Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Planning Snake River and Upper Columbia River Trip

The day is grey, rain free and the temperature mild. I have already roughed in my tax preparation, so spend the afternoon looking at charts and planning my summer trip.
There is lots to do, think about and prep the boats for their journey up country to Idaho.

My mind drifts back to the Delta, where my buddies Conrad and Juanita begin prepping me for my Columbia River journeys. I have so much to be grateful to them for; all the fun we had in the Delta and for their encouragement for me to truck Shatoosh to explore the Columbia. I, unfortunately, have lost track of them and not a month goes by that they appear in my consciousness, as though they are knowingly watching over me. I would love to make contact with them and share all my adventures with them.

Conrad, carved a sweet replica of Shatoosh which rides atop my depth sounder, and which will lead the way downriver on this next epic adventure I am planning. At that time, 2002, I began making spread sheets, trying to keep track of the 8 locks/dams and the distances between them, where diesel could be obtained, ice could be bought, availability of marinas, and pump out stations.
I've kept them nice and dry in my chart portfolio.
I settle down in my condo loft, laying out all my papers, books and charts on my long art table.
I will begin my trip at the Snake River in Idaho/Washington border. The Snake river has 4 dams/locks which we will traverse. The river is 140 miles long. The Columbia river has 4 dams/locks and is 225 miles from Portland to the mouth of the Snake. A total of 365 miles.
I'm still contemplating and weighing all my transport options: commercial trucking versus renting a trailer and using friends to do the hauling. I will make my decision soon. The other option which I decided long ago not to do, was cruising up and then back down. If it weren't for all the locks and big currents to go through I'd probably do it. One early summer I tried to get Shatoosh from Beacon Rock which is below the Bonneville Dam up to the dam just to check it out and the current stalled me to making 1 knot. I rapidly turned downriver and was clocking 12k.
I've made good headway this afternoon and selected marinas to stay. I'm figuring on 2 weeks to come down river. This will give me some extra time to poke my bow up the John Day River and give Pashmina some exploring time.
At the completion of this journey I will have cruised all the navigable rivers on the West Coast.