Winter Kayaking on the Williamson River

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Winter Kayaking on the Williamson River


Winter Kayaking on the Williamson River

 

Cold and clear again today. We thought we would do something different for our daily dose of exercise so…we went kayaking. The snow isn’t great for skiing and the boats were easily accessible now that we keep them stored under the outdoor office platform. We bundled up and put extra padding on our seats because the frigid temperature of the water, just above freezing, bleeds through the thin plastic shell of the boat.

 

Dawn kayaking in winterLaunching was tricky because there was a three-foot berm of ice along both sides of the river. Because the water depths have risen, then fallen a number of times in the past month due to weather fluctuations, the ice was steeply canted downward, reaching far out into the moving water. We got settled into the kayaks while still on the flat, solid earth, then scoot our way forward onto the ice-slide. With roughly half of the boat on the ice, gravity and slipperiness took hold. It was quite a rush, both figuratively and literally, as we plunged into the green-gray liquid of the Upper Williamson River. Neither of us tipped over during the launch and the rest of the journey downriver was sublime. The sun kept our faces and hands warm while the myriad ice sculptures sprouting from reeds, willows and grasses along the banks turned it into a trip through Mother Nature’s art gallery. Of course every time we came to a section of the river where large, steep ice slides had built up along the shoreline, Bob couldn’t resist “surfing” them. He would power up his speed and steer at an angle that thrust him high onto the frozen slope. Then, by leaning his body weight and using his paddle to “brace” off the ice, he could tail-slide into a 180 degree turn and lunge back into the water. I tried the maneuver a few times but it seemed a bit sketchy and the small thrill wasn’t worth the potential of ending up out of my boat and in the chilly river.Dawn launching kayak

 

We got our aerobics in during the 30-minute paddle back up the river. Getting out of the kayaks was far harder than the launch because we couldn’t get back up the steep, icy banks and resorted to sidling alongside the dock and wriggling out of the boats and onto it, while keep the kayaks from floating off downstream without a captain. With the remains of the day we topped off bird feeders and finished all our chores so we can head back to Bend early tomorrow morning.

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