Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wilderness time

After yet another plan change once I left town, I did indeed manage to get out kayaking. Turns out Ross Lake is down 100 feet below its normal level (managed to make room for spring runoff), so there's a whole lot of bare gravel surrounding it currently - not the serene experience I was looking for. So off to Lake Chelan...

So it has the occasional motor boat, passenger ferry, and float plane, but pre-Memorial Day, it was actually pretty peaceful. The ranger station was closed for the weekend, so I hand-copied the display board map and set off.

The farther up the lake you go, the windier it gets, apparently, even early in the morning. I did make it within looking distance of Stehekin, at the far end of the 55-mile lake (I started about mile 10), but at that point there were whitecaps and 1-2 foot waves in addition to a pretty strong headwind, so looking seemed sufficient. I turned around and went back to a camping spot.

Not a lot to say or take pictures of on a solo kayak trip - there's water, trees, mountains, and the occasional beached-kayak picture. The last three days were all pretty rough water, and my arms were definitely ready to be done, having let my legs do most of the outdoor work for the last several months. This morning, tired of fighting the wind (a tailwind is actually much more tiring to control the boat in!), I pulled up about ten miles short of my car, walked/hitched to where it was parked and drove back to the kayak.

It was, however, overall great weather - a nice dose of sunshine for those of us who are convinced spring will never actually come to the Northwest. (It snowed briefly as I was coming back over the pass!) Now it's back to work until September...

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