June 6th, 2021 – the paddling season has officially begun with the first trip of the “year”.
Many of us have paddled in small groups, mostly usually with no shuttles, but since Covid, it has been few and far between for most of us. Now we can paddle, officially, again. David Westell will be busy filling our calendars for the rest of the paddling year.
Widgeon Creek is our traditional first and last trip of our paddling “season”, and today was the first posted Club trip. And what a great trip it was. We had Ian C, Bob and Carole, Pam and David, and Mike and Leigh explore a whole new world.
Due to increased outdoor activity in place for Covid restrictions, we met at Grant Narrows at 8:30. (One participant responded “Ugh!”). However, the parking lot was about half full by then so it worked out just fine. Ian opted to paddle solo in Leigh’s Outrage, the others were tandem.
There was lots of water – high slack tide as well as lots and lots of runoff. It was a completely different paddle – new channels because the water had crept inland and it was deep enough to paddle behind the normal shoreline. Sandy beaches were lost below water, trees were immersed, logs were buried, and there was so much water, no need to scrape over gravel anywhere.
The takeout at the picnic site was different too. We had no gentle slope into the creek for us to disembark on. Rather, there was a bank and we had to pull the boats up it. Since it was raining, we marched through campers’ tents to underneath the branches of the large fir tree that usually shelters us in bad weather. There is now a picnic table chained under it where we stopped for lunch.
Apparently it was 10:39 when we had lunch – but who’s paying attention. We chatted with campers and had our lunch and decided not to hike to the waterfall. Instead, we decided to paddle downstream to where Widgeon splits into two forks, and explore the right fork of the creek rather than head directly back cross Grant Narrows. Bob and Carole have explored this before so off we went.
As we paddled up the right fork, first thing noticed was the width and depth of the channel. It’s usually not terribly deep, but today it certainly was. It was also over the banks and into the bushes. Although it was flowing downstream, it was quite flat and paddling was easy. As we proceeded upstream though, the channel gradually narrowed and deepened. Ian was working hard to get the little boat up the creek (and yes, he did have a paddle!). The higher we went, the more current we encountered.
Finally, we had to stop our voyage of discovery as there were two logs across a corner turn. There was a gravel bar on river left, so we stopped and looked around for a few minutes. It was lovely. The creek was clear and beautiful, lush greenery and mosses around us, and clean gravel under us.
When we decided to head downstream, the creek pushed us along quickly. It took no time to get to the fork where the creek split, and less time to finish the creek and cross Grant Narrows. It was a good thing too because now it was really raining.
It was wonderful. I’m sorry you missed it…….