Saturday, August 22, 2009

Camping On Walker Island

This year the boys and I decided to camp on Walker Island again. Chris took the morning and afternoon off to help us get set up and take us out skiing and tubing.

Shortly after arriving on the island, a group of kayakers pulled up with a pontoon boat. It was a tour group from Rainier, OR heading for Astoria on the coast. While we’ve never had neighbors before on Walker Island, I have to admit it was nice to have people close by overnight.

River camp day 1 01

The water was like glass and so both Zack and I took the opportunity to head out on the water. I haven’t skied much in the last 17 years, but I did pretty well if I do say so myself. But after all the spelunking the day before, my legs got fairly tired (which I realized about halfway through my circuit). Thankfully, not wanting to fall is a great motivator to stay up even when you’re legs don’t want to. :o) Zack did great on the tube and got a nice ride!

River camp day 1 02River camp day 1 03

After taking Chris back to the dock, we headed back to camp to do dishes and enjoy a campfire. Despite the ban on beach fires, we went back home to get our firepit. It just doesn’t seem like camping without a fire.

Our very nice neighbors had extra very yummy lasagna that they shared with us and a couple of the guys played football with the boys.

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A gorgeous sunset and a very starry sky made for a perfect ending to our first day at camp.

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Walker Island – Day Two

Tuesday was a beautiful day! We spent the day fishing, set crawdad traps, digging holes and swimming.  The water was like glass and there was only a slight breeze. It was perfect!

River camp day 2 01 it was fun to watch the dark ominous cloud roll in from the coast and break up as it neared

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our camp from the high tide line

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our camp from the low tide line

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the tide was really low

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the prettiest ship we’ve seen on the river

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one of only two crawdads we caught all week :o(

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Will buried himself (with some help)

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Peter and this year’s hole

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Andy and the only fish caught all week

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the mud monster

We had some neighbors come in during the afternoon, but they spent most of the day out in their boat and we didn’t see much of them.

River camp day 2 12 the boys decided to build some Burmese tiger traps to discourage future neighbors LOL

Chris brought us some items that we needed, the most necessary of which was the bee trap. The yellowjackets were terrible! Any time we ate or cooked, there they were. Although my soaking pots and pans made very effective traps, the real trap had over 150 dead bees in it when I cleaned it out at home!

River camp day 2 07good trap

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better trap

River camp day 2 14bringing in the boat to get it ready for the night

Walker Island – Day Three

Zack expertly drove the boat over to the pilings one last time to check the trap before taking Peter back to the dock to go home. But unfortunately it was empty again.

Wednesday was a very hot and sunny day! We spent much of the day in the water or in the shade (or trying to make more shade). We also were very diligent to putting on sunscreen after having a miserable night thanks to sunburns from the day before.

River camp day 3 01 River camp day 3 02a really long pipe heading downriver 

There was lots of ship traffic which made for great surf for playing in. It was almost like the ocean except that it was warmer and not salty. So I guess it was actually better than the ocean.

River camp day 3 03River camp day 3 04

We also got day-neighbors yet again, but they didn’t stay long. The wind really picked up in the afternoon when the tide started to come in. It got so windy that we decided to move camp to the other side of the trees where there was no wind. It took a little bit of work but was well worth it.

River camp day 3 05River camp day 3 06the tide came WAY up

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windy camp

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not windy camp

After supper we went and picked up Chris so he could spend the night with us. It was well after dark by the time we got back to the island. So we set up the telescope and checked out some stars and planets before bed. Andy and I even got to see two shooting stars!

Walker Island – Day Four

After three pretty idyllic days, we were pretty sure this would be the first uneventful year of camping on the river. The morning was cool and overcast and the water had come WAY up during the night, but we didn’t let it get us down.

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Chris went and picked up our friends the McNews and Theresa to spend the day with us.

While the sun only peeked out occasionally and the wind never really died down, we made the best of it and had a great time!

 River camp day 4 03River camp day 4 05the boys made this year’s hole in a Sarlacc pit (like from Star Wars)

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it got Will!

more Walker Island 01 more Walker Island 02 more Walker Island 03 more Walker Island 04more Walker Island 05 more Walker Island 06 more Walker Island 07  more Walker Island 08more Walker Island 14

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playing football

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Inara checks out her blue tongue in Mom’s sunglasses

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We had lost the tackle box the day before when the tide came in higher than expected. But the boys found it on the beach while exploring another part of the island!

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River camp day 4 14 more Walker Island 09

River camp day 4 13River camp day 4 14more Walker Island 11more Walker Island 12more Walker Island 13

the kids loved riding the McNews’ hot dog

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Ian even tried standing up

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our poor tarp couldn’t take any more

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Monty and Inara take a nap in the shade

Then in the afternoon the wind really started to pick up as the tide came in. The waves also got much rougher, but the kids donned their lifejackets and enjoyed the ride!

River camp day 4 18River camp day 4 19When we realized that the weather was not going to improve, we decided to pack up camp while we had lots of help and head home. And that’s when the adventure began…

I don’t have any pictures of our actual adventure because our poor camera would not have survived. Chris took all our guests back to the boat landing while the boys and I continued to hurriedly get our gear down to the water. When he returned he was SOAKING wet and changed into his better lifejacket, all while yelling that we had to hurry. The conditions on the river were pretty bad! We packed all of us and as much stuff as we could into the boat and headed back to Willow Grove. The wind was howling and the whitecaps and 6 foot swells made going rough. Needless to say, we were pretty jarred and wet and COLD by the time we got to the dock. I was feeling ready to let the rest of our stuff get washed downriver rather than take another trip back to the island, but Chris and Zack headed back right after we unpacked the gear from the boat. I prayed the entire time they were gone (which seemed like an eternity) and Monty helped back the van down to the boat landing so it would be all ready to go. Thankfully they made it back safe and sound with the remainder of our stuff tied down as best as they could.

All in all it was another exciting week on the river! I wonder what next year will be like? And will we be able to convince anyone to come with us??? :o)