Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kayaking on the Deschutes River

It was another cold night at Mazama Village! It was 45* inside when I woke up! We didn't have anywhere to be this morning so I didn't even get dressed right away, I made coffee and ate breakfast in my long underwear snuggled in my sleeping bag. After yesterday's experience of it being 10* colder outside vs inside I didn't go out or open the door until I was ready to go see when Mom and Dad were ready to go, and when I did go out I discovered that it was very nice outside! The sun had come up and warmed everything up, except the inside of my RV!

It was about 10 when we rolled out, heading for Bend, or near-ish to Bend as it turns out. I stopped to dump and to get some last pictures of the lake and Wizard Island. The rest of the drive was unremarkable and soon I was in La Pine. La Pine is a small town about 20 miles south of Bend and there was La Pind State Park was in one of the campground books so we decided to see if they had sites, and they did, for tonight only.

The park is nice, but it's not as scenic. It's mostly just pine forest and sand. It was very sunny and warm this afternoon and hiking wasn't appealing. The park is home to Oregon's largest Ponderosa Pine so we had to check that out. It was underwhelming. The Deschutes River flows right through the park and it looked kayak-able so we scouted a good put-in (trail right by our campsite lead to River access) and take out spot (by the big tree) and came back to get the boat ready!

I carried the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak under the bed all last summer and we didn't use it, and I've had it this whole trip and we haven't used it, so it was good to get it out! We inflated it and noticed air escaping from the right gunwale. We secured the valve and figured the problem was solved.

We had to walk about a 1/4 mile down a sandy trail to the water. The river access spot wasn't the best put in - the water looked to be moving fast and it was deep. Dad had decided to bring a rope and tie the boat to a tree and then let it loose when we were in. Turns out the rope was a bigger problem! We both got in easily and then the rope got caught on the tree! We left the rope and came back to get it!

As we paddled along we realized that the current that looked strong from shore, wasn't really that strong. And the scenery was very repetitive. It was nice, but once you'd seen a 1/4 mile of it, you'd seen it all. Also, it appeared that the right gunwale was losing air, but we weren't sure. The boat was definitely listing to that side.

There was a side channel that looped back to the main channel and we paddled down that. It either had no currently or we were paddling upriver, because we were both paddling a hard as we could and getting no where. I guess we'd underestimated how strong the current really was! As we came around the bend heading back to the main channel it looked like it was all grass. It appeared that our side trip was a dead end and we'd have to turn around, or portage. But luckily there was a narrow channel in the grass, just wide enough for a kayak.

Almost as soon as we were out in the main channel again we were at the Big Tree, which was our take out point. We easily got the boat to the shore and hopped out. The water was cold! Not as cold as Crater Lake, but cold! Dad texted Mom to come get us and we hauled the boat up the hill to the parking lot. It was obvious as we walked up that the right gunwale had lost a lot of air. Dad had is kayak straps so rather than deflate the boat in the parking lot we decided to put it on top and bring it back inflated so we could investigate why it was leaking.

After Dad and I both looked at it and determined that it may not be a problem we can fix. It's complicated to explain here. I like having the Sea Eagle, for days like this, but the fact that I never used it last year and we've used it only once this year means that if I can't come up with a fix, I'm probably not going to replace it. Inflatable kayaks aren't cheap. This was one of the cheaper ones. I may have a lot of extra space under the bed...especially because we decided that my custom made leveling blocks are a waste of space because they don't remedy the van being out of level so Dad took them since they are nicer than his blocks and we had a campfire burning his old leveling blocks! So, no big bag with the kayak, no big leveling blocks means all I have is a chair and my bike pump!



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