Last week nine of us set off for our annual pilgrimage to the river. My Canadian friends Bob and Janet came down from Toronto via another friend’s wedding in Edmonton. Our son in law Chris with his step brother Curtis and Curtis’s friend Sid drove up from California. Silas and his roommate Jake from University,Joe,myself and two dogs,Jera and Major filled in the local contingent.

Janet and Bob arrived Monday afternoon and we managed to idle the rest of the day away by finishing off some Wordstock left over stuff I needed to do,explore a bit of the Pearl district,experience the Rose garden in all it’s colorful,blooming,scent filled glory,and shop at Uwajimaya for dinner supplies for one of the meals on the river trip….thanks to Bob and Janet’s suggestion of making a traditional Japanese version of curry(tasty and simple to boot) after I mentioned I wanted to make a curry for the river but was worried about the shrimp suffering if frozen. We used beef instead and it was delicious I might add..but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tuesday lists were made,checked and rechecked, Silas and Joe joined us for a big shop at Costco,then B & J and I went onto Safeway,the liquor store, and New Season’s to get the rest of the stuff. Chris,Curtis and Sid arrived Tuesday afternoon in Curtis’s pick up truck which was a god send when it came to packing the vehicles with all our gear. Last minute checks of the gear where cleaning was done as needed. A last minute drop off and pick up at Wordstock for me allowed me to come home to find B & J had taken on making salads for dinner to go with our BBQ’d brats. Bless them!

Our first meal together including Sid’s girlfriend Nicole who happened to be from Portland…lucky Sid!

Post meal the boys headed to Powell’s to pick up some much needed reading material to complete their afternoon’s on the river. It was a late night slumber party with Si and Chris sharing a bed that Blake and Ethan normally share while Sid and Curtis took over the living room floor.

Morning came all too blearily…but we managed to get the cars packed and on the road a little after 7 AM. A couple of pit stops later..gas and the traditional Starbucks run in Gresham found us at the Deschutes River Crossing restaurant, in the Warm Springs tribal lands, for breakfast around 9:30 quarter to ten. Managed to make our rendezvous with D.R.A. at the put-in at 11:00 as planned and began the process of unloading the cars,filling our dry bags and coolers with gear and food, then loading and tieing them down on the boats.

Sometime after noon we actually got onto the water and within 300 yards, Janet, not quite used to the ways of a bulky sac of seemingly dead weight floating at will in the water, managed to put the raft into the trees. They got out but it was certainly an auspicious beginning 🙂 Right Janeta?

Thankfully there weren’t any other major Oh Shit moments although Bob did manage to pop Janet out of boat going through Oak Springs on the last day….Janet though is quick on her feet and a strong swimmer having the presence of mind to move herself upriver of the boat and pull herself back into the boat.

We finished the trip with a picnic lunch above White River and then rowed on down to  Sandy Beach for the final landing. A quick unpacking of gear and resorting ourselves got the vehicles loaded up, garbage dumped,dogs in and we were off to see Shears Fall to show Janet and Bob just why we don’t go past Sandy beach! The boys had to hit the road to try to make California by the next morning,Silas and Jake wanted to get back to Portland, so it was up to the four of us to continue the milkshake tradition post river trip. Not that we minded really!

After sugaring up we went back via White River Falls where we stopped to explore the Power plant below. Inside what was left of the turbines were slowly rotting away. We happened to disturb the romantic canoodling of a young couple(by accident of course)so carried on down river to see what we could find. Not Much. Turned around and headed back towards the Power plant to find our canoodlers had conveniently left and we were able to explore more intently the old building which is in a major state of disrepair.
After some exploring and ohhing and awing over the power of the water we checked our clocks and realized it was time to get back on the road back to Portland. Although we had a brief respite on the grassy lawn until another big dog came along and sniffing turned to growling.Let’s go!

Sadly Bob and Janet had to head back to Toronto while Joe and I had to clean ourselves up for another adventure.My cousin’s wedding in Halifax Nova Scotia over the Canada Day Weekend!

Coming off the rhythms of the river always takes a few days to process. You get into a mode of slow and easy despite the intensity of the rushing rapids. Most of our days we spent enjoying the weather and fantastic scenary, counting clouds,reading books,having water fights or watching the boys get soaked,tossing a football between rafts. Curtis did an awesome job at acclimatizing to the kayak even though he had never been in one. Don’t you hate it when those athletes can roll on their first try…sheesh:) Sid put forth a valiant effort but had some trouble with the roll. Everyone else enjoyed the rafts.
We got some great shots of people hurling themselves off the cliff just below Buckskin Mary’s. It had to have been 50 or 60 feet off the wate, of course I could be exaggerating but they all looked great. There is a particularly funny one of Joe going off that looks like he is riding his Hog off the cliff. Harley that is, not porcine!
The novices got their first look at the Bat Cave. Some of them..Janet perhaps..looked like she was ready to hold up a stage coach with her scarf wrapped around her face. Much needed protection against inhaling the nasty bat droppings that fill the bottom of the cave.
We had a great climb up to the top of the basalt cliffs that overlook the river at our first camp site. An incredible bird’s eye view that is a little unnerving when you can see air and sky through some of the crevices at your feet. IE don’t stand too close to the edge…Or don’t look down!
Saw one sunning snake that Jake gave a very wide berth to even though it was as interested in him as he was of it.

So many memories of yet another fine trip on the Deschutes.