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Advice, Suggestions and General Help New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Is this practical?
  Posted by: old_user on Oct-04-12 1:24 AM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

Hello, my friends and I are planning on making a weekend kayak trip, and want to know if its practical. We are leaving from Corvallis, OR on Friday about 9:30 PM, and want to make it too Portland,OR by Sunday afternoon. We know its gonna be rough, but we think we can make it. Non of us are very experienced kayakers, but we're pretty athletic, and are planning on doing a lot of paddling to make it in time. We're planning on taking sleeping shifts during the night and staying on the water. We're gonna go on land for the waterfall, and walk around it. Do you guys think this is possible? And do you have any advice? Thanks for the help.

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Messages in this Topic

 

  Why?
  Posted by: seadart on Oct-04-12 6:51 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-04-12 6:53 AM EST --

Experienced paddlers could probably go the distance in that amount of time without having to paddle through the night. If you don't know the river, navigation hazards, boat traffic at night on the lower river etc. it's a bad idea to do this at your experience level. Break the trip up into some day paddles and get some experience before trying to do the whole section in one shot. What kayaks will you be using to do this?

 
 
  Not even a little
  Posted by: Celia on Oct-04-12 8:07 AM (EST)
81 miles between the two by road, and the river wiggles enough to add at least another third of that distance.

There are other aspects of your plan that are a very bad idea, like sleeping over on a river that had at least to points of some fairly major boat traffic thru intersections and not being very experienced kayakers, but the distance is a killer before you ever get there.

Why this plan? Just traveling up by car to drop in at various points would still give you plenty of river to see, in daylight.
 
 
  have a solid plan
  Posted by: nickjc on Oct-04-12 2:53 PM (EST)
I've done lots of 40 mile days in a kayak, and 20+ hour days of climbing and various ultra endurance activities and it's not 'fun' by most peoples standard but I get the attraction of seeing what you can do.
Bring back up lights, and fully charged phones, bivy gear and multiple sets of dry clothes,body glide for chafing, super glue and tape for blisters. and LOTs of snickers bars. WEAR your lifejackets as your chances of falling in will rise with low blood sugar and fatigue. Have someone on shore you can check in with and report your position, just so the SAR team knows where to start searching if you go missing.
Google earth say 112 miles in 40 hours minus 10 hours for breaks, it seems doable at 3 miles/hour. I would try and do a few 8-12 hour day trips to get an idea of your average speed over a day and help toughen your hands and dial in your boat fit and other issues that crop up after that long in a boat.
 
 
  Why do people think paddling is easy ?
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-04-12 3:33 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-04-12 3:45 PM EST --

Hopefully you've done ""something"" similar
actually paddling on the water - because -
nothing really compares.

Need more info about background on the water
before I would advise staying home.

Experienced kayaker died near Portland - this year -
in rugged terrain and steep cliffs.
http://bit.ly/DramaWater

There is a slew of rescues, incidents and mishaps
in the Portland area in the past few years.

WHERE are you planning to paddle ?

You have any ICE COLD water experience
- proper gear, training, knowledge, etc ?

MID June the water temps are 40-50 degrees F

by KGW.com Staff
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

PORTLAND - With water temperatures in the
mid 40s to lower 50s in many area rivers
and streams, the National Weather Service
is warning people about safety

 
 
  no need to be flippant
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-04-12 3:51 PM (EST)
He asked what you thought, so clearly, hew didn't think it would be easy. Goodness.
 
 
  Death isn't sugar coated
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-04-12 8:34 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-04-12 8:41 PM EST --

Literally DOZENS of these stories around Portland

http://www.kptv.com/story/19220748/portland-woman-dies-in-rafting-accident

The water is cold and the terrain is rugged
- do the homework along the entire paddle path

I made nothing up, it's in the news reports of death

 
 
  What's the relevance
  Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-04-12 8:48 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-04-12 9:06 PM EST --

People used to say "what's that got to do with the price of rice in China" about the kinds of examples you love to cite when it comes to "proving" danger. Apparently you believe that that because someone died in really rough whitewater on a completely different river, that's proof that this big, slow, meandering flatwater river presents similar danger. Total irrelevance was the case for your earlier warnings too.

