Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Hats and River Rats

What a great day off the bike and on the water!

A couple of days ago I made reservations for the three of us to go rafting with River Riders (river riders.com) on the Wenatchee River for Lorraine's birthday. We had a 1:00 reservation. 

We wanted to stop in Leavenworth first to replace Annette's blown tire. I also wanted to go to The Hat Shop to get a hat for my future daughter-in-law's bridal shower (an Alice In Wonderland Tea Party theme). When we replaced Annette's tire, we also convinced her to replace her 15 year old helmet. 

At The Hat Shop, I quite quickly found the perfect hat. Here is the photo of us "New Hat" ladies (and Lorraine participating just by wearing her hat)
Yes, my hair is in multiple braids, compliments of Annette.


We drove over to the River Riders place (the depot) and arrived with a few minutes to wait before lunch was served. We read (sort of) and signed the liability waivers. We met our guides, John (aka Sunshine) and Brad. They said we had two options. We could either ride in the raft, or each paddle our own inflated kayaks. If we did the kayaks, we would have to wear wetsuits as we would definately be getting wet. We decided we would do the raft so we could be together. Also, it was too hot to be wearing a wetsuit. 

Then, John showed me the boats. He said the kayaks were very stable, one could even stand up in them! Hmmm...that looked like more fun. The river was not flowing too fast, so the raft would be more of a float. Hmmm...the kayaks were looking more attractive. Well, we thought, maybe, we would do the kayaks. There was still the issue of the wetsuits. As the morning group came in, the kayakers said the wetsuits were not necessary, as it was so warm. Sunshine then gave us the option to not wear wetsuits. That sealed it for us. We would do the kayaks. The others (a family of four) were still doing the raft.

A BBQ lunch of veggies, fruit, potato salad, baked beans, and chicken or hot dogs was served.

After lunch we got our PFDs and piled into the van for the ride upriver.
We towed the boats behind us on the trailer. I, of course, requested a red kayak.

We went through Leavenworth (John pointing out the various sites of town such as the town pool--"the  port-a-potty", the "Bavarian" McDonalds, and downtown--known as "Disneyland for old people"), and along Icicle Creek Rd. to the launching place. 
Chumstick Ridge above the Wenatchee River.

After our pre-boating lesson (including a separate lesson for us kayakers), we got in our boats and practiced paddling across the river.
Lorraine making it across.

The first 1/2 mile or so was pretty flat and easy. We spent the time getting accustomed to our boats. We spun them around, paddled backwards, and then, when the water was deeper, got out of the boats and practiced climbing back in. Lorraine and Annette were very fast at getting back in. Me, with my ample chest, compounded by the PFD, took a wee bit longer to haul myself back into my little red boat (and, no, there are no photos of that!).
Annette paddling like a pro.
A selfie of me.
The three of us (taken by handing my camera over to Brad).

As we approached the first bit of rough water, Brad told us how to negotiate our way through it. Basically, we just followed him. We made it through without any incidents.

We "eddied out" after Boulder Bend and had an opportunity to float through the rapids in our PFDs.
Here's Annette!
Here I am!

We got back in the boats, went a short distance and eddied out again to jump off a big rock. Both Lorraine and Annette jumped off. I took the photos.
Leaping Lorraine!
Annette after attempting to do a pike.

Back in the boats, since we were now "seasoned" kayakers, Brad told us to just explore and have fun. We wove our way through rocks and small rapids. At one point I got stuck on a rock. I could not get off. Brad said to back paddle. That spun me right off the rock!

We pulled off one more time for snacks of pineapple slices and cookies. As we continued downriver, we saw an Opsrey nest with two babies about to fledge.

We made back to the pull-out spot. Everyone helped to haul the boats back up. All in all, it was a great ride. We are so glad we chose the kayaks (the people in the raft looked bored)! 

Now I can add River Rat to my list of accomplishments!

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