Tualatin River Diaries, Day 2

by Steve, July 29th, 2012

River Mile 11.5 – 13

Tualatin River
Photo by SoulRider.222

Day 2, and we picked up where we left off yesterday: River mile 11.5, where OR Highway 99W crosses the Tualatin River on the south side of Tigard.

We paddled upstream to the edge of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Tualatin River is flows mainly through farm land, but there is some exurban development and a little river-front property. The 4.2 miles we’ve paddled so far is predominately wooded, pretty much like the picture above (not sure exactly where this one was taken).

River travel gives an uncommon view into a world filled not only with all kinds of wildlife and trees and shrubs draped over placid waters, but derelict irrigation pumps, makeshift riprap, wrecked and working docs, decks and gazebos perched high on the river banks, precarious stairways and ladders to the water, and not as much trash as you might expect (thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Tualatin River Keepers).

Our only wildlife close encounter today was an adolescent female mallard, swimming on a collision course with us from 12 o’clock. We stopped paddling, but she kept at us, only veering away at the last minute, intent on her hunt. And a couple of buzzards, who apparently don’t have as much confidence in our seamanship as we do; they always seem to be around when we’re out.

So not as much wildlife today as yesterday, but we did see some colorful human denizens in the water cleaning up a fallen tree to the dulcet tones of Green Day.

Next up: put in at Shamburg Bridge (River mile 16.2) and go downstream to where we left off today.

Tualatin River Diaries, Day 1

by Steve, July 28th, 2012

River mile 9.8 – 11.5

Tualatin River
Photo by Greg Emel

Nancy and I are on a new mission: canoe the safely navigable length of the Tualatin River.

(Special thanks to friend and coworker D, who is letting us test drive his canoe and got us set up with everything. And he taught me a couple crucial knots I shoulda known from being a Cub Scout. Aye aye, cap’n!)

Most of the Tualatin Valley’s population is north of the river’s course, which runs out of the Coast Range near Hagg Lake and meanders through agricultural land and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge south of Suburban Portland’s urban growth boundary. In our neck of the woods, it cuts between Cooper Mountain and Bull Mountain to the northeast and the Chehalem Mountains (Bald Peak) to the southwest, on its way to the Willamette River in West Linn.

Tualatin Riverkeepers, a nonprofit org dedicated to preserving and restoring the river, maps (PDF) about 33 miles of navigable water. This morning we paddled upstream from Cook Park (mile 9.8) the the 99W bridge (mile 11.5) and back.

We saw several happy paddlers in kayaks and one rowboat, as well as two Blue Herons (up close and personal), two Turkey Vultures (a little too close) and a large red-headed woodpecker. To the squirrel N initially mistook for a river otter: sorry for our disappointment, pal. (No pics; need a water-proof camera!)

Next up: 99W upstream into the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Black Butte Ranch

by Steve, July 24th, 2012

Across the woods

by Steve, July 8th, 2012

Across the woods

on a summer walk in a neighborhood forest