anna brones

writer + artist

Posts Tagged ‘Alder Creek

Pushing Your Limits: A Weekend of Wind, Rain and Kayaking

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lumpy waters kayaks

This dispatch is cross-posted from Wend Magazine.

Donning a dry suit and paddling out into a grey and stormy Pacific, on a day where you know your boat is going to be constantly beaten by salty swell, the rain will pour right into your face and the wind will force you to engage all of your muscles, possibly leaving you sore for days, might not sound like everybody’s idea of fun. But here in the Northwest, it’s the name of the game.

When I headed out to Pacific City for this past weekend’s Lumpy Waters Symposium, sponsored by local paddling shop Alder Creek, I didn’t really know what I was in for. In fact most of my paddling experience has been reserved for calm afternoons to check out wildlife and get a mild sunburn. Sure, there have been some multi-day trips thrown in here and there, but no epic “surfing the Pacific” kind of stuff. But when it comes to enjoying the outdoors, sometimes you have to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone. And there’s no better weather to do so than stormy wind and rain.

After a night of listening to the glorious sound of rain pelting the tent, Saturday morning we downed some bacon, eggs and coffee — breakfast of champions! — and suited up in various layers of polyester quick drying shirts, fleece, drysuits and booties. The ultimate outfit made for a sea of bright candy-colored groups placed along the beach shore, a stark contrast to the gray waters and sky.

My first outing for the day was intended to be an exploration of the Nestucca River, which, thanks to the elements, looked less like a river and more like the ocean that it feeds into. While another group experimented with rescue scenarios, we paddled directly into the headwind to explore some of the local wildlife. “Paddle” might be the wrong word as it felt more like cranking a very, very heavy piece of machinery. Even the seagulls back at the parking lot could barely stand still without getting blown to the side by the wind. But braving the incessant headwind and rain in my face paid off, as we saw a huge flock of pelicans skimming the water as well as a stoic Great Blue Heron undisturbed by the inclement weather. In fact from the comfort of my dry suit, I really had no place to complain; call me crazy, but being from the Northwest, I actually like the rain. And with pizza and beer as the consolation prize for working my shoulder muscles and core, the day couldn’t have been any better.

Sunday was a different story.

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Written by Anna Brones

October 20, 2009 at 06:00