-5 journals of a summer trip through WA, OR, and CA in 2010-
– Black River –
There is a “dream river” only a 3 hour drive from our home in Washington. The ultimate canoe paddle river. We found it 20 years ago before we even came to settle here. And it’s still there, unchanged, almost completely unknown. The Black River south-west of Olympia draining into the Chehalis, which, by the way, is also a fantastic paddle river.
It is like a bayou river of Georgia or Florida transplanted to the Pacific Northwest. Very low current, lily pads, almost impenetrable vegetation along the banks, fantastic wildlife.
A long stretch of it is a protected wildlife refuge, and pretty much all of it is almost entirely pristine. On three trips so far, we never saw another boat (motors are prohibited). There are only two or three very primitive accesses to the river. You very rarely see houses or any other man-made object.
Our good old Craig’s-List Canoe was perfect this time.
The upper reaches are almost still like a lake. Further down Blackie flows gently and is full of water vegetation.
Entengrütze is what we call this in German. I don’t know an English term for it.
Watercress. You can actually eat it; it’s very good in later summer.
You never know what’s around the next bend. However, having explored this jewel of a river now several times, We know there are no dangers what so ever. No rapids, no dams, just a peaceful, unbelievably gentle little river.
Especially in late summer you may get a bit stuck in the floating vegetation sometimes. But it’s never a problem.
Forget-me-not growing right in the river.
For a lunch break we just jam into a field of forget-me-not.
Later it just floats all back into place, leaving no trace.
There is even a bit of more lively current in some places.
But mostly it’s like paddling on a mirror.
Trees give shade if you want it.
Dreaming the day away on this lazy river.
This last time, on our return trip, it was a first real long summer day.
We got off the river just when the sun set.
< By the way, we usually take out 5 miles down the Chehalis >
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– The end –
Klaus End of June 2010