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Rec program explores Ross Island

Pear - Creatively Mentoring Homeless Youth

From Rec Coordinator Nathan:

p:ear set out on another successful paddle in cooperation with Adventures Without Limits.  Six youth arrived at the Willamette Park around 10:30 a.m.  After gearing up and a quick paddling overview we eased into the gentle flowing waters of the Willamette River.  Paddling across the main artery we settled into an easy flow up the east side of Ross Island.  The perspective is always interesting from a kayak.  The views are unique and ones not often seen from any other vantage point.  We cruised below the Springwater Trail with peaks into the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, discoveries of decades old and rusted rail line protruding from the eroded bank’s edge and a small blue heron rookery, seeing 9 birds in total.  Cruising up towards the northern most point of Ross Island, we stopped for lunch.  While relatively serene and tranquil, reminders of the city weren’t far off: cars zipping over the Ross Island Bridge, the activity of Ross Is. Sand & Gravel Co. and construction of the new multi-use bridge.

We made our way back towards our launch site after noshing on turkey sandwiches, bananas and chips.  Paddling against the current can sometimes be a challenge; however, we were dealt ideal conditions for the day, no wind and a waning moon, making our trip back just as relaxing as the paddle out.
From the moment we put on the kayaking gear to the time we got off the water it was once again evident to me how important it is to get these youth outside.  Their daily trials and tribulations had melted away… everything in those moments was perfect for them.  They could breathe again, feeling refreshed, invigorated, satisfied.  How awesome it is to see these youth so alive in nature.