Scott Sadil is a an English teacher in Hood River, accomplished writer and a passionate fly fishermen that has started a new journey, a voyage from the mouth of the
Columbia to stitch-and-glue Swampscott dory he built last spring. Lewiston, Idaho in a
the initial 170-mile leg of his journey. Here's some insight into his journey, read on if you are ready to be inspired.
About the journey? I built Tia last year and for the first time in my life fell in love with boats and all they offer in terms of exploring new water. I didn't know how to sail. I didn't know how to row. All I knew was that a wooden boat was a beautiful thing, a delight to build and have has a companion on the water.
Last August, I made an experimental trip from Astoria to Prescott Beach, between Ranier and St. Helens (The story of this maiden voyage will appear in two parts in the Small Craft Advisor, a magazine for small boat adventurers published in Port Townsend.) Inspired by the possibilities of this sort of river travel, I decided I wanted to experience the river all the way to Lewiston, following it upstream like the adult anadromous salmonids.
I had no idea if it was really possible. Robin Cody, whose book Voyage of a Summer Sun, chronicles his 82-day journey down the length of the Columbia in a canoe, passed through Hood River this spring and told me I was nuts:
"You intend to go against the current?" Nevertheless, I've made it to Hood River, a little more fit, a little more confident in Tia and my sailing and boat handling skills.
But there's a long way to go. I launch again Thursday morning, July 11. I have a list of locals who I'm calling on to help shuttle me around the dams, both literally and symbolically the biggest obstacles for getting upriver. On the Snake I think I'll be able to go through the locks. I wonder if it's that easy for the fish.
Anyway, besides the sort adventure that people approaching the seventh decade of their lives really should embrace while they can, I hope this trip is also a little something to give back to the rivers and fish that have enriched so much of my life.