Thursday, May 03, 2007


I’ve always lived where there are year round rivers. I don’t think I could stand living in a dry climate where they only ran after a gully washer.

Oddly, the tidal rivers aren’t my favorite. Though they are beautiful to look at and float on; they really aren’t all that user friendly. The problem is the mud on the banks or on the levy makes it nearly impossible to get out of a kayak. Sometimes you can float for miles before you can find a place to get out and stretch your legs.

The Columbia is much more user friendly than the lower Lewis and Clark, Youngs and John Day for kayaking. However putting the kayak aside and going upstream is what I enjoy most about the local rivers.

When I first moved here I had a friend who showed me the Lewis and Clark River from the 200 Line to Bridge 11. I was introduced to several places where few humans have ever gone. There are gorges and places you just cant get to without repelling down.

The local fishermen who visited these areas gave them appropriate names. There was the Goat Hole, named because the ledge that one had to traverse was only suitable for goats. There was the Rope Hole which was another ledge one had to walk and someone had strung a rope along the cliff wall so one would have something to hold on to. Finally there was the Freeze Hole, which was a chasm you had to repel down into. It was so deep that the sun never shone into it. The rocks would freeze during the first cold snap and seem to stay frozen until spring no matter what the weather was like in the rest of the county. This is a place that if something ever happened to you, there is a good chance you would never be found.

So why not fish somewhere easier? It’s because the currents are strong in these chasms and the fish had some good holes where they could rest before going upstream to spawn. It was exciting fishing and watching some of them jump the falls. There were times when I just went there to get away from it all.

I hope to find the time to start visiting the upper river again this year. I get too hunkered down on the farm and I really need to get back to the beauty of the old fishing holes.


Blogger Beth said...

"Hunkered down," "the old fishing holes" - you're reminding me of Huck Finn.
Sounds like something you love - do go back.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Chessman Point said...

though I've lived a lifetime in the county there are a few places I've rarely explored or spent much time-the upper "Lewie" is one of them...I do recall one of our more infrequent beer drinking spots during the highschool years was along a steep, narrow and deep rock walled gorge up there around Crown Camp someplace. Where the river's song was fast, raucous and true as it tumble rushes down through time and memory-pushing and elbowing it's way to tidewater

8:56 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, this place is remarkable. Very different from the geography where you live that was carved by glaciers. I mean no disrespect you your rivers as I have spend a lot of time in your neck of the woods, and fondly miss the beauty you have back there. But this Lewis and Clark River is remarkable.

Chessman, you could be talking about a number of places. There is a several mile stretch where the river runs through rock gorges right up to the deadline of the Warrenton Reservoir dam. Yes folks, this is where Warrenton gets it water. Above the dam the river is flatter and more meandering and less dangerous. It is truly beautiful.

9:41 AM  
Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Oh how I love finding a good swimmin' hole on a cool river on a hot day. The North Fork of the Feather River in Northern California holds a special place in my heart.

1:32 PM  

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