Out from under the compressed expectations of a short work week, I launch my kayak from Heritage Landing. The fast flowing
Deschutes ejects me into the Columbia River Gorge. I paddle into a stiff wind, the captain of my
own fate...for a change.
Moments before, a man with a new jet-ski tied to the shore told me the water was too 'crispy'.
"You mean 'choppy?'", I asked.
"Crispy." he nodded.
But eventually I settle for the adjective 'spooky'.
What looks to me like serpentine standing waves, the massive undulations of a barely submerged plesiosaur, are camouflaged by the spray of wind whipped whitecaps.
I ride the bucking cryptid as it sweeps me off course.
"Captain of my own fate my ass." I mutter.
The wind curves through basalt lined valleys, pushing the heads of the tall grass downward. They bob up and down like blinking fireflies, in dramatic contrast to the tortured skeletons of burnt shrubs.
The island valleys parallel the flow of the river, and hint perhaps their current appearance owes much to ice age flood waters...
...with only the strongest basalt outcroppings surviving the deluge.
Now windswept dunes migrate the length of the island's interior...
...mostly appearing to labor eastward.
Paper cracks rock.
Fire burns paper.
Rock ignores Fire
|Click on image to view larger version|
08-24-2013 - 07-04-2014
The sun sinks behind hills on the
Washington shore. The wind is strong enough
to knock me off balance as I step from stone to stone, which isn't ideal from
this high perspective.
Using my dumb phone, I call friends with smarter communication devices and inquire about wind forecasts. The lowest wind speeds are expected to occur at sunrise.
You'd think those things would look like frenzied pinwheels.
At about two in the morning, without proper camping gear, it occurs to me that I should also have inquired about the expected night-time temperature.
I also begin to reflect upon the psychological importance of blankets. When I was little, and in fear of monsters, there was no greater comfort than being able to pull my blankets up over my head for safety.
|Click on image to view larger version.|
The valley floor at five in the morning.
Because it gets light at four.
Note to self: Remember where you parked.
(Especially if by 'park', you mean 'hide your kayak in tall grass to protect it from pirates'.)
On this particular morning, the clouds take a crack at tessellating, after catching a glimpse of an M.C. Escher book abandoned at a picnic, its pages slowly flipping in the breeze - waving at the sky.
(Editiors Note: See comment number two)