Labor Day is fastly approaching, and for some of you it’s the last hurrah of the summer. So let’s go out with a bang.
Labor Day, or the working man’s holiday, was first proposed by labor union leader Peter Maguire in 1882. It was celebrated in New York City on September 5th of that year. It gained popularity across the nation in 1884, and in 1887 Oregon became the first state to legislate Labor Day as a holiday. I guess we really were Trailblazers. In 1894 Congress follow suit and declared the first Monday in September a legal holiday. Why the first Monday in September? It was halfway between Independence day and Thanksgiving. Clever. Oh, and by the way, you can’t wear white after Labor Day. This means you Michael. Here are some things you should consider doing Labor Day weekend.
Nothing says summer like floating the river. When I was a teenager every year we had the “Unboat Race” in August. It was the highlight of the summer. We would make the Unboat, which was basically a deck on inner tubes, the day and night before the race. Then at the crack of dawn we would haul it down to the river and put in. Boiled down, it was a great excuse to hang out with pretty girls in bikinis. I know, a little creepy, but give me a break here, I was a dork with a mullet, it was one of the few chances I had to hang out with girls.
There are plenty of places to float in Oregon, but you must have the basics. First, the float tube. You could go old school and get a dirty old inner tube, or you could up your game and get a float tube with a backrest and beverage holders like this one; Airhead Fiji Float Chair. For a bald guy like me I usually wear a booney hat to protect my dome from the sun, but when it’s hot out I end up taking it off. The resulting peeling on my head looks something like a reptilian/alien hybrid. Not pretty. You should bring along some sunscreen. Some type of water shoe is a must. You could wear a pair of old tennis shoes, but they fill up with water and tend to weigh you down. Flip flops would be gone a in minute. I prefer Chaco’s or Teva’s, they stay on your feet, have good traction, and work great in the water and on land. Plus you’ll look cool with the criss cross tan lines on your feet.
One of the best rivers to float is the Sandy. It’s close to Portland, slow and does not have a lot of rapids. There are many public beaches along the way and lots of houses, so you will have some company to give cheers to. The best route is Dabney State Recreation Area to Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site.
The Clackamas River is a little more adventurous. It has more rapids than the Sandy, and it’s more secluded. The most popular launch is from Milo McIver State Park. Here you can float down to Barton Park or Carver Park.
The Deschutes River is one of my favorite places to fly fish, and depending on where I am on the river I see a lot of people floating or rafting. Plus, if you launch in the town of Bend there’s lots of things to do, including visiting the many breweries Bend has to offer. This link will give you the skinny on floating the Deschutes from Bend. I know it’s cliche, but “Float On.”
One of my favorite lakes in the Mt. Hood National Forest is Timothy Lake. It’s probably my favorite because I’ve actually caught fish here. It has everything to offer, including; camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, you get the picture. Plus it has an awesome view of Mt. Hood. Can I still say “Awesome”. When I was a kid we said “Rad”. Now I know I can’t say that.
Oregon State Fair
You could also head to Salem for the Oregon State Fair. It starts August 25th through September 4th. What can I say about the Oregon State Fair. Weird fried foods, plenty of adult beverages, and hoping you don’t blow chunks on one of the many rides they have to offer. There are also plenty of concerts. To name a few; Dwight Yokum, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Eddie Money, and if you want to relive the “Caddyshack” soundtrack, Kenny Loggins will be there. What I like about that movie besides the dancing gopher, are the names of the cast. Ty Webb, Al Czervik, Dr. Beeper, Judge Smails, and my favorite – Lacey Underall. And for the kids there are over forty carnival rides. There are also Pig Races, Mmmmm bacon, Pony Rides, and a petting zoo with a wide assortment of baby animals; deer, ducks, wallabies, and miniature donkeys. It wouldn’t be a state fair if there wasn’t a pie eating contest. Count me out. Remember that scene in the movie “Stand by Me”, boy that was rough. I know, two movie references in one blog, but indulge me. Anyway you should check it out.
-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell