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Trip Report    

Columbia River: Goat, Martin and Burke Islands

Exploratory trip south from Kalama to Goat, Martin and Burke Islands. Great beaches, quiet sloughs and lots of wildlife.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Tide was falling most of the day - low tide levels made navigation in the sloughs behind the islands somewhat challenging.  Had to do a short portage one time.

Posted trip was cancelled due to no sign ups but the weather was good so I did the trip solo to do a little more exploration of the area. Launched from the beach access at the south end of Louis Rasmssen Park in Kalama at 9:40am. Crossed the river to the south tip of Sandy Island and paddled south along the west bank.  There were large numbers of sea lions patrolling the river - hunting for smelt/salmon. I continues south along the shore to the north tip of Goat Island and then along the west side of the island. The chart showed drying at low tide at the south end of the slough behind Goat Island, along with an old piling row (maybe an old bridge). I found that the bridge pilings were tight enough and with cross bracing so that I could not get through at a tide level of 1.6'.  Did a short portage to get through this area.

Once around the south tip of Goat Island, I paddled back up the east shore of the island, then crossed over to the north tip of Martin Island and again southward between Martin Island and the Washington shore.  This is the noisiest part of the trip as the freeway and railroad tracks are right next to the waterway. Just past the eastern most tip of Martin Island, I paddled into the boat basin that can be see from the freeway - in the summer time there are usually several pleasure boats moored here - empty today. From there, I paddled into Burke Slough to see if it could be navigable back to the main river (from past trips, I know that Martin Slough is dry at the south end and would need a portage to get back to the river.

I found that I could get back to the river through the south end of Burke Slough - was a very meandering, narrow and shallow channel through a beautiful area with lots of snowy egrets adorning the shore.  I did a short exploration (1/2nm) south from mouth of the slough before turning northward back toward Kalama.

Total distance for the trip was 16.2 nm with sunny skies and little wind.  Got back to the launch at 3:30 and had a beer on the terrace of McMennamins Athles Point Cabin about 100' from the launch!  Great day on the water!