How about if we stick to the fact that this trip is just too damned long for most "experts", let alone most beginners. No need to complicate things with details that don't apply.

 
 
  River is decent for year round paddling
  Posted by: seadart on Oct-04-12 9:11 PM (EST)
Actually it's a nice water path for relative flatwater paddling and recommended year round by Oregon State recreation. You just need some more experience and a better idea of what a 100+ mile continuous paddle is like. You are going to be very very very uncomfortable.
 
 
  get yourself some help
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-05-12 4:06 PM (EST)
First, learn ho to read (posts besides your own)

Second, learn to answer an innocent question without being a paranoid flippant jerk.
 
 
  No one likes to see noobs die
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-05-12 7:35 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-05-12 7:36 PM EST --

Innocence and ignorance aren't excuses
that Mother Nature accepts or tolerates

 
 
  And...
  Posted by: abc on Oct-05-12 7:39 PM (EST)
Third, learn to write complete sentence that are longer than 6 word sound bite!
 
 
  Why
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-06-12 10:36 PM (EST)
 
 
  Over-the-top reply
  Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-04-12 4:10 PM (EST)
You mentioned someone dying on the water near cliffs and rugged terrain, so I looked at air photos of the locale and see that the area around this river is as flat as central Illinois. Somehow you thought temperatures in the mid-40s in June, occurring at SOME location nearby, is relevant so I checked water temperatures midway along the route, and they are fluctuating roughly between 55 and 60 in recent days. That's not good for swimming but not colder than I would have expected for this time of year, and not something a near-shore river paddler needs to consider "fatal" in the event of a capsize. Having extra clothes in dry storage and mostly not straying too far from shore would be precaution enough for most people.

Other than that, yeah it's a longer trip than most people with not much experience can do, but certainly not impossible for someone who's strong and highly motivated by the challenge.
 
 
  where i live
  Posted by: radiomix on Oct-05-12 5:40 PM (EST)
Ice freezes at 32.

Ryan L.
 
 
  lots of missing information
  Posted by: willowleaf on Oct-04-12 5:24 PM (EST)
You've had a range of responses, but I would find it hard to respond myself not knowing what your paddling experience has been to date and how you were equipped.

What kind of boats are you planning to use? Rented rec boats and paddles? Touring kayaks that you are already familiar with? That will affect speed and safety a great deal. What kind of gear do you plan on taking as far as clothing and safety equipment? Your comment on "sleeping in shifts on the water" concerns me. Are you in tandems and hoping one person can sleep while the other paddles? Not realistic. Or were you planning to tow each other (even more unrealistic -- this is a difficult thing to do even in short term rescue situations.) Have you ever spent a continuous period of time even just sitting in a kayak? Do you have the flexibility and stamina for this? Just being "athletic" and competent in one or more other sports doesn't mean your could hold up to this one. I have often taken very fit athletes (fitter than myself, in fact) out on daytime kayaking tours in well outfitted boat and had them whining about back pain, sore hands and leg cramps within a few hours or less.

Last of all, why, as novices in the sport, would you be planning a very long and probably exhausting trip that even experienced paddlers might have second thoughts about when you have no idea how fast you can paddle and have never tried paddling in the dark or continuously anywhere? Planning time/distance challenges like this should only be done when you have a realistic concept of the effort involved and know already how you will hold up and what you need to bring.

Maybe you do have good answers to these questions. But I think they need to be laid out before anybody can comment realistically on this planned outing.

Perhaps we are being overly concerned about this expedition. My instinct is that all of you would bail before midnight Friday, haul out and hitchhike back to your cars at the put in.
 
