Paddling the Hanford Reach

On May 19, 2013, I along with Jordan Youngs of the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, and a couple of happy paddlers from Seattle set out with two guides from Columbia Kayak Adventures for an amazing kayak trip down the Columbia River at the Hanford Reach National Monument. I have hiked the White Bluffs of the Hanford Reach National Monument on several occasions and it is featured in my Day Hiking Eastern Washington book.

Seeing the Bluffs from wat

er, however was a completely different experience. Here on the longest free-flowing non-tidal section of the Columbia River we paddled through a juxtaposition of two worlds. On our left was some of the last virgin shrub-steppe left in Washington  On our right were the remnants of the birth of the Atomic Age. It was hauntingly beautiful. We watched white pelicans fly overhead–eagles and herons too. And the bank

s of the river housed 1,000s of swallow nests. We encountered only a few other people on the river this beautiful 80-degree sunny Sunday. The Hanford Reach is one of the classic landscapes and natural features of Washington, yet it has been visited by few folks in comparison to Mount Rainier, the Olympics, and other state landmarks. I will be writing a piece on kayaking the reach in an upcoming issue of Northwest Travel. Check it out–and consider paddling one of the most spectacular places in the Evergreen State



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