If mid-summer heat waves get you down, perhaps it’s time for a cool retreat!

This week’s Grant’s Getaway promises a refreshing escape as I go aboard a small boat on a huge river. It’s the sort of adventure that may leave you feeling a million miles away from the city hubbub and noise in a sea kayak on the Columbia River.

Trying something new and risky takes courage, but if you’re convinced that it’s right for you, the risk can often pay off with unique adventures.

Safety is everything when Steve Gibons, owner of Scappoose Bay Kayaking, gathers paddlers together on the dock at Scappoose Bay Marina.

The first step: we slid into the cozy confines of the small cockpits of a smooth sided 14-foot long tandem sea kayak. We listened intently as Steve explained a basic rule of kayak recreation: First, a reassuring fact: more people tip over at the dock than any other place on the water – either getting in or out.”

Many of our fellow paddlers were like us – relative newcomers to the recreation and to this stretch of Multnomah Channel at Scappoose Bay. It’s a place where tide and weather can change in a heartbeat.

But on this gentle summer’s day, the bay and the nearby Columbia River were smooth and calm, so no need for us to worry. Instead, we used our time to practice the basic forward and reverse paddle strokes that Steve taught us – paddle strokes that we would soon put to good use.

Finding a comfort zone on the glassy water came easy on a day that was filled with summer’s glory – clear skies, a gentle breeze and outgoing tide to ease our downriver journey. More importantly, our small group of paddlers seemed to have the river all to ourselves on a stretch of Columbia River backwater that’s largely overlooked by most folks.

It is certainly that – and much more – a time and place where nature’s touch restores your soul.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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