Tag Archives: SUP

Orcas Island

 

I felt on the brink of magic. I was, Orcas island was next. Still, Anacortes is beautiful; you can walk on the beach or a boardwalk path if you have time before your ferry pulls in.

 

Anacortes is the place to drive onto ferries that go to Canada and the San Juan islands.

 

The original people of the San Juan islands were Samish. For more about them, go here:

https://www.samishtribe.nsn.us/

If you had been among these tribes, you might have spoken Samish, Semiahmoo, Lummi, Sannich, Songish, or Sooke. They had a good life. Then non-natives showed up and wiped them out with diseases.

A huge cannery was built in the late 1800s, where the ferry station is now.

Canneries were a big deal at the turn of the century to preserve meat. By the 1930s, refrigeration put many canneries out of business.

This is a little beach off Eastsound, in Orcas.

I got sick in Orcas, so spent 36 hours in bed. It kind of killed the adventures and stories. I listened to sounds from the room.

1. Men doing business calls from the balcony.

2. Kids screaming or laughing.

3. Housekeepers chattering and vacumming.

4. One Kingfisher shouting.

5. Dogs barking.

6. Unknown noise. I finally settled on 2 monsters gargling.

I stayed at Rosario resort. This is a short drive from Eastsound, a good spot for food and shopping. Robert Moran built his dream home on this land, and named it Rosario. Moran, based in Seattle, made a fortune building battleships. His mansion is the most elegant and strongest residence I’ve ever seen. Moran had humble beginnings, and as a young man was influenced by John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Though highly driven, he had a soft spot for nature, not just for the wealthy, but for everyone.

For more history go here:

http://rosarioresort.com/museum/

I highly recommend the show by Christopher Peacock, which is free. He plays the original huge pipe organ and tells juicy* historical stories, in between showing gorgeous vintage slides of the island and Seattle. It’s a one-of-a-kind show.

* {the wife of the second owner of Rosario would drive into town on a motorcycle to play poker. She often didn’t bother to get dressed, just went in her red nightgown}.

The reason we can all trot around so much of Orcas is because Moran donated thousands of acres. This was so unusual at the time that the state didn’t know how to accept the donation, so he went to work with the paperwork and procedural process to make it happen.

Cascade lake

Right above Rosario is Moran state park. Two lakes are within it: Cascade lake and mountain lake. Both are great for swimming or paddling or walking around. Don’t miss Mt. Constitution. Incredible views of all the islands below.

From a distance, it looks like the ferries eat cars then spit them out. Too soon it was time to take the ferry home.

The view from the front.

The tide was out when I got up early to paddleboard Eastsound before leaving. I didn’t feel like mucking thru 70 yards of thick gooey sand.

That means I have to go back, which I look forward to!

 

 

Random note- this was my theme song- just stuck in my head during the trip!

 

The Maiden Voyage

“You ate your dessert first!” She said, stating the obvious as the fudge brownie was already half gone.

“Yes. I do that,” said I. The sandwiches were taking forever. I have little self control.

We were having lunch at the Metropol to celebrate the first paddle of the new kayak. Mariann, my friend and paddle partner for the day, was pretty stoked about her new sit-on-top inflatable kayak.


Mariann wanted a clean run-through, to go through all systems, work out kinks, sync with the kayak and water elements. She is a Virgo. So am I. We understand each other. Yet, are quite different.

Her: “I need to attach my leash for my paddle.”

Me: “You will not lose your paddle in this reservoir. Let the fussing begin. No worries, I will practice my breathing exercises!”

Her: “Your commentary will not be helpful.”

Me: “Ok, understood. This is gonna be great!”

She: “Do you know what this is? It is the maiden voyage!”

A woman stopped to talk with us about the pros and cons of the paddle board vs. the kayak. We gave her feedback.
She: “I like to have a place to sit, to be, defined and with back support.” Me: “I like the freedom of movement, unrestricted, free form.”
She: “That pretty much sums up our personalities.”

We carry our watercraft toward the ramp.
She: “What if I have a panic attack?”
Me: “Do you have panic attacks?”
She: “No. But what if I did?”

We hit the water at the perfect time. Soft gentle motion on top, no wind. Ideal.

After a couple minutes on the water, Mariann smiled. “You have to be like when you’re on a plane and you are just there in that place and not worried about what’s above and below.”

“I like it!”

This is fun!
Going under a bridge for the first time

The weather changed. The wind came up and the water got tossy. We were getting pushed around. After being blown downstream, we decided to turn around. She made good time, got ahead of me. When I caught up she said, “I got a tad panicky. There were white caps!”

We made it back and explored a little more- I wanted to go under the bridge and into a protected canal.

She: “You’re going to make me go under a bridge?”
Me: “Yes.”
She: “You are pushing my limits!”
Me: “Someone needs to.”
She: “Yes, but most don’t.”

The reedy canal was peaceful. I pointed out a red-wing blackbird. Mariann said, “oh yes, I’ve seen those in the store- you squeeze them and they make that sound!”

