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The Gearboat Chronicles

Salmon, Snake, Wallowa and Grande Ronde river trips underway

Is there a river around here we’re not running right now? Because if it’s water, and it winds, Winding Waters is on that thing.

Pittsburgh Landing boatramp. That looks like a Skittles commercial.
If Skittles were made out of rafts, or…it’s a lot of colors, is what I mean.

We’ve got Hells Canyon trips out. We’ve got Salmon expeditions going and coming. Fishing guide Tom Farnum is catching trout on the Wallowa River as we speak. And that grandest of rondes is home to our day trips.

Swan? Ugly duck? Cumulo-nimbusy puffy poultry cloud?

Had a fun day-trip jaunt down the Grande Ronde the other day with a group of kiddos, who spotted this cloud you see here above. It started out as a dragon, then shifted to what you see here. We never did decide exactly what kind of bird it was because it kept moving around on us.

I’d forgotten what a fine pastime cloud watching is.

Gearboatman extraordinaire Patrick Baird traded his 20-foot cargo monster for a wee, tiny kayak and paddled along with us, practicing his roll. He’s off this week for a conference to do with the Ford Foundation scholarship he and a few other classmates earned before heading off to college. He can row a boat *and* get good grades? Kids these days.

Here’s what a boat full of rafters who have just shoved off on a 4-day Salmon River trip look like, from an aerial view looking down from the road to Pine Bar boatramp. That’s Captain Morgan Jenkins there, waving from the control room of the paddle boat.

The archaeological dig is underway again on the Pine Bar road and is worth stopping into if you get over that way.

And I stumbled on a camera setting I wasn’t aware was an option — the ‘blurry but still kind of cool-looking somehow’ function. Used here to capture an image of Todd Kruger in the midst of herding gear before a trip.

If you ever need help organizing stuff, Todd possesses superpowers in that field and can create orderly calm from piles of random chaos. And he uses pulleys and rope in the process, which is cooler than just boxes and organizer bins.

So I’m off for the Salmon tomorrow with Paul and Craig Nichols for four days down there on the Salmon. One thing I’m looking forward to is swimming in that clear water with my eyes open. Last year Gareth Tabor, a heckuva musician and someone steady with a laser, fixed my eyes for me so I’m free of sandy chunks behind my contact lenses. It’s a simple enough thing, being able to open your eyes underwater….but if you haven’t been able to do it for years, it’s really really great.