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Waldo Lake?

September 17th, 2013 by

Hi!

Patti and I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting the Kayaksailor project.   Your kindness and friendship is wonderful.  We have been super busy building sail rigs, answering e-mails, and of course paddle-sailing as often as possible!  Its been an amazing year.

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Our work shop in full summer mode

Patti at the Kayaksailor control center

Patti at the Kayaksailor control center

 

One of the great things about kayak-sailing is taking our boats to interesting places.  Just the other day we took a wonderful kayak-sailing/ camping trip to Waldo lake Wilderness Area.

waldo lake map

“A “is home (Hood River) “B” is Waldo Lake

Where in the world is Waldo Lake you say?

This gem is nestled high in the Cascade mountains of south central Oregon, about a two hour drive south-east of Eugene and about four and a half hours south of  Hood River.  314km (195mi)

Waldo is the second largest lake in Oregon with 25.9km of surface area (about 10mi).  It’s not huge by any means, but it’s pretty special, partly because  it’s said to be one of the clearest lakes in the world with underwater visibility as much as 37 meters (120′) on a clear day.  Apparently, it holds the world’s record for lake visibility at, 47.9m (157′).  The reason for the clarity is that the dissolved nutrient levels are extremely low, due to a lack of significant inlet streams.

Considered an alpine lake, Waldo is about 1.76km (5800′) above sea level.  Most say that the best time to go is in the late summer or early autumn, when the cooler air temperatures subdue the pesky mosquito population.

Thankfully, authorities banned the use of gasoline outboards on the lake, so it has become something of a west coast paddlers mecca.   And, since we had never been there, it was high on our to-do list!

After discussing the adventure with our friends Dan and Deb, we all decided to hit the road for an extended weekend.  P1020526

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The drive there became unusual when this amazing thunder/hail storm  passed over the Cascades just as we entered Redmond and shook our little pickup truck like a child’s toy.

Oregon storms can be  strong!

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Outside Redmond we stopped to refuel.  Parked next to us was this  huge monster vehicle.  Oregon is such a crazy place.  It’s filled with so many naturalists who enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors, and others who just thrive on noise and mayhem.  Welcome to the the wild west!   Wonder what this thing would look like with kayaks strapped to the roof?!

The skies began to clear up a bit as we left the town of Bend and the remainder of the drive was quite pleasant.

P1020551We arrived at the lake, met Dan and Deb, and chose a camp site.    As luck would have it, the clouds returned and we ended up pitching the tent in the rain 🙁   Thankfully, Patti fired up the propane stove and cooked us a delicious hot meal. 🙂  Yum!

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Nearly every tree surrounding the lake is covered with a hairy lichen (Bryoria Capillaris) which gives them a somewhat eerie appearance, especially in the late evening.  During the day however, the forest takes on a more whimsical appearance, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.P1020562

 

Charlee-girl came along and was in dog heaven sniffing for chipmunks.  Not to worry, she’s too old and slow to bother them much.

 

Sunny skies and a light southwest breeze greeted us the next morning.   After breakfast, we headed out to explore the lake!  Even with the cloud cover, the water reflected the characteristic blue hue normally reserved for open oceans.P1020573P1060789

 

Even though it was only blowing about five knots, we were able to traverse the large northern section of the lake with ease.  Dan and Deb decided to paddle the shoreline, while Patti and I ventured out into the deeper water where the wind was a little stronger.

 

In  certain sections, the lake’s depth  it’s over 122 meters (400′).  That’s pretty deep! even for coastal standards.

P1060817Back at camp Dan showed us his cool little wood cooking stove that he made from recycled tin cans.  It is very efficient and fun to stoke.  It will boil a pot of water quickly, and you can even roast marshmallows over it after supper!

The next morning brought picture postcard skies and amazing glass calm conditions.  The absence of sound and clarity of the water, as well as the sheer beauty of the day made for a spectacular paddling experience.  Some days are just perfect for paddling.  Please take a moment to click on the photos below to see the enlarged images.  It was truly amazing!P1020658

There were times when the reflected clouds seemed more real than the ones in the sky.  The enveloping silence was complete.  Our boats glided over the surface of the water and our hearts were lifted.

 

We wish you were here to share the experience with us.  Is that a postcard cliche?

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The water clarity is all that we expected, and more.  Shadows from our boats on the lake bottom could easily be seen many meters down and at times gave us all the odd sensation of floating in air.

 

It was fun to look down P1060833in the depths, wave, and see our shadow   waving back.

It seemed odd that we didn’t see a single fish.  They say the lack of nutrients in the water severely limits all aquatic life, but I thought we would have  seen at least a minnow.

At the the far south end of the lake we all stopped to rest on this beautiful little beach.   Dan and Deb cooked lunch over their wood stove, while Patti and I stretched our legs and explored a bit of the shoreline.P1020722

Gazing out over the lake, it struck me how few people there were out enjoying the water.  I mean, here it is, a gorgeous summer weekend, the weather’s perfect, and there’s nobody in sight.  What a treat!

