On Friday, we headed down to the Leidl campground on the Klickitat River in Southern Washington to meet our friends Rebecca and Christophe. Upon arrival, Rebecca proposed an overnight boating trip for Saturday and Sunday, which we happily agreed to. So
bright and early after a tasty breakfast of bacon and eggs, we packed up camp into some dry bags, loaded up the boat, shuttled some cars, and took off.
I think we actually didn’t get onto the river until about 1:00 pm. Kevin and I were totally unfamiliar with all the logistical challenges of an over-night boat trip, but luckily Rebecca has been doing this since she was a baby. She and Christophe had all the necessary gear – white water raft, dry bags and dry box for our camping stuff, clothes, and food, fishing gear, padded seats for the whiny pregnant lady, and a waterproof camera. Rebecca rigged and packed the boat while the boys shuttled the cars. I ate cherries and tried to be useful.
We put in a few miles north of the campground, and went for about five hours on Saturday. It was really fun – the river is relatively calm, no dangerous rapids, but vigorous enough that we all got drenched and had to hold on sometimes. It was great weather, super hot in the sun so we actually looked forward to getting splashed by the very cold water. Towards the end of the day, we stopped frequently to investigate possible camp sites for the night. I think we must have looked at four, trying to find the perfect combination of flat and rock-free ground, with a low-angle rocky beach. This was pretty inconsequential for me – I just got on and off the boat to poke around – but for everyone else, they had to dismount into thigh deep water, drag the boat and the pregnant princess securely to shore, and later push off and hop back on – not hard, but certainly not trivial. We finally found a great spot, though we had some neighbors – can’t blame them, as the weather was perfect and so was the spot! I made dinner (chopped potatoes and veggies with andouille sausage, in foil packets over the fire! mmm!) and then we roasted giant marshmallows. Then off to bed!
Sunday we got started earlier but still had a great breakfast (bacon and eggs again! boat camping is a lot like car camping). We floated for about four hours, with far fewer stops and faster water (Rebecca estimated that we went about 9 miles Saturday and 13 on Sunday). We went a little past the town of Klickitat to the take out, and then headed back to grab the other car and have some lunch. After that, it was time to head home.
I was surprised how exhausted I was after a weekend of just… sitting, mostly. But I guess I was in the sun a lot, and sitting is also strangely exhausting to my back and stomach muscles after a while. Thankfully Rebecca made me a backrest out of a rolled up sleeping pad!
It was a really fun trip, and while Kevin and I both agreed we’d do it again, I don’t think we will be investing in our own white water raft any time soon. It’s lovely to have friends who have the skills and the gear to take us on adventures like this though!