First off, Thanks everyone for coming out to our third Hometown Throw down of the year! This was our most popular event even if the weather didn’t quite cooperate with us.
Below is a write up of the event, for those who were not lucky enough to make it out. Thanks to Author, Michael Gordon, and the rest of the folks at Kayak Academy and Team River Runner for making it out!
The first weekend of November, World Kayak worked with Kayak Academy to throw the first annual Halloween Hometown Throw down. The throw down had a mass start race to collect pumpkins on river rocks. The bigger the pumpkin, the bigger the prize. Prior to race day, paddlers anxiously followed the Skykomish River gauge, which showed a spike to 10k. This storm would remedy the unseasonably low water on the Skykomish River. Race organizers hoped for higher flows for their raft support.
The morning of the event, the pumpkin setting team saw unimpressive river levels and a light drizzle. After they squeezed down Boulder Drop, a visible wind swept wall of water appeared. I remember thinking, “this makes sense, a big storm, here comes the water.” There were multiple waves of wind, each carrying millions of fall leaves into the sky. Our pumpkin setting team reported “tree snapping” 70 mph gusts as they struggled to paddle downstream against the wind.
Despite the wind and rain, one paddler had a huge smile on her face as she rolled over to the sign-up both in her wheel chair. This was going to be Lynn’s first day kayaking on the river, an opportunity that was made possible through Team River Runner. Team River Runner is a charitable organize which uses kayaking as a form of therapy for veterans. Our event serves as a fundraiser to support their cause.
As the racers started to gear up, Team River Runner was already on the water practicing eddy turns at the takeout. They had the right idea. As the race caravan headed to the put in, they were abruptly halted by emergency vehicles and flares. The violent gusts had toppled numerous trees over Hwy 2, forcing its closure. The pumpkins were officially stranded on the river. However, the storm knocked a few pumpkins from their perch. Who picked them up? The paraplegic kayaker from Team River Runner was the official winner having collected two pumpkins worth a combined 34 points. Congrats Lynn!