Big blue boats

Posted by Ken Campbell January 3, 2011 0 Comment 740 views

I’m not really a rafter. I’ve done it a couple times before, as a passenger, but this time was the first that I’d ever been the guy in charge.

Marc Mahoney was guiding the other raft and his advice to me consisted mainly of telling me that I would know what to do and, in retrospect, he was right. It wasn’t that hard. It probably didn’t hurt that we were on the Skagit River – the eagle section, between Marblemount and Rockport – which never really gets up much past Class 1.5. It’s a fast moving river, but there’s no real white water to speak of, on this particular segment anyway. I’ve done it several times in a canoe, and it was much like I remembered it.

It was Micah’s first raft trip though, and even though it was 2 1/2 hours long and cold, he was a trooper… and actually fell asleep near the end.

The eagles were out, about 100 of them I’d guess, though I lost count pretty early in the trip. They congregate here each winter to feed on the spawned-out carcasses of the returning chum salmon that litter the river bank and gravel bars. Because of all the rain we’d been getting lately, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be as many dead salmon laying around but apparently there were enough. At one turn in the river, I counted more than 35 birds, some down low on the rocks, others watching from the bare branches of the overhanging trees.

The rain held off until right at the end, and even then it was a gentle mist rather than a downpour. All-in-all, a fine raft trip. (I even got a few tips!)

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