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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Columbia River: Skamokawa to Pillar Point

A beautiful paddle along an almost unspoiled and dramatic shoreline with lots of wildlife. This rarely paddled trip is a gem that I highly recommend.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The launch at Skamokawa Vista Park is good, but access is restricted. If busy with boat launching, need to be quick about using the ramp. Cost is $5 to park across the road from the ramp in a large designated parking area inside the park.Capture.JPG

Weather: fair skies, 37-48 degrees, east wind 5-15kt
Tides: L 10:38 2.1'; H 15:35 7.0'.  This far out on the Columbia, the current does reverse with an incoming tide, so we had a bit of current assist on the return from Pillar Point.

We got to the launch at 8:30 and were on the water by 9:15. I had forgotten that there is a $5 parking fee and had no cash. Fortunately Dennis had enough to cover us both. The wind was lower than forecast at first as we paddled along this fairly wild shore. Mostly basalt rock with a few gravel pocket beaches - very pretty. We took a break om the sun on a nice east facing gravel beach about half way from Three Tree Point to Brookfield Point. After break we paddled into Harlows Creek (old charts name it Jim Crow Creek) for quite a distance until blocked by trees. Once out of the creek, we rounded Brookfield Point in freshening wind and took another break on a nice sandy beach just west of the point.
With the wind freshening to about 10kt from the east, we decide to just go to Pillar Point and then turn back instead of pressing on to Elliot Point. At the old cannery building we turned north and paddled out around Pillar Rock before heading back east against a stiff headwind. We hugged the shore to minimize the headwind, but needed to take frequent breaks in the lee of almost every point for the first bit of the way back. We stopped for lunch break on the west side of Brookfield Point. After break, we headed around the point and encountered significant clapotis with the wind waves being reflected from the rock face on the east side of the point.
Fortunately the wind started to abate by about halfway back, and we had an enjoyable rest of the return hugging and exploring the shore. The incoming tide aided us on the return all the way and we made good time in spite of the significant headwind.
We encountered a beaver, eagles, sea lions, seals and numerous ducks along the way. I highly recommend this trip for the relatively wild shoreline and dramatic topgraphy.S0939163.JPG