The Kennewick-Man Expedition, DAY 50

When I wake up at 6:30 a.m., tattoo of rain on the tent surrounded me. A thermometer hung in the tent read 63 degrees F. Breaking up a camp in the rain for departure is troublesome because I cannot avoid letting some gear get wet.

I ate bagels for a breakfast.

I paddled out into the Columbia River at 9:00 a.m.

It was rain and light tailwind under gloomy and cold sky all day today. Wind hit me continuously because water surface of the great river is entirely windswept. Since that wind evaporated water soaking into the outer layer of my jacket, the enthalpy of vaporization took heat from my body without cease. Therefore, it was very cold regardless of the temperature. After I endured for long time, I was able to find a landing spot. I landed on, put on a down-jacket, and got warm. Instead, I moistened the down because I put on it in the rain.

However, in here I have to endure just only the cold rain and wind. It is a carefree travel relative to the situation of the Columbia River Gorge where I was constantly on the alert for sudden change to windstorm. Viewing rainy forest from on the great river, smells of water and life surrounded me as if I was in a cradle on the water. In contrast to that natural beauty, powers of huge ocean-going cargo ship overwhelmed me which I felt fear to go near to.

I began to look for some space to pitch the tent, for the evening was coming. However, at the first landing beach, I saw a notice board saying “Private Beach” and was not able to find a landowner’s house. Therefore, I had to give up. At the second landing beach, a landowner was not at home. Therefore, I also had to give up. At the third landing beach, when I visited a large two-storied house overlooking the river, Joan Harvey Chester gave a cheerful consent to pitch the tent on their beach with tender smile. Already it was 6:40 p.m. I paddled continuously for nine hours and 40 minutes for 38 miles.

Feeling grateful that they offered me a safe and comfortable camping space, I was pitching the tent on the well-kept grass. When I almost finished it, Joan and Richard Erickson came and gave me a more affection; they offered me invitation to stay in their house although we had had only few conversations yet. The house was not their residence I had thought but was their elegant hotel with three rooms named The Villa at Little Cape Horn, and to my surprise, they offered me a gorgeous room with a view of the river. In addition, caring me, they cooked a hot meal just for me and washed my clothes. I was stricken by meeting with an unexpected cordial reception here too.

While I was taking a hot shower, my frozen body was melting. I can sleep in a large bed. Their deep affections wrap up me.