Water

Angling in BC: Hooked on Differing Fishing Philosophies

Marriage takes a lot of work; no one will argue that point. Having differences in religion, child-rearing ideas, and/or politics can make it even more challenging. What I’m about to describe is even more serious: differing philosophies about elegant fly fishing and lowly bait/lure fishing!  For some couples, this divergence is more confounding than any of those mentioned above. Allow …

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A River like the Sea: Paddling the Lower Columbia Water Trail

I’m dozing, when high-pitched screams followed by angry whistling tugs me away from my nap on the warm sand. Through binoculars, I spot three crow-sized birds, taking turns dive-bombing a bald eagle perched in a tree on the nearby point. Each dive-bomber lunges, screaming, at the eagle, only to pull up at the last moment, and fly back up to the heights while its …

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Nooksack River Stewards: Inspiring Deep Connections

If you spend any time at all in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll see evidence all around that wild salmon are the backbone of our environment, culture, and economy. Yet many salmon-bearing streams have been degraded by past land-use practices—the removal of large woody debris and riparian vegetation, the straightening and ditching of stream channels, and the installation of poorly designed …

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90 Days on the Water: Paddling the Inside Passage

The Inside Passage is a protected water route that weaves through islands and narrow channels along the North American West Coast. Its southernmost point is Olympia, Washington and it travels north for roughly 1200 miles to Skagway, Alaska. Last summer my partner, Jeremy, and I set out to kayak its length. The idea was born during a seemingly casual conversation …

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Sea Kayaking the West Coast of the West Coast

The bow of my kayak digs a groove into the sand, and I get out and stretch. Maria sheds her dry suit and takes off running down the perfect, uninhabited two-mile crescent of warm sand. Bruce pokes around in tide pools. I wander up the beach, following wolf tracks. An eagle whistles from the trees. Somewhere in the bay I …

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Saving Chuckanut Island

I am standing here on the west side of Chuckanut Island trying to understand what I am seeing and what to do about it. This five-acre nature preserve is my responsibility—my wife Aimee and I are the stewards of this Nature Conservancy-owned land, officially known as the Cyrus Gates Memorial Preserve. There are beer cans and snack bags strewn about. …

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The Wildest River in the World…and How It Stayed That Way

“We’re going for Door # 2,” Maria announces. “We think there’s enough space between the icebergs and Gateway Knob.” We push off and row against the strong current of the Alsek River. A moment later, we’re squeezing a raft between the island and a set of massive icebergs, while the current tries to yank us into a whirlpool of exquisite …

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Once

  On late evenings like this one I’ll collapse into bed still dressed and dirty and too tired to change.   I smell of wood smoke and bamboo and my long sleeves are soaked wet with creek water. Most of the time, my bedtime stories tell themselves. Nights often end this way after countless days saturated by water and fire, …

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Paddling with Ghosts: A Long Strange Journey Down the Spokane River

Rivers teach us, and I wanted the Spokane River to teach me. When I began working for the Spokane Riverkeeper, newly arrived in eastern Washington, I knew I had to see the whole river for myself. My Riverkeeper colleagues had long lived along its banks and they do an impressive job of protecting their river, but they hadn’t paddled the …

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A Journey Home: The Skagit from Source to Sea

A large drop of rain fell on my leg. Then another. A deep boom of thunder reverberated through the mountain peaks. It began to pour. The rain dripped from the trees and shrubs, cascading onto the ground in rivulets and feeding, right there at our feet, the tiny creek that was the source of the Skagit River. These particular drops …

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