River Life

So Cal, you have your sparkling beach break; Jersey, you have your shore. But here in Oregon, our summertimes are defined by “river life.” Actually, it defines both summer and winter—one season, you go to the river, and one season, you think about how awesome it’s gonna be when you get to go to the river again.

The Sandy, the Clackamas, the Washougal, the Lewis … I know it’s not that time of year yet, but I’ve been persevering through rain, cold, and darkness for the next chance to toast on some round river rocks alongside one of these mighty rivers. And I know I’m not alone.


Come mid-June or so, river spots become a replacement for bars and parks and other places to gather. And if you have the whole day, then you’re obviously about to float. Required: Intertube, coozie, sunnies, and river shoes (kicked Vans slip-ons work great!).


Floating from one spot to the next provides soft, lazy hours of quiet, allowing you to contemplate the way the tree tips touch the sky and the odd birch leaf spiraling down stream at the exact same pace as you. Of course, if someone happens to bring a floating cooler, then things get a little loose out there on the river. Only within the realms of fun and safety, though, you understand. You come home from a day like that all sandy, sun-tanned and tired—but good-tired, you know? Ah, river life!


Like I said, I know it’s not summer yet, but my bones are positively ACHING for a river day in the extremely near future. See you out there?

A beauteous rope-swing spot near Hood River.


Lefty loves his unca’ Justin!


The journey is its own reward.