Sunday, October 17, 2004

Trip Journal -- Day Two

10 Oct. 2004

The morning view from my cabin window -- Miller Island.

So, last night at kayaking orientation, someone asked what we should wear.  The Naturalist/Guide said it would be much warmer once we passed through the Columbia River Gorge (that night) and she just wears a T-shirt and nylon pants.

I go back to my room grumbling -- nobody put "nylon pants" on the gear list.  I got khakis; I got jeans; I got shorts; I got mid-weight fleece; I even got rain pants, for cryin' out--

Rain pants.

Rain pants are nylon.  Rain pants are lightweight when you're not wearing fleece under them.  Rain pants, when you think about it, are the perfect warm weather kayak bottoms.

All hail the rain pants!

"So, how was kayaking?" you wonder.  I gotta say, this company does everything in its power to make the kayaking experience waterproof and idiot-proof.

The waterproof part was nearly a complete success -- between the spray skirt (conveniently covering my lap) and the nifty launching platform (so you enter and exit the kayak from the ship itself), the only stuff of mine that actually got wet was my water bottle holder and fleece jacket -- both of which were tied to the top of the kayak and got a little sprinkled when I missed a stroke.  Hell, my hands didn't even get wet -- courtesy little run-off guards on the paddle.

It's me!  In a kayak!  Photo taken by my partner as we practiced our kayak-parallel-parking skills before our guide led us off for some sightseeing.

The idiot-proofing was also a success.  The kayaks are long and wide -- making for serious stability.  And they also have rudders.  This is great -- none of that turning the kayak with paddling or having one person call out, "left, right, left, left, more left!" -- you just keep on paddling straight ahead while the person in back steers with foot pedals.

I was paired up with a nice total stranger and we easily navigated around Miller Island.  Our Naturalist/guide took us to see some petroglyphs and pictographs on the rocks -- several were hard to spot ("OK, see those two piles of bird turd.  Now, look at the one on the right and go down about 6 feet...")  I should note, at this point, that the crew isn't stuffy at all, and awfully friendly and down-to-earth.

You can't see it too well, but there's a pictograph in this photo.  The red staining near the center of the image is not rust, but faded paint in a circular pattern. There's also a very small "bulls-eye" sun in there. 

My digital camera, which had previously shown an alarming tendency to drink batteries before even ten photographs had been taken, works a heck of a lot better now that I adjusted the screen brightness (actually, turned it off altogether and just getting the screen lit via ambient light).  I shot many more pictures and the batteries are nowhere near dead.

This one is sunrise over Miller Island.  I actually got very few sunrise/sunset shots all trip, so I was pleased to discover this one.

I also took this shot of my journal.  I can't believe I have the penmanship of a third-grader.  No wonder I type all the time. 

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