Slow Boat to Astoria
$275, two and a half days
Practice what you've learned and keep refining your skills by taking trips with coaches. This 2- or 3-day journey is designed to do exactly that.
Day 1 An optional afternoon skill-refreshing warm-up in the scenic passageways of Puget Island, from Slow Boat Farm, 4:00-6:00pm. Edge, maneuver, ask questions, poke out into some wind-waves for a little playtime. Camp at Slow Boat Farm under the moon or choose from local lodging options.
Day 2 Slow Boat Farm to Skamokawa: a 10-mile downriver run with the current from Puget Island past the basalt cliffs of Cathlamet's Lower Gorge to the cottonwood forest of Hunting Island, transitioning to the sitka spruce swamp of Price Island, and ending at Skamokawa's historic steamboat landing. This route gives opportunity to play with currents and eddylines along the cliffs. Train the eye as well to read the landscape and the river and find our way past the islands. Rescue review at the end of the day. Shuttle back to Slow Boat Farm camping.
Day 3 Skamokawa to Astoria: an exciting 19-mile jaunt down the wide open heart of the Great River of the West, and a true test of stamina. Leave the overhanging trees of Skamokawa bend, pass the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge with 35,000 acres of tidal islands. Watch the Astoria bridge climb the horizon into view. Round Tongue Point through swirling currents, and push through the last wind-waves to a well-earned landing in the oldest settlement west of the Rockies.
This day will start early to take advantage of the tides and hope to get in some good distance before the wind comes up. Bring handy snacks, 5 or 6 of them in addition to lunch. On longer trips such as this, bodies perform better with regular fuel. Skill development includes pacing, forward stroke efficiency, awareness and navigation, paddling in wind-waves, and playing with currents along the way. Shuttle back to vehicles in Skamokawa.
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