Wooden drift boats are works of art. So why take one down the rocky Rogue River?
I have always wanted a time machine.
And I’ve been looking for one ever since childhood.
Greg Hatten has built one.
It’s pretty simple. Not the sci-fi version you might imagine — with the flashing lights and whirling gizmo parts and mish-mash of wires.
This one is made of wood. Just wood.
And brass oarlocks.
On dry land, it’s static — beautiful and static — like a piece of fine furniture. The attention to craft can be seen in alternating colors of wood, patterns of grain, fit precisely in joints. The hull is symmetrical, flared in the middle and coming together with an elegant sweep into points at either end.
It is the perfection of form and function. Just big enough for a boater and gear, but small enough to row with delicate finesse between rocks. Its flat bottom makes it stable enough to stand in and well-suited for shallows.
It is a descendant of fishing boats from ancient times called dories. And this one is a historic replica dating back to the 1930s, when wooden dories were being adapted to Oregon rivers, creating what is now known as the iconic McKenzie River drift boat.