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Posts tagged ‘Pendleton Blankets’

Every Blanket Tells a Story: Louise Kelly

We first saw this blanket when Judy Goodman of Joseph, Oregon, contacted us for information on a blanket that belonged to her grandmother, Louise Kelly.

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The label identified it as a Rainier National Park blanket, but it’s so very different from our current version that we knew it was a special treasure.

Label_web We reached out to our National Park blanket expert, Fred Coldwell of Denver, Colorado. He identified the blanket right away. Here is his information:

The blanket is Pendleton’s very first Rainier National Park Blanket, No. 18, introduced on February 1, 1928. It had overstitched ends and a border design of flowers (lupine, paint brush and daisy) on one of three color bodies (white, light blue or moss green).

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These three flowers are found on Mt. Rainier in these subspecies: Broadleaf Lupine, Dwarf Lupine, Magenta Paintbrush, Scarlet Paintbrush, Subalpine Daisy. They can be seen here under Subalpine flowers in the Blue/Purple Pink/Red folders.

Back to the blanket. Four points (indicating the 66″ x 80″ size) were sewn into the lower left hand corner of the blanket’s large center field. This blanket came in only one size, 66″ x 80″, and was made with virgin wool on a cotton warp. It was wrapped in paper for packing. The wholesale price was $9.00 in 1928 and 1929. This Rainier Park Blanket is listed in Pendleton’s February 1, 1928 Wholesale Price List No. 6 and in the March 1, 1929 Wholesale Price List No. 8. But it had disappeared by 1934-35 when retail Catalog No. 11 was issued. I have no information about it from late 1929 to 1933, but I imagine it was a casualty of the early 1930s Depression.

Ms. Goodman was thrilled to have Fred Coldwell’s information. When we asked her if she’d like to share the blanket on our blog, it spurred her to do some serious family research; not just the names, dates, family tree kind of research, but research into her grandmother’s story. How did she come to the Northwest? How did this blanket tie into her life? The story of a blanket is also the story of the person who owned it. We would like to share Louise’s story, as told by her granddaughter.

My grandmother, Louise Kelly, was born on October 26, 1906 to John and Mattie (Landreth) Evans in Taberville, MO. Like many families of this era, Louise had eleven brothers and sisters. She rode a horse to school and purchased school supplies by exchanging farm eggs at the store. Once she’d finished eighth grade, Louise (at age 12 or 13) had to stay home to care for all the other small children in the family. Some of her brothers were never able to attend school. They stayed to work the farm with their father.

Louise married at the age of 24 and gave birth to her first child (my mother, Wilma) in 1931. My uncle was born a few years later. The family farmed, raised chickens, made their own blankets and clothes, and preserved fruits and vegetables. They managed to survive the Great Depression and were looking at a new future when this photo was taken of Louise in 1941 near Mt. Rainier on a trip to Yakima, Washington.

(Louise Kelly, 1941)

(Louise Kelly, 1941)

The family was taken with the West. Eight years later, the family finally saved enough to move there, settling in Zillah, Washington. My mother was a senior in high school when her father suffered a heart attack. My grandmother Louise found herself widowed with two teenagers. She worked two jobs to support her family, running her own morning café and cooking at another restaurant at night. 

(Louise [left] and her daughter Wilma [right] in front of Louise’s café [obviously the dog didn’t want to be in the photo])

(Louise [left] and her daughter Wilma [right] in front of Louise’s café [obviously the dog didn’t want to be in the photo])

Percy Kelly was a business man who enjoyed breakfast every morning at my grandmother’s café. He was a potato dealer – buying potatoes right from the field, sorting and bagging them in a warehouse in Toppenish, WA, then shipping by rail using “ice” stops along the way to keep the potatoes cool. He had also lost his wife in 1949. Percy asked Louise out on a date, but she was too busy with work and family. One day at the café, Percy took off his suit jacket, rolled up his shirt sleeves and started to wash dishes with Louise just so he could spend time with her. That was the beginning of their love story, and how this beautiful Pendleton Mt. Rainier Blanket came into my possession.

