In 2014, John Roskelley published the book Paddling the Columbia, a guide that pinpoints the necessary logistics for paddling the 1,200-plus miles of the Columbia River. The book has become one of the most significant paddling guides in the Northwest.
This spring, Roskelley took on another regional river. On May 15, 2018, he posted on Facebook that he paddled 137 miles on the Lower Snake River, from Clarkston, Idaho, to Sacajawea State Park on the Columbia River. According to his post, he started the trip in his Necky Kayak on April 24 with blue skies and provisions for five days, finishing on April 29. “There were two days on the river I didn’t see more than one or two motor boats,” he says in his post. “The other days I saw maybe five to 10. I never saw a kayak or canoe. The Lower Snake is definitely underutilized by paddlers.”
Keep in mind, the trip required Roskelley to portage around Lower Granite Dam, Little Goose Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, and Ice Harbor Dam. These are significant stand-alone tasks that require a lot of time and energy. Nevertheless, many people speculate Roskelley may become the first person to paddle the length of the Columbia River and the Snake River. If so, a new comprehensive paddling guide will surely follow.
[Feature photo by Harley McAllister]