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  • Radford Bean

Waldo Lake Paddle Trip - Day 3

A strong wind started blowing almost from the moment I got out of my sleeping bag. Looking out over the lake, I could see it full of whitecaps. This was the windiest day I had experienced since my arrival on Thursday.

After breakfast my group of paddlers from Kayak Portland decided to head out onto the water, but first I wanted to get a picture of us all. Getting the picture with me in it proved to be a real exercise. The wind kept blowing the boats out of position. I also had to set my camera on the timer and run through the water, hop into my canoe, and grab my paddle, all within 10 seconds. It took several tries and getting soaked, but I eventually captured the shot.

I headed back to my campsite briefly to put my camera away because I didn't want to chance bringing it with me in my canoe considering how choppy the water was.

I tried to catch up with the group, but the wind was so strong that my canoe kept being blown parallel to the waves. I tried paddling on my knees from the center of the canoe to lower my center of gravity, but that proved futile. I eventually gave up and headed back to camp, frustrated that my last day of paddling at Waldo Lake was going to be a bust.

Since I couldn't paddle, I decided to break camp and get loaded up. I figured that as fast as the winds came up on Waldo Lake, they might also subside just as quickly. No such luck. By noon the winds had yet to let up. Finally around one o'clock the winds subsided, but by then I had my canoe on my SUV and was all set to head home.

Three and a half hours later, I was back home and unloading my vehicle. I sure would have liked to stay and paddle longer at Waldo Lake. I had even contemplated staying another night, but I was so tired and had so much cleaning up to do when I got home that I was glad I chose to come home when I did.

All in all despite the wind, I thought my trip was a success. I found Waldo Lake to be quite beautiful, but the unpredictability of the winds makes me reluctant to paddle the lake again. I suppose it is much easier to paddle if you paddle a kayak or don't paddle a canoe solo. If I lived closer to the lake, knew what the wind conditions were going to be like, and could journey there for day trips, I would find paddling Waldo Lake more enticing. That isn't to say I won't go again at some point--I still have the north section of Waldo Lake to explore, but that's a trip that will probably happen a few years down the road.

However, if you have never paddled Waldo Lake, I highly recommend doing so. A trip to Waldo Lake should rank right up there with paddling Hosmer, Sparks, and the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail.

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