SKAMOKAWA - Elderhostel West is offering Lower Columbia River "Explore and Discover" fall kayak programs for adults 55 and over that will follow Lewis and Clark's exact Nov. 7, 1805, route winding through sloughs, ancient spruce swamps, and tidal marsh islands and take kayakers below dramatic cliffs ablaze in fall colors.

"This is the fifth year of successful kayak-based Elderhostel programs at Skamokawa Center on the waterfront in Skamokawa. It's a historic river town, the site of a former Wahkiakum Indian village where Lewis and Clark traded on their way to the Pacific," according to Sara Drake, Elderhostel West program manager.

Drake explained, "No kayaking experience is necessary because patient and experienced exploration guides provide the kayak training needed for success and enjoyment on the river; spray skirts and jackets keep paddlers comfortable and dry in all weather."

The four Elderhostel kayak tour dates are Sept. 26 to 30, Oct. 14 to 18, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 (Halloween Party), and Nov. 13 to 17, with full moon nocturnal wildlife tours on Steamboat Slough included the first and last dates.

Senior Skamokawa Center guide/historian Andrew Emlen observed that the Skamokawa area, adjacent to 40,000 acres of national wildlife refuge, offers the best kayaking on the Columbia River. Emlen added, "This area also offers one of the few sections of the Lewis and Clark trail where paddlers can see natural landscapes much the same as what the Corps of Discovery saw 200 years ago, complete with wildlife such as bald eagle, beaver, otter and herds of elk."

Accommodations are in modern rooms in historic Skamokawa Inn, three-course dinners feature Jefferson's favorite Madeira glazes and brandied fruit, and evening programs include talks and slide shows on river history and live performances of classical music from Jefferson's music library and folk music played along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

Program fees are $647 double; $120 single supplement and include lodging, meals, kayaking, classes and more. To register for program # 11780 contact Elderhostel at (877) 426-8056, (www.elderhostel.org), or for further information contact Skamokawa Center at (888) 920-2777, or (www.skamokawakayak.com).

Elderhostel, now in its 30th year, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving educational needs of adults 55 and older. Last year 170,000 older learners participated in 10,000 Elderhostel programs in the U.S. and around the world.

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