What a great summer!…and a fun day on the McKenzie.

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I am full of gratitude this August 10, with summer still in full swing, but with noticeably less time left before school starts, the tourists dwindle and TCKC shop hours go back to “non-peak”. This time last year I was unable to do most things I enjoy to stay busy… paddling, hiking, biking, yoga, etc.  I was in a lot of pain and not sleeping well because of it.  The smoke was really thick…labeled “hazardous” most days by the DEQ.  To sum it up, relative to other summers it wasn’t at the top of my “first world” list.

This summer, however, has been awesome.  I’ve had too many fun adventures to really describe and my time off has been high-quality.  I’m keenly aware of my health–that I’m NOT limping around–so every time I hit a hiking trail or paddle a cool stretch of water I’m thankful.

Since this is supposed to be a paddling blog (sort of) I’ll catch you up on some cool and very accessible paddling I experienced last month in July.  I was lucky enough to get out to the McKenzie River with a great crew. As described by the one adult male on the trip, he felt like Charles Angels.  Essentially it was five ladies and myself–all of us paddleboarding–plus Jayson and his young son.  This was a frisky ripples section for sure… Blue River to Silver Creek.  All class II’s with the exception of Mama’s Pies or “Screamer” as it’s also called depending on who is describing it.  The McKenzie is beautiful….   https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1526/

I was with a group of women who all have interesting backgrounds.  Each fairly new to the sport but with the exception of one, mostly comfortable paddleboarding on swiftwater.  I think everyone came home with a “win”.

Megan caught a surf wave for the first time “on the fly”.  She’s impressive (for many reasons) but in this context, because she is paddling a hard board, meaning a non-inflatable.  Way more challenging because it is more responsive (tippy).  Yah Megan!

Erica hadn’t paddled a bunch, especially class II’s, but did really well.  For kayakers, class II’s might not seem like any big deal but standing up through them on a SUP.?..well that’s a different story. It takes balance and practice.

Christie has a unique background.  She’s only been out two or three times on swiftwater with a SUP.  However, Christie is a veteran class 5 kayaker who was sponsored and traveled the pro circuit for years.  A decade at least.  She knows how to read water, has no fear of class 2’s or 3’s and surfs river waves.  She’s a natural.  And also a totally cool chick.

Erica’s sister was visiting from out of town and had never been on a paddleboard but thought she’d give it a go.  That’s pretty fearless in my opinion.  Way to go!

We had our “Charlie”…in the form of Jayson who was also a long time class 5 kayaker and knew Christie from back in the day.  Jayson supported us by raft providing us our hydration, lunch, endless encouragement and all-round great conversation.

Really there was no drama or earth shattering stories to tell about that day.  It was just plain fun.  Everyone fell in at least once.  Everyone stayed on their board in some stance or another through more rapids than not.  We laughed.  The weather was amazing.  We all helped shuttle and prep and unload.  It was a perfect day on the river. One like many more I hope to come. Thank you friends.  Thank you mama nature and her waterways and thank you summer 2018 for being so grand.

Some shameless promotion… first, an Intro to Swiftwater SUP in a few weeks from Warm Springs to Trout Creek I will be co-instructing with Paul Clark.  If you’re wanting to learn, this is an awesome section.  You can get more info or reserve your spot at Tumalo Creek Intro to SUP

Also, beginning on September 11, from 7-9pm at Deschutes Tap room, in collaboration with Kris Jamieson of Backyard Bend, we will be presenting a casual interviewing/storytelling event monthly.  Two guests from the community with fascinating and (hopefully) entertaining stories to tell from the paddling and outdoor rec community.  Jaymo and I will laugh a lot I’m sure.  That’s guaranteed.  The rest of you is yet to be seen.

Finally, in partnership with Sam Drevo and eNRG Kayaking, he and I will be hosting a Fall Fun Camp.  It will be paddling-centric (raft, IK and/or SUP) but a bunch of camp activities on site at Camp Talaoli are available including frisbee golf, bocce ball, ping pong, corn hole, and an outdoor pool to name a few.  All kinds of scenic hikes nearby, with one camp-shuttled hike on Saturday to Shellburg falls. Meals and campfires..complete with S’Mores included. Details to follow at enrgkayaking.com.

Thanks for listening and happy paddlin’…

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