Notes from Windward: #67


Running the Klickitat

Kai describes a day on the wild part of the river

     Windward is definitely not just work and research!

Becca and Kai at Lydle Campground

     No one "at least not normal people" can function without a little play time. So a little fun activity is always welcome to boost morale and relax. Since I have been here I have been on a few bike rides, hikes and a swim in the Klickitat. Yesterday however, Becca and I tried something new. We decided to be the first "Windwardians" to go where no one has gone before (no one from Windward at least).

Becca starts off first

     The plan was to go tubing down a wild stretch of the Klickitat. Thinking back to the day I went swimming in the Klickitat I quickly realized that it wouldn't be a good idea sitting in a tube with my butt in the water for a few hours (the Klickitat is cold). Good thing Todd has two kayaks and that he let me borrow one of them. I also tried to convince Becca to borrow the other one because I knew what would happen. She didn't take to my convincing effort and decided to stick to the tube plan.

Kai moves to catch up

     Walt dropped us about 15 miles up river and we headed off on our little adventure. After the first hour my hopes of not getting wet were shattered, I hit a rapid at the wrong angle and capsized. As the kayak began to flood I noticed my shoes floating past me and my socks and the food! As I was floating down the river I held on to the kayak with one hand and was throwing stuff back in the kayak with the other ( I only lost one sock!) until the river calmed down again.

a view from the overlook
Becca is the dot in front of the arrow

     The next challenge was how to get the boat out of the water? The thing weighed a ton being full of water and the smooth rocks on the bottom of the river where covered in slippery algae. Some how I managed to get to shore and drain the Kayak. It happened at the right moment because Becca was ready to take a warm up break in the sun anyway. When she was warm enough again we continued on our journey Soaking in the sun the scenery and the wildlife until about an hour later when I hit a downed tree in a river bend and capsized again! This time there wasn't much to catch the sock and food were in my Camelback safely secured to the kayak and since my shoes were already wet I decided to keep them on also giving me noticeably more traction on the rocks.

Kai racing towards the finish

      This wasn't my last sinking, towards the end of our 4 hour trip Becca was holding on to the rear of the kayak when I noticed a rock sticking up ahead. I was pointing it out to Becca as I passed it in the kayak warning Becca not to bump in to it. As soon as I turned around I noticed the inevitable, another rock right in front of the kayak! I didn't even have time to react and in the river I went. So after completing the now routine procedure of pulling out the heavy kayak and draining it there were a few more rapids and our finish line, we made it! Now one can argue which one of us had more fun that day, Becca viewing me capsizing or me viewing Becca's goose bumps?

     One thing is for sure I will do it again, and since it's a four hour trip I think it's worth building a floating cooler to tow behind the kayak, you know for food and some home brewed beer (the other OTHER food) for a little picnic along the way!

      Any one want to join?

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67