The season is again upon us when wooden boat nerds converge on the McKenzie River in Oregon to partake in ogling and rowing these beautiful craft. The drive for Lea and i started Wednesday morning in the sun along the Hood Canal. The weather did not hold, no sooner than we passed Skokomish the sky opened up and never stopped for the rest of the drive.
My spirit was lifted with the knowledge that pouring rain was going to bring the waterlevel up. Cruising over the Colombia River and into Portland is always a milestone heading south.
Pulling into a very soggy McKenzie Bridge campground i was super stoked to get camp set up. No one likes sitting around in the rain.
I am a practicing Tarpologist. As a Tarpologist i worship well set up tarps, rainflys, awnings, and other rope or line supported shelters. Tarpology is a strange religion. I started practicing living with my friends Josh and Brian in West (or wet) by god Virginia. I feel like our tarp on this trip really lived up to the high standards we preached to our students back then.
As the sun was fading the river was rising, the roar of the camp stoves and the water made dinner a welcome relief.
As you can see from the gauge when we arrived on the night of the 23rd the river was lowish and by the time the next picture was taken it was going up, quickly. Due to the still pouring rain and her work schedule Lea decided to sit out Thursday's boating fun. So the IRH and i putting on all by our lonesomes.
Eddys were sparse or poorly placed in the trees along the bank. It was keep er' in the middle and avoid the rocks and surprisingly big holes.
After finishing with the days boating Lea and i decided to check out some of the local hot springs.
This one was washed out by the high water making for a lukewarm pool that was not appetizing in pounding rain. Instead we headed to the pool at Belknap Lodge just down the road.
Following our soak it was time for another dinner serenaded by the rain. Never let damp weather make you give up good eats. (another tenant of Tarpology)
dawned just as wet as Thursday. The weather liars did claim that there could be, would be, some sunshine, somewhere. Lea and i decided to get Flo out on the water and float from the Olalli Boat Ramp to Fin Rock. This would include some class three rapids between Olalli and Frissell.
Flo looked great sitting on the ramp as we got our gear together for the run. The Plan was to put in and row down to McKenzie Bridge boat ramp where our friends Ben and Andrew would be waiting to join us in kayaks. So away we went.
The upper section is fantastic, busy but fantastic. Flo did great even though shes a little slower than i would like, or perhaps i'm a little slower than she would like. In any event we had a great run down to McKenzie Bridge save for a less than graceful line i had at Fish Ladder. I'll just say that there is a rock in the center about half way down with a little of my pride on it.
One thing i love about the McKenzie is the color of the water. Even with this high water event the color is spectacular, steel gray to vibrant blue green.
After the fun on the upper river we joined up with the boys in kayaks and headed down to Fin Rock.
The sun even made an appearance although in ten minutes it was raining again, still good to know its there.
Once the rain really got going again the pictures stopped and Friday passed with another trip to the hot springs and dinner out.
Stay tuned for Part 2,