A Kayak Moment

Just Enough Rain

In this part of Oregon, it’s not unusual to experience weather systems that bring days of heavy rain. Most Januarys, waters flow through our Tualatin River watershed systems without incident. But… every now and then… we have enough elevated water to hit some level on the flood scale.

When that happens, I’m two things:

  • cautious because our home is at the edge of the Glencoe Swale flood plain,
  • excited because it means a chance to launch a kayak explore right off our driveway.
My husband is wonderful at getting the launch ready… and then I’m on my own.

As marked by the orange ribbon, we have had much higher water in the past. This paddle is just on the edge of having enough depth. I wasn’t certain how navigable this paddle would be. It was fun to find out.

My paddle got underway by going upstream to investigate a wide corridor that runs between Glencoe High School on the far side and a wooded area on our side.

I wasn’t surprised when the water became too shallow. I could get no further without getting stuck.

No worries… that meant time to investigate the riparian edges. First, along the forested side. It was interesting to paddle among Douglas Firs that failed to keep a gripe in the forest and fell into the wetlands to become valuable woody debris.

Woven along the way are branches crafted into place by beaver activity. I spent a relaxing time “parked” near a streamlet of water that gurgled over structures built by this industrious critter. (click on gallery for carousel viewer)

Across the water, is Glencoe High School.

I decided to paddle downstream and cross over to the opposite side for a look around.

I found beaver activity here as well. With all this construction evidence, wouldn’t you think there would be ample opportunity to capture a beaver portrait? Historically, I’ve had very poor luck with that! The beavers work at night. They are quick to cannon ball and tail slap- the tease to let their presence be known. But photo ops? I’ve had very few over the years we’ve been neighbors.

Can you guess by looking at the following clues how land in this area was used prior to suburban development?

If you guessed farming, you were correct. The next photos were taken on a flooded area where a farm pond will be apparent when the flood waters recede.

I noted that the water level had gone done a fair amount in the short time I’d been out on the kayak. It was time to head for home. The last collection of photos are taken floating over our “front yard.” Before heading back, I was attracted to the top of a tree that fell perpendicular to our driveway a few years ago. I saw that the beaver has once again gone to work salvaging branches. After accessing the end of the tree we can’t normally reach, I headed back to the house.

My timing was perfect… another half hour on the water and I’m sure I would have been stuck. I was much happier to paddle home than to walk home hefting a kayak! My launch team was happy (relieved) to see me return 🙂

Not much left in the way of high water… I’m already looking forward to next time.