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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:13 am
Posts: 7
We went from Rainier to Skamokawa on the Lower Columbia River recently in three days, with two AIs and a sea kayak. This is not a wilderness trip, but you see an interesting and often peaceful and beautiful world that you might not otherwise experience. Though we were 30 miles from the ocean, the current in the lower Columbia reverses during big flood tides, so we were fighting a two-knot upstream current. Fortunately we had a tailwind and wanted to give Alex a lift in his sea kayak. We find that the AI sails perform better if we can hold the clew down in a light tailwind. This was our solution to towing the kayak and holding down the clews. We covered six or seven miles in this configuration. Image


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:30 am
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Location: Seattle, WA and more times than not, Camano Is, WA USA
Hi Penorman,
It sounds like you had a good time. I'm thinking Alex had some sore arms the following day.
Where about did you launch from? I coudln't find a town 'Rainier' on the Columbia River. Maybe it's too small for the map?
Are there designated camping spots along the river or did you stop when you saw a good spot?
How many miles did you travel?
We have been curious about AI-ing the Columbia and its good to see and hear its being done.
We worked this summer at doing the Puget Sound Water Challenge with our AIs. 3 1/2 weeks we took 6 overnight trips and visited 7 islands in Puget Sound. I'll be posting our trips as soon as I can figure out how to get a good map up to show our tracks.
Thank you for posting your trip. More details would be nice :)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:51 pm 
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A source for info on the lower Columbia is this web site, which includes an interactive map of access points, campsites, and points of interest: http://www.columbiawatertrail.org/

There are a number of access points and campsites that are not shown on this map. Our put-in was at Rainier (Oregon) City Park, which is not on the water trail map, but is a good access point. It is across from Longview, WA.

Another source that is not good for practical trip planning info, and is geared toward power boaters, but has more in depth descriptions of sections of the river, including history, is here: http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/library/docs ... e.pdf?ga=t

Camps along the river are not abundant, but there are some very nice ones. They can get busy with power boaters on summer weekends.

A key consideration is the shipping traffic. Large freighters glide by now and then. They are fast and quiet and you don't want to be in their way, but with a modicum of care they are not a big problem.

This is a big body of water and wind can be a big factor. Hopefully a good factor in an AI. But especially when the wind blows counter to the current it can whip up bigger and steeper waves than you want to deal with in an AI.

I'm far from an expert on the Lower Columbia, having done just two trips on it, but would be glad to try to answer other questions.

We also took our AIs up to Puget Sound (well, San Juan Islands actually) a few times this summer, C Lion. Loved it and hope to return next year.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:30 am
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Location: Seattle, WA and more times than not, Camano Is, WA USA
Penorman,
Thank you for the web sites and good info.
We haven't yet gotten into the San Juan Island area. Going up there on the ferry is really beautiful and I can imagine it being greater yet on the AI.

There is a great current chart mapped out by the Canadians with the San Jaun Is included, 'Current Atlas, Juan de Fuca Strait to/ Strait of Georgia'. You might already know about it. You need it's companion the 'Washburne's Tables' for it to be of help. By using these two booklets, you can find where and how strong the currents are in any given area up in the San Juans, on any given day of the year you want to travel in. An extra safety measure for your travels in that area. You do have to purchase a new W. Table every year, but well worth it. http://www.armchairsailorseattle.com/cuatjudefust.html

Have you ever been AI-ing on the Columbia River while the Shad were running?

Our first real trip in the AI we did last year up into the Broken Group Is. off of Vancouver Is. Another real beautiful place you might want to try.
viewtopic.php?f=70&t=32764

Thanks again for the information, Penorman. Never knew Water Trails traveled beyond WA. :)

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