Continuing on the Columbia river paddle.Map-of-Lake-Roosevelt-National-Recreation-Area .We had spent most the summer paddling and camping along the river banks.
Sometimes the fish jumped all night. At first I thought they were otters, or something else…After many times of being awakened in the dark; with the water splashing and thrashing, me and my little flash light. Peering out in the water, finally realizing it was fish spawning. A couple times we kayaked over these fish and saw them swimming. It was a little creepy.
Sometimes the coyotes would howl all night. It was actually kinda cool. The canyons would echo their tune. Like a symphony of coyotes made just for us. As always at night creatures would scurry and be all noctunal. Occasionally too close for comfort. So once in a while I had to wrestle up my courage and holler at a wild beast. This usually only had me hitting the tent and yelling “go on get”.
One epic day the girls and I were paddling down the river about 20 miles north of Two rivers casino. We were crossing over toward the reservation side. Then the sky started to turn black and grey, all ugly like. The winds picked up considerably, causing the water to be a turmoil. Suddenly there’s white capped waves everywhere. We were in the middle of the river. However, turning back was not an option. The way the waves were breaking was where we were going to end up period. Fighting them would only leave us swamped and washed out.
If you’ve spent much time out in a boat in rough water, you just learn what to do. I remember my dad telling me how to handle rough water…”take em at an angle, don’t hit em dead on ” and “never ever get caught up sideways because you’ll tip”. When my girls were younger we learned this. I also made them tip, self rescue and salvage there canoe, and kick it to shore when it was safe.
Not today! The rain started pouring down. Thunder and lightning, we paddled our hearts out. Finally on shore we got right to setting up camp. One of the girls was having a bad day and we were worrying if she was ok. Eventually and thank God, she came paddling up looking like a drown cat. The storm ran all night. Torrents of rain and loud thunder claps. The lightening made our hair stand on end. My tent blew up and almost away, we had to throw a log on it overnight. We ate our ramen all crouched together in the girls tent.It was a cold terrifying experience, but we were warm and safe that night. Stay tuned for more excerpts of the epic paddle. Get your gear on Cairn