 
  My feeling is
  Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-04-12 6:45 PM (EST)
if you have to ask if its practical then its probably not practical.
 
 
  Exactly! n.m.
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Oct-04-12 7:15 PM (EST)
 
 
  Agree
  Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-04-12 8:28 PM (EST)
In spite of what I said above about the idea that some people might actually succeed at this, it looks like they really haven't paddled enough to know how tough it will be. They probably haven't even paddled enough to experience how a good bit of practice will multiply the distance that can be covered with reasonable effort, and this will go WAY beyond reasonable effort.
 
 
  I have to ask
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Oct-04-12 8:52 PM (EST)
Is this serious? Or just a troll? I hate to call something a troll if the OP is proposing doing something they really intend to do that could result in a disaster, which it sounds like it would. But this really sounds like a novice nightmare.
 
 
  I love Disco
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-05-12 12:19 AM (EST)
Let's hope they dressed for cold nights
http://www.kgw.com/weather
 
 
  Portage
  Posted by: kilifiman on Oct-05-12 12:36 AM (EST)
Have you checked into the feasibility of the portage at Oregon City? It may take way more time than you think. Why not start at Salem and make it a shorter trip? You can do the more challenging trip once you have more experience. Will it be new or full moon? Having done a little night paddling many many years ago, I would not do it again on a river I was not very familiar with - even one as apparently lazy as the Willamette.
 
 
  wrong question
  Posted by: abc on Oct-05-12 10:02 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-05-12 10:03 AM EST --

People don't usually ask if a something is "practical" or not. That's because what's practical for one person is not practical for another.

I know quite a few paddlers who can put in 40 mile during the daylight hours. After all, if you can paddle consistently at 4 mph for 10 hours, that covers it! 4 mph on flat water isn't all that hard to do for strong paddlers with good technique on a fast boat. (I was on a trip where the complain being the group going too slowly at "only" 3 knots!)

So, why complicate matters by paddling at night? If you can maintain 4mph, you get to see the scenery along the bank, and sleep relaxingly when it gets dark. But if you can't maintain that speed, you're better off just take a few lesson & practice some more. And maybe get a faster boat.

I'm a better cyclist than I'm a kayaker. I do 100 miles in about 6-7 hrs and do the same the next day. But every so often, I would see "athletic" newbie on a hybrid spending 12 hrs struggling to finish 100 mile. They insist it's an "achievement" just to prove they "can do it". Well, all it proves is their ignorance. Because with a little training and more appropriate equipment, it's just a casual day!

So, go out and paddle 10 hrs and see how many miles you cover and whether you can get up the next morning and do it again. You don't need to ask, you'll see for yourself whether it's practical or not, for you!

 
 
  very practical suggestion. abc
  Posted by: willowleaf on Oct-05-12 10:26 AM (EST)
I hope they try it (the ten mile trial paddle).
 
 
  better yet, ten hour
  Posted by: jcbikeski on Oct-05-12 11:42 AM (EST)
have some bail out points if it becomes to much and see how ten hours feels during daylight. Then learn what hazards there are along the rest of the route that could be a problem at night. Then do some shorter section with good bail outs at night to be sure. I personally have a policy to not do any land or water wilderness journey without having done the same route by day to understand the hazards.

But otherwise after doing some homework and testing things out a bit it seems like a doable trip at the right time of the year with good conditions.
 
 
  Well, the weather is right
  Posted by: magooch on Oct-05-12 12:56 PM (EST)
If you do go ahead with the plan, let us know how it went--or let us know why you changed your minds.

I have a friend who tried to paddle from Eugene to Portland with his brother in a canoe. They weren't in a big hurry, but they were both experienced paddlers and expected to move right along. They didn't make it. They bailed out at some point and got picked up.

Anyway, there have been a lot of good replies that you should consider very carefully. What you are contemplating is not going to be fun after a few hours. At least the Willamette is a relatively benign river. There is an article in the October 2012 issue of Sea Kayaker magazine that is about paddling the Willamette to Portland. I haven't read it myself yet, but it might be instructive for you.

