Kayaking Trip Second Time Around

Over the past long weekend( a couple of weeks month past now), my wife and I, decided to go kayaking again. July 5th to be precise. This turned out to be an awesome time to go as there were no other people except for us. Go figure – the launch time was 8:00 am.

We purchased our trip through Groupon with the company called Cascade Pack and Paddle, LLC. Our hosts were Bob and his wife Katheryn (sp), both of whom are exercising their retirement legs by doing something they love as opposed to sitting idly by. What better way than to paddle through some of the most beautiful parts of our country? (I am biased – I love the Pacific Northwest)

As this was only our second time going kayaking since our honeymoon in Australia, we are both very inexperienced at this sort of thing and a big deal is just not to roll over and out of our (my) craft once in. My wife doesn’t seem to have any problem staying in once she gets there.

As wetness is a very real possibility I didn’t have a camera on hand to snap some wonderful pics….and they would have been wonderful. I will describe as I can what is was like for us. Our trip was 4 hours long with a short break on the halfway point to our destination and once again on the way back.

We met Bob at a Park and Ride since parking had been a pain to get the day before at this same time (7:00 am-8:00 am PT). He met us in his van pulling his customized trailer made for carrying many kayaks, although today I found out there would be only my wife and I going out. I don’t know why not – early on July 5th – why everyone wouldn’t want to go. All the better for us I say.

We drive the 10 minutes to our launching point and pack all our gear into waterproof bags provided by Bob. He gets two kayaks ready for my wife and I explains where we will be launching from and where we will initially go to and where to meet up.

After all kayaks are prepped, Bob parks his van and we get into our kayaks and head out across the bay. Once we are out from the protection of the log barrier the water is a little choppy. As we are heading into the waves we make it pretty easily the 200-300 yards.

From her were head to the beginnings of a stream that breaks away from the main body of water and what we will be paddling through. Bob explains, once we to the far side, how the whole lake was formed from a volcanic eruption MANY times bigger than the 1982 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. He also goes on to explain what species of wildlife we might expect to see in the air and what we will be paddling over. This like eagles, osprey, great blue herons as well as turkey vultures. Several kinds of trout and bass were also to be contained within the waters.

We paddled for less than a mile when Bob’s wife Katheryn (sp) showed up. She was at a parking area near one of the bridges that people sometimes launch from. She decided to join us on her day off. We were glad she did as she was a pleasure to have a long.

As we paddled from the open bay to the smaller stream the water went from really freakishly warm to pretty cold. The weather was overcast, which was okay by me, but clear enough that everything was not dull to the eye.

The time down and back was amazing. Katheryn and I were buzzed by humming birds and Jess was buzzed (sort of – 10-20 above her) by a bald eagle. I am always absolutely in awe every time I see one of those magical looking birds. They may be dumb (I have heard rumors) but they do look majestic. And to have one come that close to you is awesome.

We went as far down as we could, some 3.5 miles where the stream/river narrows and met up with a small series of high rock formations that created a small waterfall. By this time the stream/river had narrowed severely and the water had grown shallow. I had even almost ran aground upon some rocks very cleverly concealed just below the surface of the water…as rocks. I mean, I had just seen Bob go over them so that means I should be able to as well right? Wrong. I displace at least 50 more pounds of weight than Bob…you do the math.

I any case it was just magical and  really helpful for us as beginners to have just our guides along because then we get all the time to ask what we want and have more of a lesson as opposed to just an outing. The last time we went out we had 14 people and 2 guides and you were just a number or if you managed to be up front or the rear you had to compete with the others that were either upfront or in the rear for time to ask questions about technique, differences between kayaks, all the sorts of things you want or need to know about if you want to do this more often.

I think to make any money the guides prefer to have larger groups because it’s all the same trip if you have 2 people or 10. I can buy into that logic in regards to making money but from the standpoint of someone just wanting to learn a bit to see if this is a hobby I want to make a more regular thing, I definitely like the smaller groups.

Once we got back to where the bay was in sight the wind had picked up and more of the revelers from the night before had slept off their celebration from the night before enough to operate a water-craft so the waves were starting to pick up a bit.

This is something that I was definitely a little nervous about since most of the stuff we have encountered so far has been mild waves or like glass. Most of the other times we were also able to head into or have the waves at our back so there was less likely a chance to be overturned by a large wave.

Since there was turning back I squared my feet on the pegs, adjusted my legs to securely place my thighs under the pads for gripping and went all in. I felt like a fishing-bobber and was really focused on just making it to the safety of the log safety-zone. There was a point where we had to run parallel to the waves on our way back which I was determined not to tip over in. It was the most concentration I have had while kayaking because as I mentioned before most of the time we have been on pretty easy water.

I was third in line behind Katherine and my wife Jessica who both seemed to handle the waved handily. Hell if I was going to dump/tip over. I focused with all my might and with some fancy body work and control managed to not embarrass myself by tipping over. Not that is would be a terrible thing, the water was warm and it wouldn’t have been be far or challenging to swim, even with the waves, I just wanted to be able to say that I did it. Sometimes it is the little things that need to be celebrated. When it was all said and done it was hella-fun and not just because I didn’t wipe out…well if I am being honest a significant portion was because I didn’t.

If you are ever interested in trying kayaking I definitely recommend using Bob and Katherine (I must have misspelled her name 4 times now – sorry!) at Cascade Pack and Paddle, LLC. Whether it is your first time or if you are experienced, friendly and definitely enjoy doing what they love and it shines through while you are in their company.

More to come…

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