Percy (who I knew as Papa) and Louise were married in 1951 and moved to the Columbia Basin in 1952. They grew potatoes near Winchester, Washington. Papa was a member of the Washington State Potato Commission. They built their own potato storage and started to ship potatoes. This was the beginning of their potato empire, and their life together. Percy had two daughters who were still in high school at the time. My mother started college and her brother enlisted in the Army.

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Louise always loved Mt. Rainier. This photo of the mountain and a CCC camp at its base hung on the wall of her home for most of her life.

It is possible that the Mt. Rainier Park blanket was a wedding gift to Louise and Percy, but more than likely it was a wedding gift for Percy and his first wife in 1929. The blanket remained in the family all of these years. It was often stored in a cedar trunk that came into my possession in 1999 when Louise passed away. “Percy loved beautiful handcrafted things,” his daughter, Jeanette Burk, recently told me in a phone conversation. “He liked well-crafted items made of leather and wool, and he definitely would have wanted this blanket for his family.”

So that is the story of one National Park Blanket and the person (and family) it belonged to.  The blanket spends most of its time displayed in Judy’s Oregon home. Currently, the blanket  is on display at Wallowology (www.wallowology.org) where Judy works. Above it is Louise’s Pendleton 49’er jacket, a beauty that appears to have all its original shell buttons—a rarity. You can pay both of these treasures a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.

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Our thanks to Judy for sharing her grandmother’s story and her photos.

Pendleton on The Voice with Pharrell and Sawyer Fredericks

It was exciting to see our blankets on NBC’s The Voice, as stage dressing during a finale performance by Pharrell Williams and his protege Sawyer Fredericks.

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Yes, there among the beanbag chairs and the super-chill tambourine girls swaying gently to the “Summer Breeze,” you can see our blankets; Heroic Chief, Mountain Majesty, and Compass Stripe.

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Sawyer is an Americana musician. Our American-made blankets bring just the right American vibe for him. From what we understand, the blankets were given as gifts to the crew after filming wrapped.

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You can watch the performance here:

And the big moment here:

Because, guess what? SAWYER WON! But that’s not even the most exciting part.

When our UK partners tweeted a link to this Instagram:

The man himself retweeted it!

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Yes, a good day around Pendleton Woolen Mills. You can follow us on Twitter @pendletonwm. And as always, you can get your blankets at pendleton-usa.com.

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C & I, Pendleton Jacquard Plates, Cups, and Tabletop Style.

We were so excited when we found just the way to showcase some of our jacquard patterns in these plate sets. Our Pendleton Home team had fun isolating the design elements, figuring out the most pleasing rations and repeats, choosing accent colors. These patterns really know how to liven up a tabletop.

Here’s a closer look at Hacienda, based on our Hacienda blanket:

jacquard_mug_hacienda jacquard_plate_hacienda

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Journey West:

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Saxony Hills:

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And everyone’s favorite pattern this year, Spider Rock:

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We are especially happy to see two of the patterns in a tabletop feature in COWBOYS & INDIANS magazine.

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Spider Rock above, Journey West below.

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And there’s no better way to set off western tableware than one of our blankets: Spirit of the Peoples shown below.

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So if you’re wanting to make sure that your first morning cup of coffee reaches your lips in a mug you’ll treasure, consider ours.

Available in sets of four per pattern here and here.

See more of our fabulous Instagram account here.

Portlandia and Pendleton. It just keeps happening.

Here in Portland, where Pendleton Woolen Mills is headquartered, we have been invested in Portlandia since it started.

The introduction at a meeting went something like this: “There’s a new show that’s going to film in Portland. Basically, it’s just going to make fun of us. And they want some product.”

We were fine with that. It wouldn’t be Portlandia without Pendleton blankets.

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Here’s a little tour of the blankets we’ve seen over the seasons.

This last season, we were honored to have our Journey West blanket as the backdrop for the dramatic and unforgettable back story of Toni and Candace, as narrated from the sofa in the Feminist Bookstore.

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One of our jackets had some sushi, too.

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We’ve been in a few more skits in Season Five, and will grab those stills as we can. But we thought it might be nice to recap the blankets of seasons past for you.

