“It’s Thursday, August 27th, 2015, and I finally got my first combat roll! It has taken me four summer seasons of working at Wet Planet and getting out on the water with friends after a shift, to finally get over my fears of whitewater kayaking. For the past few years, my progression has been slow and quite frustrating. Why can’t I just be good at this? Patience, perseverance, A LOT of motivation from friends and a 5 day kayak trip on the Lower Salmon has gotten me where I am today. Over the time I spent in my kayak I found myself bravely catching eddies that I would have been more hesitant to do in the past. I surfed, practiced my forward strokes, stern draws, and even rolling my kayak. It was a wonderful setting to practice all of these skills. “- Eilidh MacLean
“Being an intermediate kayaker, it was such a unique experience to spend 5 full days in my kayak. I feel that the continuous amount of time spent fine tuning my skills was priceless. From catching mini eddies to surfing the many different surf waves, this trip will not leave an intermediate kayaker bored. There are multiple rapids that will challenge you and get your adrenaline going”- Melissa Joyce
Eilidh and Melissa’s reactions to the Lower Salmon typify the experience we hope to create on this trip. The Lower Salmon as a teaching ground is unparalleled. The deep, warm and clear water instills confidence and leads students to challenging themselves to a whole new level. Whether it was Melissa pushing herself to try class IV+ moves with Class II consequences at cliff rapid, Eilidh trying to increase her confidence level and do more than just make it down class II, or Helen (a beginner) choosing to run the Class IV Snowhole rapid on her 4th day of kayaking , the trip provided a perfect setting for everyone to work on their skills.
Having the opportunity to work with the same group of students for five days in a row allows positive relationships to form and consistency that bolsters teaching and improves learning. As Eilidh remarked, “[The Wet Planet Kayak Instructors] helped put me at ease from day 1, giving me the tools that I needed to successfully navigate the river and fine tune my practice. They were patient, reassuring and straight forward in their teaching. A perfect combination that left me feeling confident in my own abilities every day.” Everyone, from the newest paddlers to the instructors, found themselves entertained, challenged and pushed appropriately by this gorgeous river canyon.
Beyond just the whitewater learning and adventure, this trip is also about vacation, enjoying the area and in the words of one of our paddlers, Bob, “cruising and taking it all in”. Melissa best sums up the off water experience however… “The beaches on the Lower Salmon were almost as exciting as the whitewater. Getting to camp was such a treat as it was already set up for us with a cold drink and snacks ready. The Winding Water’s guides were knowledgeable, funny, charismatic and constantly checking in on our needs and desires. While they cooked us a delicious, local cuisine, we had the option to relax, visit, nap, or play different games in the sand. It was perfect. I walked away from this trip with a renewed sense of rest, relaxation and deep love for whitewater kayaking. I will be forever grateful for Wet Planet Whitewater’s offering of this multi- day kayaking adventure down the Lower Salmon River in Idaho.
Simply put, there is no better way to spend a week of vacation or learning to kayak. Combining them is like a 7 year old having a dog and a ball. Not just a dog or a ball.