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P1020750 After lunch, as we kicked back, a gentle south wind began to blow.  It seemed to be whispering to us: come out and play!  Answering the call, we returned to the boats, and headed back across the lake.

Patti and I sailed across a sea of perfect azure blue.  Actually, she glided faster than I did.  Intermittent paddle strokes were needed to keep up with her.  Her slender skin-boat, with it’s reduced wetted surface area, slips through the water easier than my “fat” plastic kayak.  Did I just say fat?  I meant “big boned”.  It would have been nice to have had the 1.6m², but I forgot to bring it.  Oh well. I guess I’ll take the back seat this time.

These are some pics from the trip back.

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I’m trying to catch up to her.

Hmm… She’s moving fast!

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Finally I’m able to paddle beneath her to get into some clean air.  But I felt lazy and didn’t  stay there for long.

 

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I think Patti likes sailing faster than me.

 

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The breeze eased up a bit as we approached shore.

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What a day!

 

 

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At night we gazed up at the sky and watched for shooting stars.  Then we crawled into our sleeping bags and let sleep overcome us.

 

 

 

We packed up and drove across the high desert prairie in the morning.  All the way back to HoodP1020862 River.

 

The contrast of the mountain moisture to the dry desert is striking.   It’s a beautiful drive.

 

 

 

 

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Fair winds and happy sailing!

 

 

Please feel free to leave a comment!

 

Camping in the Northern Cascades

August 31st, 2011 by

Recently, our friends Debbie and Keith twisted our arms and dragged us out of the loft to do some camping.  We took our sails and boats and headed up to a beautiful mountain lake in the Cascade range of Washington State named Lake Wenachee.  It’s been so incredibly windy on the Columbia River lately that we thought it would be a good opportunity to get away, test our prototype headsail,  and enjoy the company of friends.       These are some photos from the trip.  Hope you enjoy.

 

We took our folding Pakboats, strapped them up to the racks, and started driving.

 


We traversed through the beautiful, hot, high desert prairie of of Eastern Washington State’s Yakima Valley before entering back into the cool Cascades.

 

 

Keith and Debbie, who arrived a day early, found a fabulous  waterfront campsite complete with a small beach for the boats!

As our luck would have it,  a frontal system pushed in from the Pacific and brought some moisture.

 


A surreal procession  of cottony clouds caressed the mountain sides and reflected their beauty on the lake.

It’s mesmerizing and peaceful the way our thoughts seem to melt into the water.

 

It is really important to dress for the water temperature. This lake is crystal clear and very cold.   We suited up and set out to explore the lake.

We  popped up the sails every now and again when a breeze was felt, but mostly  propelled ourselves by paddle.

 

Isn’t it funny how the farther away from civilization we get, the nicer the scenery.  Hmmm…    Maybe there is something to reflect on here.

 

It sure is nice to paddle on glassy water.  After sailing in the extreme winds of the Gorge, the silence of stillness is wonderful and a little odd at the same time.

 

 

 

What a beautiful afternoon for a sail.

 

 

Back at the camp Charlee Girl and Debbie communicate with each other in a special way .

 

 

 

 

A small boat on a lake
allows us to take
a break from the push and the shove…
Sails filled with wind
and the company of friends
take us to places we love.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun!

August 3rd, 2010 by

On Sunday we paddle-sailed nine miles down wind on the Columbia from Viento State Park to Hood River. Here is a short video. We are both using a Pakboats XT-15 with a reefed 1.4. Lots of super fun swell rides! I need to work on some sort of helmet camera mount, so I can paddle into the swells and film at the same time. Enjoy the ride.

Fun in Portland

July 30th, 2010 by

The Next Adventure Demo day in Portland was lots of fun. One of the things that we really like about the Kayaksailor is that it seems to be a magnet for cool people. If you are in Portland, stop by the shop and see the rigs.

Kayak-Sailing in British Columbia

July 24th, 2010 by

Patti and I recently returned home from a trip to coastal British Columbia.
Let me just say that this is a beautiful part of the world, snow -capped mountain peaks, terrific wind and endless opportunities to paddle-sail. We brought our Necky Eskia and our new Pakboat XT-15 along for the ride. After crossing the border, we headed north toward Squamish, a town situated at the end of scenic Howe Sound.
It’s a windy place in the summer and a popular destination for windsurfers, kite- boarders and sailboat cruisers looking for excitement. We found it similar to our home town of Hood River in this respect.
The paddle-sailing in Howe sound was wonderful. Glacial runoff gives the water a blue-green tint. It kind of reminded me of the water color in the Florida Keys after a strong wind has stirred up the coral sediments. The tide and the wind were in the same direction causing us to paddle sail close hauled much of the time but the scenery is breath-taking and the broad reaches home were a blast. After a fun-filled day on the water, we spent the night camped in Porteau Cove Provincial Park.

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