Who could forget the skit about binge-watching, back before we even knew how to call it binge-watching? Our watchers and their Glacier National Park blanket became progressively more rumpled as they watched just. One. More. Episode. Of Battlestar Galactica.

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Our favorite shot, bar none, is this one. Ah, the days of wine and Eddie Vedder. IFC gave away this fringed Chief Joseph dance shawl in a haiku contest on Facebook, back in the good old days when Facebook was a fun place to have contests.

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Our serapes made some peeks here and there, including this skit about a hippy who betrays his band of free-thinking friends by sneaking away to pursue his personal fitness goals at a gym.

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Another serape makes an appearance in a skit about an extremely disappointing brother-in-law. Even the dog is disappointed.

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Another Portlandia dog keeps company with the perpetually unemployed husband who needs a babysitter while he stays home all day, not looking for work. The dog takes center stage on our Glacier National Park throw.

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Carrie exercises “The Nuclear Option” to free herself from the tyranny of social media on our Abiquiu Sunset blanket.

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It’s never too late to sit in your immaculate Craftsman bungalow and learn the history of hip hop with our Chimayo throw, and that’s one of our Beach Shack shirts, too.

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A cringe-inducing tailgate party with Earl Grey tea and tofu meatless balls includes a quite pile of our throws and saddle blankets.

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Carrie and Fred have had so much fun at our expense. We’re looking forward to Season Six to see what else they will skewer. Portland and its earnestly recycling citizens realize that we’re great comedy fodder. There’s just so much to work with here.

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We know one day you’ll be through with us, Portlandia. But until then?

Carry on, Portlandia. Carry on.

Dear Mom, Happy Mother’s Day from @pendletonwm on Instagram

Dear Mom,

We realize you’ve been doing this mom thing for a long time. From the very beginning, even.

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We want you to realize that we appreciate everything you do.

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Like teaching us the basics, including fingers and toes:

Another day for being thankful. @mama_jbird #HeroicChiefBlanket #thanksgiving #pendleton #family #pendletonblankets #madeinUSA

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

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And tucking us in at night, even though we are wriggling little minions:

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And getting us ready for our first day of school:

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And making special holidays for us, including muddy trips to the pumpkin patch:

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And helping us build and properly accessorize our first snowman:

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And creating family traditions that involve silly pajamas:

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and great stuff to eat:

Baking cookies on this lazy Sunday. #happyholidays #winter #cookies #baking #pendleton #plaid #tartan #lazysunday @butterandbloom

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

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We appreciate the fact that your most favorite part of the day is probably our least favorite part of the day:

Nap time with #pendelton. Photo by @thelilpeeps #sleepy #naptime #roadtrip #baby #pendletonblankets #pendletonroadtrip #pendletonwm

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

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And that sometimes, you have to take a little time for yourself.

Stay in this #weekend with #pendleton #regram from @alliemtaylor #staycation @stumptowncoffee #pendletonblankets #madeinUSA

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

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We appreciate all of that.

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So for Mother’s Day, we hope you have a little peace and quiet:

Here's to a great start for your week! photo by @samubinas #pendleton #TwinRockThrow #madeinUSA #pendletonblankets #officestyle

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

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A time for solitude:

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A space for creativity:

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And a lot of love, to you, from us.

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Because most of all, we appreciate the love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Happy Earth Day with Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool®: Sustainable, Beautiful, Responsible

EcoBeauty There are many, many products out there claiming to be green. From the sheep to the shelf, Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® passes strict standards of sustainability and stewardship, verified and certified. This means that if you were to take a Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® blanket and bury it, it would leave the earth better, not worse, for the addition. That’s a nice way to explain it, but we make blankets for you to use, not to bury. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® products are designed to be delightful to touch, easy to care for and beautifully colored. And they are woven in the USA of 100% virgin wool.

