800 Miles On the Columbia River:
Downstream & Up-wind, 1999

In the Summer of 1999 I spent 50 days paddling some 800 miles of the Columbia River. The river is 1200+ miles long, so I've a good portion waiting for me someday. The kayak I used for this trip is one I built: A replica of an 1850s Koniagmiut kayak in the Danish National Museum. The paddles used are the double-blade depicted below, and a replica single blade paddle. I can't imagine a better kayak for me to use.This trip was an incredible
experience encompassing very hard times and very good times; really the full spectrum of emotion. My
purpose was to simply see the Columbia River-- where it came from and where it was going.

At the starting off point: Lake Columbia, B.C.
(Jaunty hack with no idea what's in store...)

Source of the Columbia River-- A spring-fed lake. I had to wade through mud
at the North end looking for the river; my kayak ran aground. I eventually
found it, only it was running the wrong way.

First campsite, south end of Lake Windermere.

South of Revelstoke, headed south after crossing Rogers Pass from
Donald Station by truck. I chose to forgo the northern hair-pin loop
that the Columbia makes due to extreme low water (i.e.,massive mucky
shores), and exposed extinct rapids.

Danse Macabre-- the remains of a flooded forest.

Glassy calm north of Fauquier, B.C.

One of three "Cape Horns" on the Columbia River (B.C.)

Sunset at Renata, south end of Lower Arrow Lake, B.C.

The Little Dalles Rapids, South of Northport, Washington.

Desert Sunset with Lake Roosevelt in background.

Hitchhiking around Grand Coulee Dam. That's all of my gear.

Tee-Pee on the Colville Reservation, just below Grand Coulee.

Desert Campsite. I would never leave my boat on a beach overnight, however,
I did pitch my tent there, and was woken up in the middle of the night by
my tent floating up around me. . . . Dam!

5:30 a.m Wake-up call.

Violent winds in narrow canyons-- oddly, they were not travelling up or
down river, but cross-wise: They were spilling over the canyon and
pummeling the water below into mist. I was stuck here for two days. There's
sizeable surf to be had in Eastern Washington.

Canyon Walls, North of Vantage Washington.


White Bluffs along the Hanford Reach.

Campsite in Hover, Washington.

Hover sunset.

Walulla Gap, with Oregon around the corner.

Oregon Landfall.

Scenery along the Washington Shore.

Russian Olives and reeds, Umatilla vicinity, Oregon.

I pulled off the river just West of Umatilla 50 days after starting at Lake
Columbia. I look forward to seeing the rest of the river someday.


Travels & Adventures