely different than anything we saw the other day.  Gone are the industrial surroundings and with it the unsightly shitty looking sea walls of tires, odd pieces of metal and discarded concrete.  This section of river is remarkably free of debris with just a few exceptions.  The current is steady but not overly grim.  We move upstream at a mile and a half per hour, maybe a bit more.  We only have to bear down in a few short sections of faster water.  I tell A that it will break down to 2/3 - 1/3.  2/3 of our time will be spent going up, 1/3 coming down.  I teach A the draw and stationary draw strokes...just a few minutes of that and I let it go.  It just needs to soak in.

This part of the river meanders.  There is always a bend ahead and we steer for the insides of turns as we ascend in order to take advantage of the slowest water.  The river is 50 yards wide in most places with a bank that is 6 to 10 feet high.  We spot a few green-backed herons, many kingfishers, a most curious raccoon, and one bald eagle.

We find a drainage entering the river as we get to the city of Renton.  This might be the remains of the Black River.  The Black River drained Lake Washington before the Montlake Ship Canal was opened in 1916.  That lowered the lake 10 feet and the shallow Black ceased to flow.  We nose up into it aways on the return.  There is a pearlescent tinge to the water that we wonder about.  There should be a good deal of rainwater runoff from all sorts of terrain and industry finding this spot.  We don't drink it.

Looking for Lunch

We see not a single boat on the water, again.   As we take out and portage the canoe, we both comment about how much better we feel.  We've not dodge our issues - the canoe has returned us to level ground.  We have a peace with the world the is healthy in all ways.


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