It’s not how many years you’ve been paddling, but the amount of seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks you are in your kayak, which determines your continued progression on whitewater.
Every summer, Wet Planet Whitewater offers a 5-day kayaking course on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho. Here are a few of the reasons I cannot wait to be back in 2012:
The Progression: The Lower Salmon offers the perfect progression of features to start you off with a confident, fun and empowering experience.
Day 1 starts out with time spent at the ‘put-in’ eddy (pool), working on flatwater paddling skills and techniques (such as the roll, hip snaps, t-rescues, paddling form, etc) and then continuing downstream through mellow current. This is the perfect day to get used to being in your boat (perhaps a new boat) and feeling the current beneath you.
Day 2 contains a few of the trip’s bigger rapids. We cover ‘how to scout,’ running big water, eddies, ferries, and more. At the end of the day (if the students still have energy), we do a roll session at our beautiful white sand beach, which is our campsite.
Day 3 & 4 takes us through some fun class II rapids. One of my favorite ways to tell the students where to go through a rapid was shouting, “Hey Diddle, Diddle.” Then they yell back, “Right down the Middle!” Most of these rapids consist of wavetrains to enjoy the entire way through. So much fun!
Day 5 takes us through a few more class III big water rapids and dumps us into the Snake river where we experience getting motored out by the rafts. It’s tons of fun hanging out, having lunch, tanning your legs (which you NEVER get to do in a kayak), and busting through a few more class II rapids in a motorized raft. Awesome!
The Options: The Lower Salmon trip is geared for beginner and intermediate kayakers.
It is our goal to make this kayak course experience the best EVER . . . for you! So, we provide options. If the level of whitewater is more challenging than you would like to take on, you can jump on a raft or take an inflatable duckie down through the rapids. If the white water is easier than you’d like, the Wet Planet instructors will throw you into some intense, challenging (but safe) situations. We want you to come to the Lower Salmon with your kayaking goals, and we WILL help you reach those goals!
The Scenery: Open hills, canyons, wildlife, white sand beaches . . . these are all a part of the scenic Lower Salmon River.
Most of the camps you stay at have beautiful side hikes, most of which you can still find ‘artifacts’ from years past. On day 4, we hiked to the top of the hills and could see farther than you could ever imagine. This river is one of the most beautiful rivers I have had the pleasure to float through . . . you need to see it for yourself!
The People: You arrive as strangers and leave as friends.
There is something about the river environment that unites people. Maybe it’s that common bond of ‘loving the river’. The Wet Planet kayak instructors who teach on the Lower Salmon know the river and have the experience and qualifications to take you down safely and have the time of your life!
The Food: Wow . . . I’m not sure what I can say about the food, except “it’s fit to feed a King!”
Peach cobbler, green curry, grass-fed beef hamburgers, these make up just a few of the incredible meals. One of the nights we have “riverita night” and this led to some creative camp games (thanks to instructor, Curt Joyce). All the meals are provided and prepared by Winding Waters rafting company. Words do not justify the incredible taste and thought put into these meals . . . you’ll just have to experience them yourself next year.
I look forward to the Lower Salmon kayak trip each year. Maybe because it takes me out of the ‘hustle and bustle’ of summer on the White Salmon River for five days. Or, maybe it’s the amazing people, scenery and food! Hmmmmm . . . I really think it’s a mix of everything . . . truly amazing!
So, get yourself in a kayak on the Lower Salmon River for five days with Wet Planet and witness for yourself how your whitewater kayaking skills excel and your confidence improves.
See you next year!
Photos courtesy of Curt Joyce Photography