John Day 1964

Fold Boat Trip on the Johnday

Wed night March 1964


Home tonight and a xxx xxx but daylight saving any way... put up posts for gate to hide garbage pail put my fold boat out for some minor repair then after supper wheeled many wheelbarrow of sawdust and spread them around Rhododendrons and other shrubs and cut wheelbarrow load of wood for the fire we have going now. n sitting in front of it doing her book keeping.

Worked hard last week getting a job out so I could go on a trip with Towner and 7 others. I went to work early Friday and got home at 4. Loaded boat and gear and drove to fellows house I was to share a ride with. Left car there and loaded onto his and with a boy to drive back we were off.

Got to Clarmo about 10:30 and bedded down. Some already there others came later. Beautiful, not too chilly, night. Slept on ground with a plastic sheet. Other in tents (Expensive ones that fold up into light, tiny parcels ). Slept like a log but up at dawn and a fire and breakfast. On the river before 8. I had the single seater I bought second hand from Towner. 5 of the 8 boats were fiberglass kayaks. See photos. they are white. Water high and swift. We soon entered the canyon we were to be in for two days. We soon came to rapids and one rather steep and tricky one known as "Instant Terror!" Two of the fellows hit a big rock. The fiber glass escaped damage but Pete Koehler nearly sank. See photo of repair. I had liquid rubber he put over adhesive tape and he wan water tight rest of trip. We ate lunch in a spot where n camped her trip. In other words we are making twice the speed of the larger boats she was in. A couple of interesting petroglyphs. No idea how old. I had a can of cold spaghetti. Most of the other fancy goodies of great xxxx n had sent 4 loaves of special Italian bread she backed for the trip which we shared. Tough, chewy, tasty and filling. We all shared. The five high school boys had by now driven the five cars we had come in in from Clarmo??? (a tiny hamlet) to Cottonwood Canyon where we were due to pull out. There they left 4 cars and drove the 5th home to Portland.

As soon as we entered the Canyon there was a remoteness to it that was immediately xxx. Hundreds of Canadian Gees getting ready to nest and multitudes of Chukar (A hungarian partridge introduced successful to the country). Occasionally we would see cattle that the wheat ranchers run on the govt. land of the canyon. They get access through the wide canyons.

The afternoon run was much like the a.m. except that we stopped looking at the geese for there were too many to watch no matter if we were 50 feet away. Like watching xxxx. After a while you just don't bother to look when they are there constantly.

6.00 am thurs,

Tired this a.m. puttering around feeding Muffet and her friend, an old tom, who faithfully waits for her each a.m. I can see I'm not going to finish the of my trip this a.m. so will send a card off and finish this account later.

5:30 Tues

Will pick up the thread again. Did nothing but work this weekend. n took Towner and friends to a movie. He had a Beatle Birthday cake before movies. (sketches picture of side view of cake with a face and a Beatle Haircut) Rich chocolate layered and filled with "Happy Birthday Tonner(sic)" n and I had to make a "W" before he saw it.

Again the trip - The up stream wind grew strong in the late afternoon and we were glad when Towner pulled to shore at our camp ground. We all wearily got out of the boats in varying awkward manners for we all had T.B. (tired butts). Invariably the boater would stagger around when he got out for his legs were dead. Boats were pulled up and gear unloaded tents set up by those who had them. ( I slept on ground). Mattresses blown up and things put in order. Fire wood was gathered in ample supply and an old bleached cable spool was set up as a cocktail table (sketch of large wooden spool set up as table). Everyone put out their hors d'oeuvres and poured their own libation. Marinated artichoke hearts, anchovy and sardine fillets paté de foé gras - cocktail crackers -tiny sausages etc. Rich and tasty faire. As the light waned the evening meal was cooked in the order that appetites dictated. Sometimes dishes and meals were combined and sometimes the cook ate his won dish. The wind rose and though it was not cold, we were ready for bed by eight. The highballs and hot food in our bellies plus 50 miles of river were all we needed. The camp was soon silent except for the wind, the rush of the river, some snores and an occasional gastric outburst.

After a deep sleep I awoke at dawn to xxx Chukars strolling through camp. I soon had the camp fire going and picked up debris from the evening meal. What could be burnt was, and the rest collected in a pile. A camp of men is an uninhibited one and the air in an awakening one is rent by terrible and wonderful sounds. Tents were struck coffee boiled (I had tea) bacon, eggs, toast, jam etc appeared on most plates (I had a can of veg beef stew). Men strode off away from camp with dedicated strides, boats were moved back to the river, sleeping bags rolled etc. I collected the breakfast refuse as well as xxx and burried it. We left clean camp. Fire doused.

I started down the river with a couple of others and then discovered that while helping other launch their boats I had left my binoculars on shore. Although I had only been on the water for a moment or two we were already down stream almost a half a mile. So I landed and walked back to the camp. Others had decided to climb out of the canyon to see he surrounding country. I did this on the previous years trip.

Picked up my glasses and walked back to the boat. Was irked that I forgot them. Hopped into the boat and as I started to pull away from the silted bar where I'd stopped noticed a swarm of elves. Not true eel elves of course but lamprey eels. No eels out here.

I started out hurriedly with the idea of catching up with the boats ahead of me. As you can see I had to get into at least mid-stream to get into good water. However I saw as I approached it that it was a rough stretch and I hadn't caught one piece of my spray cover. Fussed with that for 15 seconds just at the wrong time. I was drifting down into the rapids and cross-wise. Before I saw it I was an to the sneak. They are a rock in rough water just below the surface so that they are unseen until the last instant. Well, just as I finished snapping the spray hood I saw the rock at my bow. Too late! Over I went in a flash. After 24 years of fold beating I was upside down in a deep rapid. Next thing I was to fall out of the boat. But I didn't. i was firmly in the cockpit upside down in cold rushing water. I wondered for an instant if I could get out. Finally I gave a big heave and broke out. I came up by the boat and grabbed it. The next minute or so was hard work and a little scary. I kept my feet under the boat and when we hit rocks guided the water filled cylinder thru and around. Finally got washed to shore. Was bailing out when Towner came by. He loaned me a spare paddle (Got mine back around the next bend). Got afloat again and paddled hard to get warm. Someone later loaned me a dry sweater and I was O.K. The rest of the day was a repeat of Sat. Wind in te afternoon, and finally out at the cans and a blustery drive home. Sorry this misplaced but better late than etc. Perhaps still of interest. R.