On Wednesday, March 21, Greg Hatten and company left Springfield, Oregon to start a Grand Adventure; the recreation of a historically significant trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in boats that “linked” Oregon to the history of river running through that National Park.
Says Greg, “In 1962, Keith Steele built two McKenzie Style Drift Boats here in theMcKenzieRivervalley for some river runners to take on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Those boats were so successful at handling the Big Water of the Colorado they became the boat designs of preference and are the basic design that is still used today for most Colorado River dories.”
Here is a clip of that historic endeavor.
Greg explains, “To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that run, we have re-built replicas of those two boats, the Susie Too and the Portola, and will be launching on March 20th with three other historic wood boats.”
Here’s a clip about the boats as they were being built:
NPR aired a feature on the adventure and the boats on OPB – Morning Edition (audio bye Jes Burns here).
Greg says, “We’re filming a documentary as we park the boats where they parked them in 1962, camping where they camped, and recording the visual changes to the river in 50 years. We are taking a videographer, a professional photographer, and a freelance writer.” You can read about their adventures here, at their daily blog at www.historicriverboatsafloat.org .
Pendleton has supported this endeavor with some National Park Series blankets, used as bedrolls by our intrepid crew. And they will be needing our wool on their 286 mile journey. With Oregon’s latest weather, Greg and company departed in the snow. But as he says, “Somewhere on our journey, Spring will come!”
Below is a slideshow, with shots of talks Greg‘s done at Eugene malls, shots of the boats under construction, and a few of Greg in action on other runs. Be sure to check the crew’s blog for photos of the boats, the blankets and the crew.
After the trip, you can see the boats at the Wood Boat Festival on the McKenzie River (Oregon) and the Wood Boat Festival (Port Townsend, WA), where they will be featuring all five of the historic replica boats in their festival this year.
Wooden boats, a determined crew, the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. It truly is a Grand Adventure.
Illustration by Dan Burr, used with permission