Since first getting into rafting in 2017, I have wanted to learn how to kayak. This year, thanks to Wet Planet, I am finally making it happen. Recently, I took a two-day Beginner Kayaking Course that helped me jump start the learning process. My instructors, Haley and Dylan, did a wonderful job teaching the basics of kayaking. After a day of learning to paddle, catch an eddy, and use my edges, we paddled down a class II section of the Klickitat River. Compared to rafting, it felt cool to be so low in the water, making every little ripple incredibly fun. The feeling of crashing through a wave and getting splashed right in the face is something that requires much bigger water when rafting; so, it was neat to get that same surge of adrenaline while going through much smaller rapids. Even the change in flow on an eddy line felt way more intense.
I also enjoyed being able to put my river reading skills to the test in my own little craft with only myself to rely on. Normally, I have at least one or two friends with more guiding experience in a raft with me and I am able to rely on their skills if I am unsure of what route to take through a rapid. I think that this will push me to focus on the movement of the water even more than I normally would, which will in turn advance my skills in reading water, benefiting all my whitewater activities. For those that don’t already know the dynamics of a river, the instructors explained eddies, holes, rocks, and how the river flows through different features. Furthermore, the lines that you can take in a kayak are usually different than those that can be taken in a raft. A kayak is smaller and much more maneuverable, opening many more ways to get down a river.
I look forward to progressing my kayaking skills and moving up to bigger rapids; and learning to roll so I can stop swimming so much! I am excited to see where this new method of getting into the wilderness takes me. I hope to paddle down many more rivers this year and throughout my lifetime. I would strongly recommend Wet Planet’s beginner kayaking course to people with years of rafting experience as well as to those who have never touched whitewater. When tackling a new sport that can undoubtedly be intimidating at first, Wet Planet’s experienced kayak instructors give you the skills and confidence to take on the challenge, have fun, and enjoy learning a new sport!
Author Hattie Fletcher works as a photographer at Wet Planet. She enjoys being able to capture photos of guests rafting the White Salmon so they can look back and reminisce on their epic adventure for years to come.