One thing you should take into serious consideration is food. Paddling can be a real fuel consumer, but it is also somewhat subtle. It can sneak up on you and leave you totally zapped if you don't keep replenishing your tank with the right kind of nourishment. The same goes for water.

Good luck and good paddling.
 
 
  i dont know the river
  Posted by: radiomix on Oct-05-12 12:32 PM (EST)
If the trip is 100 miles, and there is a current of 2 miles per hour you would be able to do it in 20 hours or so. If you don't stop a lot, are in really good paddling shape, and have put the seat time in. Having paddled this distance a few times all at once, its not comfortable. I won't say its not fun, because I keep doing it, but its not comfortable. I have no idea bout this portage or night travel conditions. If there is any concern about river hazards I would probably just travel by day light.

Ryan L.

 
 
  local pdx paddler
  Posted by: phrancis on Oct-05-12 3:31 PM (EST)
I'm a fairly experienced kayaker from the portland area and I have to say your schedule sounds like a bad idea. The waters here are cold enough and low - lots of rocks just under the surface in certain narrow stretches. Paddling at night in unfamiliar waters is a good way of making it on the local evening news.
 
 
  Is it
  Posted by: rnsparky on Oct-05-12 7:49 PM (EST)
Yes, go for it!
 
 
  Does anyone but me think this person
  Posted by: shirlann on Oct-06-12 8:54 AM (EST)
is really serious? There's almost a lack of seriousness, besides their seeming to be a lack of common sense.
I'm just asking.
 
 
  I think it's a troll.
  Posted by: FrankNC on Oct-06-12 10:19 AM (EST)
The original poster has not added any more since the first post; and it definitely seems like the type of question that if asked, the answer should be no.

I've never seen any beginner get in a boat and do 20 mile days. I think the takes about a dozen 25 mile days with some night paddling before someone is ready for 50 to 60 mile days.

Personally my magic number is 15 to 30 miles a day. Less and I wish we could have paddled more. More and it is just drudgery.
 
 
  troll or ignorant
  Posted by: abc on Oct-06-12 8:44 PM (EST)
Could be a troll. If so, it failed. There's not disagreement that it's impractical. End of story.

Or it could be just total ignorant. Now that the OP had realized that, had just abandon the endeaver. But is either too embarassed to come here to admit it, or just disappeared since it's no longer a "project" to persue.
 
 
  When was the last time you did a 30
  Posted by: roanguy on Oct-07-12 5:32 AM (EST)
mile day ?

Guy
 
 
  It's no biggie - with technique
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Oct-07-12 11:37 AM (EST)
Arm paddlers simply can't - small muscle, fatigues fast.
Experienced paddlers can, and will do 30 miles,
in 1 day, several times a month, weather permitting.
 
 
  Wind, current, rain -
  Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-07-12 12:45 PM (EST)
big factors. An 8 - 10 hour day paddling is not my style but certainly there are people that do this sort of thing. But seems like no matter how experienced you are if you've got a hard headwind its going to be a task.
 
 
  Oregon City
  Posted by: rjd9999 on Oct-07-12 3:21 PM (EST)
There are certainly some areas of the Williamette that are not conducive to paddling (especially at night) and I'm not sure you could safely bypass Oregon City, at all. This milltown with its waterfall in the center of the river will, I believe, be only passible through the locks.

There is a photo on google earth of paddlers near the lock gatess, so I guess it's possible, but you aren't going to get there safely by floating aimlessly at night.

There are also lots of floating obstructions on the river at verious points. Bridge abutments (left behind after the bridges were destroyed), logging debris (probably lots of that in the water), and other construction artifacts which may be an issue, depending upon water level.

Not saying that it can't be done, and you probably know the river better than I, but floating aimlessly at night on a river with boat traffic, lots of which is logging traffic, isn't a very attractive proposition to me.

Rick
 

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