The ease of the inflatable watercraft loading
I like to be close to the water to listen to it and smell it

It was the perfect maiden voyage. The weather was good and not good, which made for excellent practice. We had most of the lake completely to ourselves. We talked about how lucky we are to live here and take part in the nearby nature as often as possible.

I helped her with boating, as she helped me with Nordic skiing this past winter. Both things made us smile and be happy and grateful!

Stand-up paddle the urban Willamette

Sellwood bridge, just south of the launch site

I pushed off at Sellwood Riverfront park. The plan? Paddle the board toward the city. I wouldn’t make it all the way, but the journey looked good. I parked on a street nearly under Sellwood bridge and headed toward what I thought was a boat launch. It seemed that it had been one a long time ago. As I approached, I saw a vague hazard sign. It didn’t explain much and there was no fence. I couldn’t see anything scary, so I went in. After launching, I looked back over my shoulder to see a warning sign about a cable and 11,000 voltage! I paddled much faster. Note to self: don’t exit this way.

Between Sellwood and downtown Portland

Going north toward town was a push against current and wind. The water was a little choppy, not too bad, no white caps. I dropped to my knees a few times when I came upon cross currents, water stitches, surges, and bucks. I absolutely did not want to fall in. Too cold. This was more of a workout paddle, not a cruise. I really wanted to get a good view of the city and the first bridge, so I didn’t take the side route through calmer water that diverts east, just off the yacht club.

Also on the east side, just before the yacht club, is Oaks Park. Sounds of people screaming on the roller coaster bounce out and off the water.

I was glad to not have my chihuahua mix hood ornament dog with me. She would have hated the water splashing across the front of the board.

After close to an hour of paddling, I pulled into a small gathering of snags in the middle of the river. A perfect rest area and a place to sit down and take a few pictures of the still far away city. I noticed a small board held between roots and branches. I plucked it out- my next sign! It was imperfect in perfect ways- part lumber, part river wood. It had aged and ripened in the river.

From the river: Holy. Sacred, divine, blessed, nature.

The only other boaters out were people fishing and kayaks. I like to throw a friendly wave and hope that doesn’t cause me to pitch off my board.

Evening on the water- almost out

It was getting late or I might have pushed it farther. I needed to get off the water before dark, and that meant I needed to turn around. Two hours of solid paddling is enough anyway. Coming back was faster with the wind and current; however, the river still had surprises in movement. For example at random times, there would be drops and surges, or it felt like the board was goosed and pushed me forward toward the nose. No idea what that was but it made me laugh.

The way out? Just take the stairs. Right before the last dock prior to Sellwood bridge, dart left, and there are two different sets of steps leading out of the water. Incredibly civilized. Sort of like Venice, only concrete rather than marble. Close enough to make for a magical water outing.

Easy access to Riverfront park

 

I never get tired of water

Water is a great mood stabilizer. Even a bath or shower improves the attitude. I like to hop on my stand-up paddle board (SUP) and glide just on top of it.

dorena 1

I drove to Dorena reservoir, Harm’s park, and unloaded easily. There were only three people there, swimming at the boat ramp, ignoring the no swimming sign. This park is no frills compared to Baker Bay across the lake, which has an entry fee. It also has a swimmers’ area, campground, and more picnic areas.  It was a very warm evening, 84, so it made sense to go paddling. I made a quick picnic dinner and strapped it on the front of the board. I wanted to eat off-shore. I slipped on my water shoes to protect against the rocks and potential broken glass. I love to push off silently and get that instant water connection, completely shedding the land underneath me.

vintage dorena

The wind was calm, only some movement brushed the water. This was about 5:00 p.m. The air smells good coming off the water. It’s quiet. You can hear bird sounds. Some traffic, but not that much around the lake. There was one other boat and they were fishing so not making noise or a wake. I stopped for dinner in a slightly protected no wind area.

lake meal

This semi-protected little cove was the perfect place to munch on a casual meal of lentils,  raw yellow pepper, mozzarella, and a splash of olive oil. Everything fits easily in my trusty dry bag that snaps onto the bungee cords that are attached to the front of my SUP.

I wonder why I seek water. Why does it feel both soothing and invigorating to me? It must be the exchange of ions. This theory popped into my head. It sounded so true! But was it? I don’t know. I looked up ions on wikipedia. Yes, water did seem an important part of the transfer of chemical compounds and sea water is mentioned a lot because of the salt. But then it became too much to digest and interpret for this blog. This blog is more about spirit rather than scientific explanations.

Speaking for myself, I feel an exchange of molecules in and around the water and the air and the surrounding trees. Even the rocks and sticks, of which there are many, play along. I absorb and breath it into my pores.

It is incredible to be alone on the water, paddling along, choosing my path, noticing the light, sky, water, wind and surrounding hills that look very old. Yet, they are not ancient really, they are totally current, responding to each other every minute.

While among this, as a guest in the midst of it, I feel within and among the source. After our visit, I go back to life refreshed. I have exchanged energy with what feels like the vibrant base of life.

What’s your element? Visit it often. Make time for what feeds your source.