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Canoe and Kayak Guidebook By Ron Wardman
|I’ve been having a lot of fun over the past few years exploring places to paddle the inland waters along Oregon’s South Coast. There are literally dozens of paddling opportunities -- from lakes and streams in the Oregon Dunes, to the estuaries of Coos Bay and the Coquille River, to the lakes and rivers south of Bandon...|
my travels I've seen many people carrying canoes and kayaks on their
vehicles' roof racks, but they seldom seem to stop. Figuring that
perhaps people weren't aware of the many places to paddle in this
region, I decided to gather the basic information about various
paddling spots and make some photocopies to pass around. A few
enthusiastic friends later convinced me that the subject deserved a
“real” guidebook, complete with maps and photos.
This book offers both saltwater and freshwater tours that were selected for their relatively easy paddling. You won't find information about whitewater paddling or open-ocean kayaking. Nor is this a comprehensive nature and historical guide of the area. Most paddlers are observant and appreciate their surroundings without a great deal of outside help.
I need to make the usual disclaimers associated with paddling.
Paddling is potentially a dangerous sport. Lives can be lost when paddlers don’t follow safe paddling guidelines. You must know and respect your skill level.
Paddlers should always be aware of weather, tides, and currents. All of the waters of this region can be cold, with temperatures ranging between 45 and 60 degrees. If you are immersed, hyperthermia and death can quickly follow.
While these trips are relatively easy, you must be realistic regarding your skill level. Try to paddle with a partner. Consider carrying a two-way VHF radio or cell phone.
Always carry proper emergency equipment and wear approved flotation devices. Flotation devices are mandatory in Oregon for children 12 years old and younger at all times in watercraft.
Always use caution when entering any water in an open boat or canoe. Do not enter surf, bays or other bodies of water during storms or heavy chop.
Some of these trips are in working waterways, so watch out for ships, tugboats, barges and log rafts. They all create a significant water disturbance that can easily swamp such open watercraft as canoes.
Because water levels vary greatly, always be on the lookout for hazards just below the surface. Partially-submerged floating logs -- called "deadheads" -- are common in local waters.
During winter and early spring, heavy amounts of rainfall can add a great deal of water to the area, influencing currents and water levels. Winter storms bring strong south winds, which are usually short-lived. That said, keep in mind some of the best paddling is actually in winter and spring; between storms, calm and warm days can occur.
Summer, on the other hand, sees strong north winds arriving nearly every afternoon. Try to plan exposed trips for the mornings.
A word about the tides:
Many of the areas discussed are tide-dependant. You should obtain a tidebook (available at many local stores) and use the corrections, if any, for the places where you’re paddling. Local newspapers also daily print tide charts.
When the term "high tide" is used in this book, it refers to the time of high tide at the Coos or Coquille river channel entrances at the Pacific Ocean. As you go “upriver” in the Coos and Coquille estuaries, the time of high tide time is later in respect to how far upriver you travel. The farthest reach of tidewater -- called the "head" of tidewater -- is roughly 30 miles on each river system, and is two to four hours later than high tide time at the mouths of each river.
If you're paddling on an outgoing tide, be sure you know where the channel is, since you could get caught on mudflats as the tide falls. The mudflats consist of sticky ooze that’s not much fun to wade through! This is particularly true in the South Slough, the Coos Bay channel between the cities of North Bend and Coos Bay, and up Catching Slough.
Most tidal inlets and sloughs have steep embankments that become exposed as the tide goes out. This makes it difficult to get in and out of small craft.
I've tried to note the approximate calculations for determining high tide or low tide, but land observations should always be made prior to paddling. Each trip as described takes advantage of tides and currents. In determining tides and currents, I used the software program ChartView with its companion Tides and Currents.
Put-in/take-out sites and information
Each tour notes the best place to launch, general information about the direction of the tour, unusual hazards, the length of the trip and approximate time for the trip.
I used a GPS to determine the distance of each tour, which is less than the actual shoreline mileage or, in the case of lake paddles, the shoreline perimeter. Actual perimeter mileage of lakes is shown in parenthesis when known.
A note about the maps: Because of their small size, the maps include only the most obvious details. They are correct to scale and reasonably accurate. I have widened waterways and rivers in some instances for clarity.
Paddling times are approximate times based on fairly easy paddling, with time for observing points of interest. Each trip is based on starting from and returning to the same place unless noted otherwise. However, many of the trips in the sloughs and bays could be one-way if you have a second vehicle to work out a shuttle.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable time exploring the many watery delights of the Coos Region!
Here’s one of the popular treks on one of the inlets (or sloughs) of Coos Bay:
North Slough (Hauser Channel)
Location: 1 mile north of McCullough Bridge.
Directions: From McCullough Bridge, head north on US 101 for 0.6 mile and turn west on North Spit Causeway, following signs to Oregon Dunes and Horsfall Beach. Drive across the causeway, which crosses a small bridge at its west end. Immediately across the bridge, make a U-turn and park on the south edge of the road. Directly below is a small sandy beach from which you can launch. This launch site can also be used for paddling Haynes Inlet or into the Coos Bay channel.
Launch Site: Small sandy beach.
Length: 7.1 miles round trip
Time: 3+ hours
Precautions: Submerged pilings. Pay close attention to tides and beware of being stranded on a falling tide.
Discussion: Great wetlands paddle. Many birds including eagles, egrets, and herons can be observed. Begin your paddle at approximately the time listed in tide charts for high tide at the Coos Bay channel entrance/ocean beaches, and you will have the incoming tide with you. (See page 2 for important notes about tide times.) Paddle under the vehicle bridge adjacent to the put-in beach and head north. You can stay to the west edge of the slough as you go north, paddling over shallow water. Continue north. The waterway will narrow. Once past the narrowed section, begin to head east toward US 101. The main channel parallels US 101. You can explore the wetlands away from the channel but beware of being caught out on a falling tide. Continue to paddle north until you come to the bridge and tidegate under US 101. Turn around and paddle back at this point. (You could also take out here if you wish, but do so only if it's high tide; the steep embankment makes access difficult during low tide.) If you have timed your trip correctly, the tide will have changed just as you reach the turn-around point, and you'll have the outgoing current with you on the return trip.
|Canoe and Kayaking Guidebooks
Canoe and Kayaking
in Oregon's Coos Region
By Ron Wardman
ORDER FOR JUST
|Oregon South Coast
By Tom Baake
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Our Back Door
Driving Tours and Day Hikes in
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