Let’s start with our new Spring throws. These are all about the fun. These fringed throws come with a leather carrier, making this the perfect take-along blanket for your trips, picnics, hikes or sporting events. Best of all, they’re washable, so if your fun involves spills, sloshes, crumbs or mud, you’re covered. Just put it in the washing machine, even though it’s 100% virgin wool. We have two colorations of our classic Surf Plaid, and our new WoolDenim which looks like ring-spun denim, front and back. FringedThrowswLeatherCarrier Also new for Spring, we have washable fringed throws in the beautiful ombre plaids you think of when you think of Pendleton.

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Be sure to check out the classic colors, too. Blocks, checks, plaids; these are just begging to be thrown over the arm of your sofa.

Our throws coordinate coordinate back to our Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® bed blankets. Here are the solids and heathers. All Wool is a perfect choice for top-of-bed. There is a subtlety to the texture, nothing shiny or artificial about it, and the colors will remain true forever. Check out the bed blankets in stripes and plaids. There are accent pillows, fabric by-the-yard, window panels and more available in Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool®.  Go warm with with traditional plaids, rustic with stripes and heathers, or keep it contemporary with checks. We have you and your bed totally covered. Blake Lively agrees! blake-lively-vogue-cover-august-2014-03_170247646998 So give us a  visit  and see all our colorful ways to be green.

Mill Tribute Blankets by Pendleton: Oregon City Woolen Mills

In 2010, Pendleton Woolen Mills introduced our Tribute Series, paying homage to the American mills that thrived during the Golden Age of Native American Trade blankets. 

tributelabels_2In the early part of the 20th century, Pendleton Woolen Mills was one of five major mills weaving Trade blankets. Oregon City Woolen Mills was perhaps our greatest competitor. Known for explosive neon colors and unique images, their banded robes are among some of the most dramatic designs produced during the heyday of the Trade blanket.

The mill sat at the base of the Oregon City Falls (the “Niagra of the West”) on the Willamette River, just down the water from Portland. This busy location held the woolen mill, a grist mill, printing presses, and other industries drawn to the site by easy river access and the power of the Falls.

The mill was the largest in the West, employing hundreds of millworkers over 30 years of operation. It had a riotous history of workforce unrest, racial strife and community turmoil. It even burned to the ground once.

Perhaps the mill’s colorful history influenced its products, as this mill’s blankets are known for their dazzling color combinations and dizzying geometric patterns. We have recreated six blankets in our Mill Tribute series for Oregon City Woolen Mills. Currently available is Oregon City Woolen Mills Tribute #6, a swirling banded robe with arrowheads in Americana colors. This pattern debuted in 1914.

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Oregon City Woolen Mills Tribute #5 is also available. This framed robe illustrates the prevailing vision of the American West in the early part of the last century: roping, wrangling, bronc busting and pony racing, along with a peaceful Indian village. The original was a children’s blanket.

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Retired blankets in the series include Oregon City #4, a coral-red and turquoise six element robe. This popular design was woven in color combinations that ranged from the garish to the sublime throughout the 1920s and 30s. We think our choice is sublime.

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Oregon City #3 is a banded pictorial robe with eye-dazzling borders and a totem pole flanked by a pair of ravens. This pattern was woven for the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909, and rewoven in many different color combinations until the 1930s.

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Oregon City #2 is a uniquely colored six element robe in teal and purple. Known as the Dragonfly pattern, our recreation of this robe was a best-seller.

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Oregon City #1 is another pictorial robe known as the Happy Hunting Ground. A hunter overlooks a bounty of fish, fowl and animals, with some amphibians, dragonflies, bees, stars and reptiles thrown in for good measure. The tools of the hunt also decorate the blanket.

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Oregon City Woolen Mills went out of business in 1932 during the Great Depression. Today, plans are afoot to restore its original site, with the Willamette Falls Legacy Project working to restore industry and public access to this beautiful area.

And if you’re wondering, Pendleton plans another Oregon City Woolen Mills tribute blanket in 2016.

#pendledog on Instagram Special Edition: Chihuahuas and Pendleton

They are the best of dogs, they are the worst of dogs. No, we are not talking about dachshunds (at least, not today). We are talking about Chihuahuas. These mighty ankle-hunters are fierce, loyal and quite adorable.

