Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Water Under the Bridge

Recently, I was tossing comments with Tryan and he mentioned that someone lived a certain distance down stream from me. This reminded me that I hadn’t been on the river in a while. I got two kayaks about ten years ago, and I used them often, but about five years ago I started a big addition on my house which monopolized my time for about a year. Then two years later I started yet another major addition to the house, and then other things came up… However, I have yet to return to the river.

I’ve seen some wonderful things on every river I’ve been on in this county, but one thing stands out as the coolest unknown feature. I’ve never heard anyone ever speak of it.

First let me state that kayaking on the Columbia River is dangerous. I’ve seen rip tides where I was nearly propelled into pilings or sucked out to sea. There are all sorts of hidden dangers in and on that river. If you attempt to kayak the Columbia be sure to do it during slack tides and know when the tide changes.

This being said, when the tide is out one can take a kayak under the Astoria-Megler bridge. Not just under the bridge, but under the concrete foundation that support the main span. If you paddle out there is a current break in front and behind the concrete structure. The concrete structure is supported under the water by four posts that are on the bottom of the river. What looks like solid concrete from the shore is for lack of a better word, much less in reality. You can float under the concrete structure and once inside there is (if I remember correctly) a pentagon shaped opening that looks straight up to the steel work that holds the span. Once in there you are protected by an eddy from the current break. If you stay there too long the tide will trap you in there.

It is just an amazing place to be to contemplate the river and the bridge. If you ever do this trip, please be careful and don’t do it alone. Be sure to rear a life vest.


Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Wow. That sounds like a photo needs to be made there if it hasn't already. Guy, put that on your list. ;)

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Auntie L said...

Wow, when I was in high school many years ago, steadied by my cohort du jour, I peed off the edge of the bridge right above that very same spot.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

There is just some thing about seeing the landscape from the view of a kayak that just can not be explained. Get your kayaks out guy.

6:21 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lelo, I forgot you were a brige nut. I must get back out there with a camera.

Auntie L, that's just nasty, but I'd probably do the same thing. I'm liking you...

Zoe, this is amazing kayaking country. I've seen eagles catch fish, deer swimming to and from islands, tons of elk, beavers, nutria and otters. Let's not forget sea lions. I've found little back waters that I'm sure few have seen. I find it odd that with all the water out here there are so few who use their boats on the back waters.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

Sounds amazing. You're making me jealous.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous THartill said...


You sound like a professional!

Have you ever went down the L and C into the bay?

8:35 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Zoe, you should put us on your "to visit" list.

Tryan, here's the trips I've done. Up the L&C to tide end, down L&C to the Yacht Club. John Day ramp to Yacht Club. Altoona to Rice Island and around the other island out there. Clatskanie River to the Columbia (in Caltskanie) Clatskanie River in Olney to Youngs Bay. The Necanicum up to Ave U and into the ocean and all around the estuary, the Nehawana from Necanicum up past Ave S. The river where all the boats are in Warrenton to the Yacht Club. The Nehalem around Wheeler, and most of the local lakes. So I've done a few of them. The folks in the River House Condos are always friendly and wave when I pass by. Though I will wait until Auntie L is out of town before I kayak under anything again...

9:08 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

I might just do that.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Auntie L said...

Hey that was 25+ years ago. Also did it on the Astor Column if you must know.

BTW, I would rather die that hang my arse over anything higher than the seat of a toilet at my advanced stage of life. Innocent people might die.

You are safe.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gosh I love being by the water...

10:38 AM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

Heyyyyyyyyyy wait for me Guy....I have to admit I have never been kayaking but I love canoeing and I love being by the water and seeing the sights!!! I'll pick my sis Trish up along the way and you can show 2 of us canuck wimmin around k???

12:21 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Can you be a Canuck not knowing French? I'd love a visit from you and Trish. You, too Zoe.

Auntie L, you lost some points on the Trust-O-Meter, hon. Best work them back up.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Bayou said...

I love to kayak but I think I'd be scared to death to go paddling on the Columbia. I just think of how many shipwrecks have happened there at Astoria and it gives me the creeps.

I had a great paddling adventure down in Taft (Historic area of Lincoln City) a while back and I can't wait to go there again with our own boats. Siletz Bay, I believe. The sea lions were popping up all around our boats and we paddled out to this island that separated the bay from the ocean. Damn, that was incredible. Let me know what other paddling trips down that way you would recommend! :)

3:14 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Bayou, I miss your blog. My favorite trips around here are one-way, having a vehicle at the beginning and at the end of the route. I have a bunch of friends who get in at Clatskanie and camp on an island (I think it is Wild Pig Island) in the Columbia, I've felt uncomfortable on that stretch when I went there between the waves and the ships. The Columbia can be reall great if the tide and wind is just right. There is Willapa Bay in Washington. It's a big bay and trips to camp on Bear Island are suposed to be good, though I've never been there. It all depends on how long you enjou being out and what sort of crafts you have. I have two Kiwi, which are big and flat moulded plastic kayaks. I think I recall seeing a photo of you and or Lach in fiberglass kayaks. Those would be too large to go some of the places I go. Tell me more of your skill or crazy level and I can put a trip together for you if you like.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

We got gifted a canoe and we love it! We take it out to Coffenberry. I was talking to my friend in Riverside county the other day and they have to go on a waiting list to launch because everything is so overcrowded down there. We just go when we feel, plop in and it's beautiful.

11:48 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Coffenberry and Cullaby are nice family floats. I used to canoe back in the day, but since I got kayaks I haven't looked back.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Bayou said...

Guy, you'll be happy to know that my blog is now back in business. I didn't get as many great things done on my time off (as intended) but I needed a break none the less.

As far as the 'yaking goes... we have two 14' Neckys (Santa Cruz). Since I used to be a white water rafting guide, my crazy level is off the charts. But my honey has only one season of paddling under her belt so we have stuck mainly to flatwater until she is more comfy with her skills. We have mostly enjoyed lake paddling and some very quite rivers. I'm so ready to get back on the water!

9:49 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Bayou, if you are planning on coming down south this summer you guys are welcome to stay with us. I can take you out on a couple of two or three hour trips depending upon how much time you care to spend. One trip would be on the Lewis and Clark River past Fort Clatsop, across youngs bay under two draw bridges. Another would be on the Columbia depending on tide and wind. I'd probably have to hustle to keep up with you. Your kayaks can really cut through the water.

10:42 AM  

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