Monday, August 11, 2008

Poodle Voyageur

This is my toy poodle, Tachy, who continually surprises me with how not like a small dog he can be sometimes. He loves canoeing. He doesn't bark at people in other boats, or the wildlife, he'll just quietly watch with apparent great interest. When he gets tired he'll take a break and nap under my seat. People who pass us on the water often exclaim at our canine "adventurer", and the kids think it's great we have a dog in the canoe with us.

This past weekend we went canoeing in the Meanders, part of the Payette River that winds gracefully down to Payette Lake. I hope to put some of my photos up on flickr this week. If you're curious, you can search Google for the satellite picture of the Payette River meanders just north of McCall, ID.

We camped on Saturday night at the Northwest Passage campground, part of Ponderosa State Park near McCall, about 5,000 feet above sea level. Evidently this used to be a much more basic campground, but it has recently re-opened with picnic tables, sand tent pads enclosed with wood barriers, a potable water supply and pit toilets. We managed to find a campsite next to the river, even if it was about 10 feet above water level. This meant we had to manhandle our 17 foot canoe down a steep sandy bank to the river. We had to disembark about 100 yards further up, at a flatter beach, since we couldn't manage to get the canoe back up that steep bank. It's made to be portaged by one person, but that doesn't mean it's super-light! So poor hubby was the one who got to carry it around.

We spent a wonderfully relaxing weekend paddling for miles up and down the Meanders, spotting wildlife and taking lots of photos. That's one of the best things about digital cameras. You're no longer afraid to take a lot of pics, which increases the odds that some of them will be pretty darn good. We saw at least three ospreys and their nest along the river. We also saw a bald eagle, who showed great interest in a mother Merganser and her seven nearly-grown chicks, as well as a pine marten, a young four-point stag grazing in one of the oxbow ponds, and lots of chipmunks. Tachy does bark at chipmunks, I must admit. You could swear they were taunting him on purpose.

One of my favorite parts about camping is sleeping in the tent. I love chilly nights in my warm sleeping bag. The worst part is driving back down in the late afternoon, when the valley heat is at its hottest, after a few days in the cool mountains. Ah well - in just over 2 weeks we'll be on the coast, walking the beach at Port Orford.

I came home to find tons more raspberries were ripe, and my tomatoes are finally starting to turn red! The tomato glut is just around the corner!

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