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Washington / Idaho / Oregon 2003

Washington / Idaho / Oregon May 2003

Three of us flew to Seattle, hired a truck and drove round in search of water, the Cascades Mountains lie a couple of hours east of the city and there are plenty of rivers to chose from.

This was my first trip abroad with a kayak and the nerves were a jingiling and a jangling, bordering on terrified at times I have to admit.This was the start of my training regime to get ready for the Zambezi later in the year.

We flew out with British Airways, boats go free and we loaded all our boating kit into them, the only hiccup being Jims boat didnt make it to Seattle on our flight, seems it missed the connection when he flew down from Glasgow.We had to hang around half the following day whilst it was Fed Exed via the West Indies.The REI shop kept us entertained though, all the outdoor kit in the world under one roof, excellent.

We only had the one vehicle so we used our thumbs to sort out the shuttles, the longest either TB or myself had to wait was 45 minutes for a ride back upstream.

We paddled, Skykomish, Powerline to Gold bar, Wanatchee, Rodeohole to Cashmere and Pershaton Creek Ingalls Creek to highway 2 before heading over to Idaho in the pouring rain, we paddled the St Jo one day, Tumbledown Run, the section bearing no relation to the guidebook due to the levels.

Jim on Tumbledown 

A days drive saw us in Hood River, Oregon, a hog heaven to the outdoorsy types, loads of good paddling, mountain biking and the Columbia river is a hotspot for kite surfers who make the most of the afternoon wind blowing daily down the river gorge. We paddled a section of the White Salmon, BZ to Husum falls

TB at the get in at BZ

The locals at Hood river outfitters are friendly and will offer advice on rivers and levels.

Jim and I paddled the West Fork of the Hood, Lake Branch to Punch bowl Falls, on a warm sunny day, a river carving its way through the old lava flows from the nearby volcanic Mount Hood, low levels but awesome scenery.We also had a session in Bobs Hole on the Clackamus, a bit more water would have helped to make it more retentive.

 TB rippin it up


Driving back up through Washington saw us searching for a last river of the trip, chatting to a local at a garage whilst we filled up with gas quickly saw him closing up his coffee shop grabbing his kayak and we followed him to the Dosewallips, this guy usually paddled a duckie and told us of trips down this section in massive flood, a bimble down saw us portage past some trees then inspect the one significant drop on the river, I missed my boof and took my beating, my hand was on the spray deck grab loop as I was washed out, I just about stayed in the boat, a relief as it was only 500m from the take out on the last river on the last day.


Jim boofs and supports on the Dosewallips

Arriving home on the Sunday, I sorted my kit out, packed and headed for Briancon in the French Alps the following Friday.