After my treacherous kayaking experience in Lost Creek Reservoir, I was on a mission to have a relaxing, uncomplicated, and enjoyable day of kayaking. We spent a weekend in St. Helens, Oregon with our friends (and former owners of our beloved Airstream), Bonnie and Steve. As owners of Scappoose Bay Kayaking, they were able to show us some great places to kayak around the bay. We failed to ask them for this information on the first day we kayaked thereby causing me to get stuck on a log in extremely shallow waters at one point – which I don’t recommend. (Note: While I remained significantly calmer during the log challenge, my paddling efforts (picture flailing arms and a lot of splashing) and scooting action in an attempt to remove my kayak from the log made me look ridiculous, was somewhat embarrassing, and failed to remove me from the log.) The next day, after talking with Steve and receiving a map of the area’s waterways (genius!), we set off to explore one of the nearby sloughs.
The water was relatively calm in the bay and very easy to navigate. I managed to avoid all logs and, thankfully, all boats entering and leaving the area…always a plus. Once we made our way over to the entrance of the slough, the change in environment was powerful. The water was unbelievably still, quite possibly the calmest waters in which I have paddled, and the surroundings were eerily quiet, so much that Chris and I felt a need to whisper at first. Saying very little to one another, we enjoyed the moment (of the calm waters, that is…not of the fact that we were not speaking) and paddled our way through the slough examining the shores for wildlife and taking in this beautiful scenery. We paddled for quite awhile when we both heard a noise in the distance. Looking at each other and affirming that, yes, we both heard it, we continued on our way with eyes glued to the shoreline.
Shortly after, we heard something moving on the shore behind the trees. We both stopped and sat completely still listening to this movement. This was not the sound of a small squirrel or a timid deer, but rather something much larger. Having just spoken the previous night of Steve and Bonnie’s recent close encounters with bears, I was sure it was a bear. A very a big one. It was slowly (and loudly) moving closer to the shore ready to reveal its beastly self. While Chris moved closer to the beast’s location (typical), I paddled quietly but quickly along so I was not sitting in front of the wild animal upon its introduction to us.
The noise grew closer. Was it a bear? A ferocious cougar? My heart pounded as I waited for the unknown beast to make its attack. Just a few more steps would reveal the mysterious creature and put our lives in danger. I was sure of it. Suddenly, there it was. Our eyes met. It was as big as a bear and mooing along with the other cows that were just down the path a little further. That’s right, a cow. Paddling through this beautiful area I expected to see wildlife. Beavers? Yes. A variety of birds? Yes. Cows? Um…not so much. I was somewhat disappointed that my terrifying beast was just a cow. For a split second I hoped that perhaps the cows would do something uncharacteristically drastic so that my next blog entry could be entitled, “When Cows Attack.” Or, alternatively, a cow could at least jump out of the woods and scream, “Moo!” Get it? Like Boo! But Moo!…because it’s a cow. Yeah…Chris didn’t find it funny either. But, it gives me a chuckle. Just picture it and it might make you laugh, too. Unfortunately, no such events took place. Instead, the cows looked at me in an uninterested manner and walked away.
After several hours of paddling the calm waters, we returned to the dock, our pasty white skin not blinding society as much and our bodies feeling rejuvenated. It was a great day for paddling. The water was peaceful, the sun was shining, we had an incredible view of Mount St. Helens in the distance, and I was not crying nor was my voice making any horrible shrilling sounds. Mission accomplished!