This little dog has some history. Early examples of this breed have been found in Toltec archeological sites, and it was the second breed recognized by the AKC. Today, you are most likely to find the chihuahua savagely guarding the front door from invited guests, or snuggled in a Pendleton blanket.

#modeling #litaandbeulah #chihuahuasofinstagram #rescuesofinstagram

A photo posted by Karen Berry (@karindira) on

This little beauty is reclining on one of our washable bed blankets. This is a perfect product for pet owners. Available in patterns and solids, it offers the warmth of wool in a blanket that just gets softer every time you wash it. And, with pets, that’s probably going to be fairly often.

Good night🌳💤💫 Sweet dreams💭🌙;-) 🌹 ☆ #goodnight 🌙#pendleton

A photo posted by Risa Itagaki (@rrriissaaa) on

Here’s a Chihuahua relaxing with one of our Pendleton Spa Towels. These towels have amazed us with their popularity. On Instagram, you can watch these cotton beauties make their way to beaches all over the world–and there are so many dogs in the shots!

A longhaired Chi wrapped in one of our Tartan throws. Because isn’t it all about the Merino wool luxury?

We understand that some of you are reluctant to let your dogs near a blanket. For those of you who feel that way, we have exciting news coming about a new line of Pendleton pet products. You’re going to love it, and more information is coming soon.

Sometimes, It’s okay to be set dressing: Casualife of Canada and Pendleton Woolen Mills

Casualife is Canada’s premiere outdoor furniture company. They recently ran a stunning series of ads using Pendleton Home products to set off their beautiful designs.

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You can see the Diamond Desert bed blanket, as well as the Rio Concho pillows. Here is a little bit better view of our blanket, with its story below.

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We found this treasure in a box of old photographs stored in our mill. Traditional Native American geometric weaving inspired its early 1900s blanket design. Beauty and balance, order and harmony are central to the Navajo world view. In this exclusive Pendleton pattern, arrows, triangles and serrated diamonds are arranged in perfect harmony, a reflection of hózhó, a Navajo word that embodies the quest for balance in life. The four strong stripes illustrate the balance and contrast between darkness and light. Diamonds represent the four sacred mountains that define the four directions and enclose the Navajo universe in the shape of a diamond. 

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This beautiful shot uses the Rio Concho pillows in another colorway, and the Quill Basket blanket.

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The Micmac (Mi’kmaq), a First Nations people of New England and eastern Canada, tell of a long-ago star that fell from the sky into the Atlantic Ocean and crawled to shore. The People called it “gog-wit” which means “eight-legged star fish.” The image appeared on petroglyphs in Nova Scotia 500 years ago. It later became the defining motif on Micmac quilled birch baskets—and the inspiration for this blanket’s central element. Porcupine quills are one of the oldest forms of embellishment found on hides and baskets. The Micmac artisans were so skilled at quillwork, the French called them “Porcupine Indians.” Their quill-decorated baskets set the standard for the craft, which flourished for centuries among Eastern, Great Lakes and Plains tribes. Later embroidery traditions using glass beads, which replaced quills in the mid-1800s, were built upon Micmac techniques and designs. This blanket’s intricate pattern and subtle colors, woven in our American mills, are a tribute to the ancient art of quilled basketry.

Both of these shots are magnificent, and we are proud to be eatured in them. But when we wrote to the photograp[her for permission to share them, they sent a couple of outtakes along with their release.

Wasn’t it W.C. Fields who said, “Never work with children or animals?”

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Work is done for the day, right Mr. Jack Russell? Time to hit the open road…especially since it’s Friday!

Canvas & Wool on the McKenzie by Greg Hatten

Our friend Greg Hatten writes about his “home water,” Oregon’s McKenzie River. Greg uses our Yakima Camp blankets and National Park Series blankets on his expeditions. You can learn more about the Parks and the blankets they have inspired here. But for now, just enjoy a trip on the river with Greg. 

far-campThe McKenzie River in the Cascade Range of Oregon is my “home – water” – it’s where I learned to row a drift boat and where I feel the most comfortable on the oars.  Her icy waves, aqua pools, moss covered boulders and challenging rapids bring me back again and again.  It’s a rock garden playground for a wood drift boat and a 90 mile paradise for native redside rainbow trout as the river makes its way down the valley and folds into the Willamette River on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Tall stands of Douglas fir, western hemlock and red cedar line the banks and steep hills forming a solid curtain of subtle shades of green on both sides of the river. As the McKenzie cuts through the Willamette National Forest, there are small pockets and openings within the dense trees to camp alongside the river.

