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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!

 

Springtime in the Gorge

May 15th, 2012 by

Springtime has finally arrived in the Northern Hemisphere!  Even though it has been a relatively mild La Nina Winter in Oregon, with some spectacularly sunny days mixed in with the normal clouds and misty rain of our wet season, we welcome the sun and warmth with open arms. 

It has been quite a while since my last blog post so I will do my best to fill you in on what we have been up to.

Patti’s truck with Spring back orders ready to ship

Patti and I have been hard at work answering e-mails and building sailing rigs for kind people all over the world.  We thank each and every one of you for your support.  People are starting to find out about us!

On the weekends and after work we’ve been trying to squeeze in as much paddle-sailing as possible. 

Orchard in bloom

You may not know that the sail loft is located in the lower half of an old farm house.  We rent the house from a local orchardist and live upstairs.   The place is surrounded by thirty beautiful acres of pear trees, and for a few weeks each Spring the blossoms transport us into a magical wonderland of cottony beauty.   We enjoy this time of year very much.  As an added bonus, the loft is only a few  minutes from a terrific launch site on the Columbia River.

Patti and I have been having fun paddle-sailing in the Columbia.   Our new skin boats are a real pleasure to sail. 

For some reason Springtime seems to activate an instinctual fishing gene in some people.  I’m not sure why, but the vernal change has this effect on me as well.   On Saturday, while Patti dug up soil in our food garden, I felt compelled to head up to our local mountain lake for some trolling.

This small but lovely body of water holds a healthy population of rainbow and native bull trout, both of which respond well to trolled flies.

One of the tricks to trolling under sail is being able to control ones boat speed.  It’s often easiest to regulate the speed of trolled baits while sailing to windward.  By turning a boat up-wind and sailing on a very close reach, the boat speed will decrease.  To pull the bait faster, one just needs to bear off the wind until the desired speed is reached.  For trolling on a beam reach, a simple adjustment to the main sheet is often all that is required.  The sheet may need to be let all the way out in order to keep the boats speed slow enough for trolling.  I find that sheeting the sail all the way in, and effectively stalling the foil, can also be a good way to reduce speed, especially if heading down wind.  This “stall” technique  goes against most sailboat racer’s instincts, but for fishing, especially for slower fresh water fish, a slow speed is often needed.

Can you see the nest?

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day with a clear sky and unseasonably mild temperature.  One of the attributes of this little lake is an audible purity that results from a total absence of motorized craft.  The only sounds that I could hear was the gentle swish my paddle blade dipping into the water, the occasional trout splashing on the surface, and a chirping song of ospreys (fish hawks).  I could clearly hear what sounded like two baby ospreys calling from a nest high in a tree on the west bank.  It seems that some ambitious bird lover had somehow climbed to the top of this incredibly tall tree and nailed together a wooden nesting platform for them.

What a relaxing day.  There was one tense moment though.  It happened just after I hooked a fish.  It’s funny how crazy things seem to happen at the moment of hook up.  I can remember several occasions while flats fishing in the Keys, when a hungry shark would apear as soon as I hooked into a big fish.  And then there was the time my pants fell down while fighting a big bluefish on Long Island, but that’s a story for another time.  Anyway, back to Saturday.  Where was I, oh yeah, so I turned the boat into the wind and had just started reeling in this nice little trout when, with the corner of my eye, I saw momma osprey diving down from a nearby tree top with her wings folded back and talons extended, aiming for my fish!  In a moment of heightened awareness I thought, oh no! she is going to take off with the fish!   I immediately called out in an alarming  yell,  YAAH! YAAH!,  in an attempt to break her concentration.  At the very same moment I was trying to push away the thought of trying to reel in a fish hovering several meters above my head.  Luckily, the scare tactic worked and she broke off her dive at the last possible moment.  Whew..  That was too close.    The fish came to the boat quickly and I released it back into the clear blue depths.  Needless to say we were both relieved.

After a leisurely drive home I arrived to find Patti covered head to toe in soil with a big smile on her face.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

By the way, we plan on taking some fun high wind paddle-sailing videos this season and maybe even some paddle-sailing instructional videos, so stay tuned.  And, please feel free to subscribe to this blog if you haven’t done so already.  There is a subscription link in the right hand column.

Cheers!

 

A Day on Netarts Bay

November 3rd, 2011 by

In an act of spontaneity, Patti and I took a drive to the coast.  Every now and again we need to get our gills wet in the salt water.  There is something about the sea that helps us feel connected.  Grounded so to speak, except for without the ground. ;D

The Oregon coastline is a notoriously rough place for small craft with few protected bays and harbors to escape the pounding surf.  There are a few though.  This day we decided to explore a protected place called Netarts Bay.  I’s just a few miles south of the town of Tillamook.

What a glorious Autumn day!   We arrived and immediately set out to find a good launching spot.  One was found just inside the mouth of the bay and since the tide was just beginning to ebb and a strong outbound current was building, we decided to work against the current into the bay instead of heading out to the mouth.  Tidal rips can be amazingly strong here in the Pacific Northwest and a thorough respect for them is essential for safe navigation.

We are always hoping for good wind and today looked perfect.  But, as luck would have it, as soon as the boats were slid into the water the breeze died off almost completely,  Oh well..  We always have the paddle.  Actually, we really love paddling, especially when the water is flat calm and has a mirror finish on it.   Paddle-sailing just has a special place in our hearts.

The boats glided silently in the clear water.  Scallops could be seen on the bottom and occasionally small fish spooked from the gently swaying eel grass beds as we passed overhead.  A variety of diving ducks and sea lions performed their disappearing acts around us and all was quiet except for a distant rumble of surf and the occasional call of a gull.

It was truly a delightful afternoon and we are happy to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy the video.

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