In transition, need advice

After a coworker got trapped under a shelf and drowned running class IV drop a few years back my wife gave me an ultimatum.

She reminded me that I was a father with a young family and I had no business running off every evening and weekend to engage in high risk behavior while she stayed home with the kids and worried about me.

So, the kayaks are now gone and I’ve discovered I can not only live without whitewater, but that I also don’t need the adrenaline rush anymore.

As an added benefit, I’ve enjoyed being around to watch my boys grow up into young men (and yes, being the father in the stands for a little league game is a great experience!).

However, each time I go “over the hill” to the land of freeways, suburban sprawl, and shopping malls I look down from the road into some of my former ‘playgrounds’ (California’s Smith River and Oregon’s Illinois and Rogue Rivers) and wonder what the hell was I thinking when I was doing serious whitewater? Or perhaps, I wasn’t really thinking, and maybe just addicted.

But, I do miss the water.

Last month while camping at a lake a group in the neighboring campsite had two sailboats and three canoes, which got me thinking, that with my boys now 7 & 9 years old maybe we could get a canoe?

So, I went over to talk with them.

The guy who owned the canoes (an Old Town, a Bell, and a beautiful home-built wood lapstrake canoe) was also from a the coast and he told me that while there are no lakes or meandering estuaries, there is plenty of flat-water paddling to be found at the river mouths near high tide.

He claims the first 3-4 riffles of most rivers are underwater at high tide and he goes upstream 1-2 miles, picnics, and returns 2-3 hours later.

But I don’t know whether to believe him. It may sound plausible but for those not familiar with my local geography, the local Chamber of Commerce boasts that we live on the “Wild Rivers Coast”, and they’re not kidding. With the Smith, the Rogue, the Klamath, and a dozen smaller rivers and streams dropping dramatically out of the mountains and crashing into the ocean this may be a kayaker’s paradise but a flat-water paddler’s nightmare. Water, water everywhere … as the saying goes.

So this guy’s comments intrigued me. Can I safely flatwater paddle these rivers with a young family at high tide and make a day of it?

Yes, probably

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 3:33 PM EST –

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Only Constant Thing In Life Is Change
Next thing you know the kids will be gone, or ready to run the river with you.

There are always easy sections of river if you go looking for them. My son and I used to run the Rogue above Medford, and it was a tubing kind of trip.

…for the near future…
Esquif’s newly acquired Spanish Fly(or whatever name they’ll give it) or Taureau…both OC-1s. Bailing is easier in an OC-1…but it’s “half the paddle, twice the man…”