Kayaking the Siuslaw River

Posted by Jennifer / December 10, 2008

I work for the Convention and Visitors Association in Eugene and our boss offered us a holiday challenge to take on a new Lane County adventure. I’ve had lots of crazy adventures from rafting in Hells Canyon to peering over the Cliffs of Moher to the wild Irish sea 800 feet below. But I sometimes forget about the experiences I can have in my own back yard. I’d been in a canoe, drift boat, pedal boat, river raft, glass bottom boat and sternwheeler among others, but never a kayak so I chose that as my adventure.

I met up with Andy Small of Oregon by Kayak. He runs water from Reedsport on up to Lincoln City and beyond. When I arrived at the dock, the fog broke and it was a gorgeous, perfect fall day in Florence on the Oregon Coast. (Contrary to popular belief, there are actually many sunny days in the fall and winter and you can do outside activities during this time!) After the safety rundown and some tips on kayaking vs. canoeing, we got into the water.

The kayak felt really tippy and I really didn’t want to do any underwater rolling! I practiced near the docks and then we set out on the Siuslaw River. It was very different than canoeing on a lake because I had to fight the current. I tried to learn to kayak-paddle, shallow and way out front, as opposed to canoe-paddle, where you row deep but I was still zig-zagging all over the river. At least the back stroke worked the same.

We went under the Siuslaw River Bridge, over by Glenada Hill and saw cormorant nesting sites. We also saw Great Blue Herons and these black and white ducks that ran on the water, possibly buffleheads.

It was a really fun experience to be on the water. I hadn’t seen Old Town from the river in a very long time – it’s an entirely different perspective. I can imagine how kayaking on a lake or stream would be a blast, too. Can’t wait to go again.

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