Sauvie Island: Part One

Looking upstream on the Multnomah Channel.

It is a fifty mile trip to circumnavigate Sauvie Island, and one day, I plan to paddle it. Or rather, over the course of a few days…it’s no afternoon jaunt.

The best access to the Multnomah Channel, or the western channel of the Columbia River around the island, is at the Sauvie Island Boat Ramp. There is a perfect little ramp for launching your board or other watercraft and ample parking. Once on the water, you can head either upstream (south), or downstream (north). If you head south you will pass many lovely floating homes on the left side bank, and look on with envy at such an idyllic lifestyle. If you head north, as I did, you will get more of an undisturbed river experience as you pass by banks of poplars and elm trees, keeping an eye out for the occasional blue heron and maybe even a mink or river otter.

I paddled up the right, or east bank of the river against a stiff but very manageable breeze. After about an hour I headed back on the west side, noting the strange little beaches with their odd collections of old dinghies and river clutter. I passed a rather large sailing schooner that was moored to a private dock with a man washing the grime off of her decks.

It was a peaceful evening paddle with the wind at my back on the return trip. In part two of my Sauvie Island log I plan to put in farther downstream and round the point, stay tuned!