After the late night gabfest (from which we mostly learned that Risa is a born pessimist and The Cowboy a born optimist), we rose late, ate late (no more food, now!), found excuses to hang around and explore the island, and finally struck camp and departed after nine a.m.
The next point of interest was our last break and one of the most interesting. A cluster of rock islands, rising abruptly from boulder-strewn water with more than a little current, stands sentinel for the Great Waterfall. We could explore them a bit, but our appointment called us onward to the take-out landing, a mile away.
The Cowboy would have liked to stay longer; most of the vegetation here is not the usual riparian cottonwood, etc., but falls within his comfort zone, with viney maples, madrone, cascara, and a decent island forest of fir trees and sword ferns.
We took to the back channel and drifted until we came out into the sunshine in view of the landing.
"I see a red pickup in the parking lot," crowed Risa.
"No way you can see a truck that far away."
She took out her monocular and checked.
"Yep, that's our truck."
They paddled on, and just as Risa anticipated, on the shore stood Beloved, waving. In her other hand she carried a cloth shopping bag with two quarts of fresh blueberries -- one for each of them.
4.5 mile day; 145 river miles. With all the back channel exploration, Risa and the Cowboy covered about 155 miles in the eight day paddle. You can, too, but watch for strainers ("do as I say, and not as I did ..."). It's a fabulous river but it plays no favorites; you are on your own out there. Wear your PFD, carry a whistle, know and obey the laws and river rules, and use common sense. Waterproof map/guide books are available (for a check) from Willamette Riverkeeper, /http://www.willamette-riverkeeper.org/WRK/, or you can download the PDF files. Happy paddling!