I recently helped organize the World Kayak Family Fun Day on the beautiful White Salmon River and met some awesome kids. Amedeo is 10 years old and he enjoyed the day with his parents and his sister Aurora who is 7 years old. Both these kids were patient, kind and full of smiles. Amedeo said “ The most awesome part of the ride was Dead Man’s Corner, definitely!” He was not scared on his new rafting adventure but Aurora said she was. “ I felt like I was gonna fall off the boat” she mentioned but would do it again because” it was freaky and fun!” Aurora’s favorite part of the day was watching a few of my family members jump off the bridge to cool off just before the rafting trip. She said, “ It was funny…because I mean who would jump off a bridge?” When I got home from the weekend I had received a touching email about the McCrary-Bond’s day on the White Salmon. In the email Amadeo said it was the best day of his life. The parents, Kelola McCrary and Quinn Bond also mentioned how much fun they had. They waited so patiently for their turn as a family to take a raft trip and said “ I believe that our family has just stepped into a whole new thing.” On the same day I also met the bubbly Victoria Sell who is 7 years old. She wrote the following to me,” I had the best boating day you ever wished for! It was better than anything you would ever imagine! It had the best-est splashes, and everyone giggled they were so cold and wet! Everyone had tons of fun.” She went on to write to me about the castle she saw on the Lower White Salmon and the new friends she made at the BBQ. She went on to say “ Rafting isn’t dangerous for big kids like me! It was an epic day!” The one thing I found in common with all these adventurous kids was they all wanted to go again! Thank you Amadeo, Aurora and Victoria for sharing your fun day with me, I hope to see you on the water again soon!
I have been keeping busy on my summer break. As you read in the Featured Youth section I was part of the World Kayak Family Fun Day on the White Salmon River. My dad and I got help from the Oregon Rafting Team (ORT), Wet Planet and the Kayak Shed to put this day together. ORT lent us a raft and provided gear and t-shirts for our raffle, The Kayak Shed provided some Demo boats and more raffle prizes and Wet Planet gave free kayak pool sessions with an instructor and our free raffle got even bigger after their donation. We even had slalom gates up for those interested in a little gate fun. There were about 20 people that participated in the pool clinics at Wet Planet and between rafts and kayaks about 50 people had a great day on the river including free prizes and BBQ.
I have also stayed busy rafting and competing with ORT. I have competed in the WWCS which include trips locally to the Wind River, Northwest Creeking Competition (NWCC), Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival (UCWWF), and then to Bigfork Whitewater Festival in Montana and Skyfest in Index, Washington. Currently ORT holds the top spots in R2 and R4 racing. The series comes to an end in October in Burnt Ranch, California. I am so honored to be out there racing with this amazing group of guys. Being an ORT member is a great part of my life and I have made life long friendships. My family and I took a recent trip to the Umpqua River where Oregon Rafting team member, Bryan Carrington met up with us and we were able to get my mom on a raft. Having great adventures with my friends and family has been a big part of my summer. Even when I am out competing they are there to support me and have fun. I have also been enjoying other summer activities that included swimming across a few lakes, hiked a little and have even squeezed in some mountain biking. When I have been close to home I have gotten out and done some longboarding and competed in the Mt. Tabor Race. So many adventures, so much fun! If you would like to follow more of my adventures find me on Facebook, Jeffery Lee Steehler. Get out there and paddle, it’s a great time!
As the summer winds down and fall sets in it may be time to think about winter boating. It may seem to be a far distant but you want to be prepared for those cold, snowy days in the Gorge or even just the wet days that could leave you cold and shivering. I rely on my Kokatat GMED drysuit to get me through the cold days. Is your drysuit sitting in your closet? Does it need new gaskets or repair work that you have put off? Not everyone thinks safety and gear go together but they do. Gear is what keeps us all safe. If you own Kokatat gear the best way to get it winter ready is by sending it to Kokatat themselves. Jordan Jones has been taking care of us for years. They have a great turn around time and will get you back up and running. Other options are:
10824 SE Oak Street
Milwaukee, OR 97222
Lisa at Northwest Sewing
When most of the rivers dry up and our options are limited, the Clackamas, White Salmon and the Klickitat are still flowing. The Lower Wind is also a great class IV-V late summer option. There is still wood in play in the upper reaches of the White Salmon, so if you are up running the Truss or the Farmlands, be careful.
The yearly releases will be starting on the Tieton in September and if you want to try your hand at ocean surfing, the Pacific Paddle Series will be starting in the fall. There are always demos and people to show you how to get started.
CLASSES AND EVENTS
Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak:
Full Immersion Whitewater Aug 1st, 3rd and 4th
Short Boat Surf Clinic Aug 4th
Full Immersion Whitewater 2 Aug 8th,10th and 11th
Paddling in Conditions Aug 10th and Sept 2nd
Surf Zone Skills Aug 11th
Kid’s Kayak Day Camp Aug 19th-23rd
Lumpy Waters Symposium Oct 18th-20th
Classes with Next Adventure Kayak School can be found online at:
Todd Anderson with Columbia Gorge Kayak School also has a variety of classes and a fabulous on water location in Hood River. You can find them at: Columbia Gorge Kayak School
King of the Rogue Aug 24th
11th Annual Clackamas River Clean Up Sept 8th
OKCC Roaring River Slalom Aug 17th, 24th and 25th
World Kayak Tieton Hometown Throwdown and camp weekend Sept 7th and 8th
Hobuck Hoedown Oct 5th and 6th
Cali Burn Fest Oct 12th
Have a great rest of the summer,
Jeffery “Maverick” Steehler