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Smooth waters make Scappoose Bay a great kayaking location for newbies and experienced kayakers.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - Ben Anicker, rental lead at Next Adventure in Warren, giving advice on a warm Saturday afternoon. If you want to connect with nature and enjoy the blue, still waters of Scappoose Bay on a warm summer afternoon, you can learn to kayak.

You don't have to be a seasoned kayaker, either. This activity is open to all ages and experience levels.

Ben Anicker, rental lead at Next Adventure Scappoose Bay Paddling Center in Warren, said kayaking is a simple way to enjoy Columbia County's waterways.

"For most people, kayaking is relaxing," Anicker said. "It's a lot simpler than putting your sailboat in the water. You'll be able to access a lot of spots you wouldn't be able to with a motorized boat."

Kayaking is also increasingly popular among sportspeople, Anicker noted.

"A lot of fishermen are moving to kayaks because, again, there are spots you can't reach in a boat, that you can in a kayak," he said. "Every year, there's a new fishing kayak that makes it more efficient."

Pedal-drive kayaks are available for anglers, allowing the ability to fling out your fishing pole and catch a fish.

Whether you're fishing or enjoying the scenery, Scappoose Bay's smooth water surface is a big draw for visitors, from the St. Helens and Scappoose regions, and beyond.

"I would like to think that Scappoose Bay is probably the most popular kayaking spot in the County," Anicker said. "The Scappoose Bay almost has lake-like water, very flat, no tide occurrence."

Anicker said as the waters get lower on the bay, canals form through the vegetation.

"It's almost like little calm streams that you pedal through," he said. "You are surrounded by trees, which is super-nice on a hot day. You'll see plenty of bird life. A lot of our customers are birdwatchers."

Anicker said a kayaker, on any given day, may be lucky enough to see herons, baby otters, beavers, osprey and bald eagles.

Strangely enough, Anicker said there are huge microorganism colonies that you can find under the water surface.

"They look like little aliens under the water that are floating around," he said.

Kayakers have many options in the county.

"From here at Scappoose Bay, you can paddle out to Sand Island and spend a day out there," Anicker said. "It's a blast."

Another option is traveling out to Warrior Rock and the lighthouse, located at Sauvie Island.

"All the wildlife is amazing," Anicker said.

Be aware that while the waters are smooth on Scappoose Bay, waters can be a bit rougher on the Multnomah Channel due to currents and the wind.

"The Columbia does get pretty rough," Anicker pointed out. "I try go out in the mornings, when it's a lot calmer, before the winds kick up."

Anicker notices that it can be a family affair where he works at Next Adventure. He sees all ages.

"Definitely there are a lot of families, usually groups of four, a couple of parents, a couple of kids," he said. "It's definitely family-oriented out here, as the water is super-calm. There is no worry about kids being in rough water, or anything like that."

Anicker will take time to explain the nuts and bolts of kayaking to a newbie.

"We generally will go over the basics with them," he said. "I will say it is one of the easiest hobbies to get into, as people go out every day for the first time out here. They don't have any problems and they have a blast."

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