For 8,000 years, this river was home to Native Americans – mostly of the Kalapuya and the Molala tribes.  In 1812 it was explored by the Pacific Fur Company and was named for the expedition leader, Donald Mackenzie.

Camping in canvas and wool seems appropriate in this place and my mind drifts back in time 200 years as I set up the tent in a small clearing of towering  trees.  With so little evidence of civilization around us, it’s easy to wonder what those explorers in 1812 experienced as they reached this spot on the river, what they saw, how they camped, how they fished, and cooked and ate.

I spread a Pendleton blanket (Badlands National Park) over the floor of the teepee tent, unfurled the cowboy bedrolls and enjoyed the coziness of the shelter for a moment before starting a campfire .  The oars from the boat become a triangle “lamp stand” when lashed together and the camp lantern hanging above our campsite gives off a warm glow casting playful shadows on the ground and tent.  It’s a comfortable camp filled with nostalgia and authenticity.

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Most of my river guests prefer an overnight experience that includes running water, indoor toilets, soft beds, clean sheets, and WIFI.  Not these guests! These guests requested a unique and rustic adventure filled with wood boats, canvas tents, wool blankets, and warm campfires. They wanted to get away from cell phones, computers, and modern conveniences.   It’s an unfiltered McKenzie River experience they seek – a direct connection to the explorers and pioneers that originally explored this McKenzie River Valley.

That evening we ate smoked salmon, fresh vegetables, pasta, and organic strawberries that were so sweet they tasted like they’d been soaking in a brine of sugar water.  After dinner the smoky smell of the campfire complemented the scotch we drank as we talked about the day and made our plans for the next.

Our canvas tent and bedrolls sat on a layer of pine needles and loose soil that created such a soft quiet cushion, sleep came easy.  We inhaled the evergreen aroma of pine and I wondered if it was the same smell two hundred years ago.  The sounds of the running river were close enough to hear but not close enough to disturb as we slumbered away under a canopy of dark swaying boughs overhead.

Morning came early and we broke camp quickly so we could get to the pressing business of river running in a wood boat.  The Class III Marten’s Rapid was on our river agenda and on my mind all morning as we navigated minor rapids and fished our way to the top of this most treacherous rapid on the McKenzie.  As usual, we heard it before we saw it with its low growl that warned of danger.  Two days before us, a drift boat hit the left wall so hard it left a mark on the rock – the moment of impact was captured by a photographer below the rapid and the picture was plastered all over web sites and facebook.

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When the river is low in mid summer, the slot gets narrow and the holes get deep so we pull into an eddy behind “house rock” at the top of the rapid to catch our breath and confirm our line.  The path looks more complicated than usual.  We pushed out of the eddy and picked up speed.  We put the nose of the boat as close to the “can opener” rock as possible and then pulled hard to miss it by a foot.  A rebounding wave off the rock knocked us off course a little and sent us flying towards the wall on the left.  Digging the oars deep, slowed the boat just enough to narrowly miss the wall.  We immediately dropped into a series of sharp swells that tried to swallow the boat and soaked us with breaking waves over the prow.   It was a roller coaster ride with two big holes at the bottom, which we threaded and then pulled over to dry off and bail water out of the boat.  Quite a ride!!

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Some of my favorite rapids on the river are below Marten’s.  They are technical but not brutal and the boat moved with elegance – threading rocks, skirting eddies and working in perfect harmony with the river. The afternoon was hot and sunny as we settled into a rhythm of rowing rapids and fly fishing for trout.

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The last fish brought to the boat that day was a beautiful native redside rainbow trout, a fitting end to a throw-back adventure of Canvas & Wool on the McKenzie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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