RIDGEFIELD WILDLIFE REFUGE, Washington
Lake River-Columbia River-Lewis River
It's like I turned around and suddenly, out of nowhere, it's June. My life has been one in constant transition over the last six months: adjusting to a new schedule and finding my own inner balance with a new career that is as rewarding as it is demanding. I was just getting my feet under me at my previous job when an opportunity arose that I simply couldn't say no to. I realized the other day that between graduating school, passing my boards and having two jobs in five months, I have been in absolute flux, seemingly in a permanent orientation/adjustment mode, and my sleep and work schedule has been all over the board. I've been more than just a little outside of my comfort zone and wholly focused on work in way I have never been before. Which explains a little of why I've woefully neglected my trail (aka *me*) time.
Although I haven't been hiking since March (god, I cringe to write that), Andy and I have still been trying some new stuff...or, in other words, getting mildly obsessed with kayaking. It's an exploration of our world from a different view that we have been wanting to try for years, so with a little more time on our hands, we've been trying it out. We took a basic skills class from Alder Creek a couple of years ago, but decided to retake it recently with some good friends who are also interesting in seeing the world from a waterway perspective. All in all it was great fun, especially watching me try to Superman solo self-rescue myself back into the boat while the entire class got to look on (solo kayak rescue= not graceful). We've signed up for a three day, full immersion class in July, and will do some renting and social paddles in between. Boats are on the brain. For two self-confessed gear junkies, it's a bad thing to open up an entirely new sport of gear we don't have; I have a feeling the next couple of months are going to be mental gymnastics in self restraint.
We recently took out some boats for a day at the RidgefieldWildlife Refuge, a large area of creeks, lakes and interconnected sloughs north of Portland, off the Columbia River. We traveled up the Lake River near Bachelor Island, explored a wee, downfall-ridden creek, bobbed around like corks in the choppy Columbia and wandered a short ways up the Lewis River. Ospreys lined the waterways in abundance, nests perched high on towering deadfall and the ruins of old pilings. We watched a bald eagle defend its tree from other birds, aerial acrobatics like a fighter jet over the Columbia, winging back low over the water and directly overhead, eyeballing us with a superiority only predatory birds are capable of exhibiting. Fish popped out in front of us, either hunting insects or in surprise of our boats following their trajectory.
It's interesting learning a new activity again...I very much so know what I like with hiking, how to plan trips and looking at trails. But I forget how the first couple of hikes/trips/backpacks were almost complete disasters and that it took time to build to the *skill* (if you can call it that) level I'm at now. Andy and I are just beginning to explore the local paddling community, and we have no idea where to go or what we really like yet. Like snowshoeing, feeling like a bit of newb. However, once again, Portland offers a wealth of opportunity for exploration in the local area- this is Bridgetown (aka rivers everywhere) after all. I love where I live.
|this handicap spot has a Fred Flintstone thing going on :)|
|P&H makes lovely boats (Lake River and Bachelor Island)|
|where the Lake River meets the Columbia, Warrior Rock Light (Sauvie Island) a half-mile across the water|
|the path is thwarted by downfall|
|self-portraits in a kayak are tough to angle correctly|