Shadowing Kayak Classes with Alder Creek

26 03 2011

I’ll be helping Portland, Oregon’s premier paddling retailer and instructional center, Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe this summer!

Most of my experience in the paddling world has been on the business side – managing the marketing and branding for an emerging kayak importer/distributor Feelfree Kayak USA. In that capacity, I was creating a brand, marketing to dealers and consumers. For Alder Creek, it looks like I’ll be selling directly to consumers, guiding, and instructing. Should be fun!

Getting ready!

So recently I have been preparing to teach kayaking by “observing” their kayak instructors teach classes. I’ve shadowed two beginner sea kayak classes and one three-day Full Immersion Sea Kayak class.

Introductory kayaking classes involve classroom, pool, and real on-the-water time outdoors. In my most recent class the instructor was Teresa Flodin. She’s a British Canoe Union Four-Star (individual) paddler and BCU Two-Star Coach.

We spent a Thursday evening in the pool at the North Clackamas Aquatic Park. Students learned the basics of edging their kayaks in the safe and warm environment of a pool. We also practiced some Eskimo bow rescues and assisted rescues.

Saturday we spent some time in the classroom going over resources available for kayak navigation, trip planning around Portland, and general literature on kayaking. Then on to some more discussion on what to bring along on a trip and planning for a particular trip. Plus, we also went over on-the-water communication-meaning hand signals and paddle signals.

Edging practice!

So then it was on to the water!

Saturday we did a lot of games and rescue practice.

Rachel and Sabrina practiced edging and strokes.

The water was Coooooold! But Rachel and Sabrina managed!

Rachel and Sabrina rescued each other. I think they both did a great job and stayed calm and on task during the exercise!

Rachel empties Sabrina's boat!

Sunday was our third day of kayak instruction. As the grand finale, we all went up to Ridgefield, WA, and paddled 10 miles around Bachelor Island. So for everyone we had a good three kayak sessions together!

Sunriver Oregon / Bend Oregon / Mt Bachelor Day 2

17 03 2011

My first day of the weekend was downhill at Mount Bachelor, and it was a satisfying and long day.

The next day, Saturday I joined the cross country group. We picked a trail out of the Mt Bachelor Nordic Center and then headed off trail on the ungroomed track.

The Nordic Center was much more popular than I envisioned, with a couple dozen skiers getting ready when we arrived. Their trail system of groomers is pretty extensive. Still, the group opted for a further adventure.

It was pretty up there, and snowing all the time we were skiing.

It was here I met my match. There was about four feet of unpacked snow on either side of the track. I didn’t have any trouble climbing, but I knew on the way down I’d run into big trouble! On a little downslope on the climb I fell off to the side and sunk into the ungrommed, and it took me ten minutes of swimming to get back up.

I continued for another 45 minutes or so, but as the trail kept climbing and I fell again, I had to make an embarrassing announcement…I had to turn back. I predicted 10-15 falls on my way down if I kept going, and the prospect of those “swims” wasn’t very attractive. After sheepishly making my announcement, two others in the group, Lee Ann and Tatsuro, confessed they had issues and needed to head back, too. Each had different problems than I did. Joe Yuska gave me a lot of tips and encouragement on downhilling in the soft snow plus how to get up more efficiently. Thanks Joe!

So we wound up back at the house and some napped (me) whilst others hit the hot tub. In the late afternoon Lee Ann brings out the cocktail shaker…she knows how to get it done!

Lee Ann is a pro cocktail mixer!

In the evening, we prepared a scrumptious meal of pesto chicken, salad, green beans with ice cream & apple pie for dessert.

Joe's beautiful apple pie!




Keith and Joe at UNO

Then the board games came out…the UNO…


Now, who's card went down first??!!

And then speed UNO…watch the hands!

And for those unable to resolve the UNO issues in a civilized fashion,

the house had other means!


Bend, Oregon / Sunriver / Mt. Bachelor

15 03 2011

With its dry climate, bountiful sunshine and snowy peaks, Central Oregon is a top destination for out of state tourists and Portland residents escaping gray skies. The Bend, Oregon region is popular for a quick escape.

Bend, with its proximity to the Three Sisters Wilderness and Mount Bachelor, draws outdoor enthusiasts from near and far. Just south of Bend lies the resort community of Sunriver. Sunriver offers plenty of rental homes and recently ten of my outdoor enthusiast friends gathered at a house for a weekend of winter outdoor adventure. We had the house Friday – Sunday and made the most of our time!

I offered to drive, so Tatsuro, Olga and I headed down in my VW Jetta Wagon. We packed every square inch available as well as the roof top box. With several pairs of skis plus winter gear and coolers full of food, there wasn’t any spare room! We were able to get out of town by about 3:30 – and while the highways were busy they were moving right along. We picked the Santiam Pass route because there was an accident blocking hwy 26 at Government Camp. The snow began falling heavily as we passed Detroit Lake. All the way to the top of Santiam Pass, by Hoodoo Ski Area, the snow drifted down. I was really thankful we were going through in daylight! We made it through handily and then through the town of Sisters. Beyond Sisters, the snow stopped, unveiling a sky full of stars!

Our house in Sunriver was really comfortable. Lots of space for cooking, lounging plus a generous hot tub. Most people arrived sometime Thursday evening…and we got to bed so that we could have a Friday full of outdoor exploration. I planned to head to Mt. Bachelor with Jim and Dave for a day of downhill skiing.

Friday morning…pancakes, waffles, omelets and fruit…then we took off for the mountain. The rest of the crowd went Nordic skiing. What a great day of skiing!

Fluffy snow and bluebird skies!

The snow was fresh and we spent much of our time skiing the Outback and the Northwest Territory lifts.

Tree skiing at its finest!

Tree run after tree run of lovely snow. Not the lightest I’ve seen at Bachelor, but fun all the same.

It was a bit thick, and being that way meant it took a lot out of us. Funny, I took a header in the unpacked snow my first run! No injury.

The views of Central Oregon opened up more and more as the day wore on.

By 3:30 my legs were spaghetti. Dave had already given in and was seated down on deck by the bar. The sky continued to clear, and it was now warm on the deck!

Jim kept on skiing…he’s such a die hard. He actually did three more runs after I quit. But it wasn’t too long before he joined us.

We enjoyed the apres ski moment, watching the sun disappear behind the mountain and then the emerging snow cats which crawled up the hill doing their grooming.

Well, at day’s end, we were the last ones as our three pairs of skis and three mostly finished beers testify!

That's a wrap!

So, onward to Sunriver to meet the rest of the gang, head to the hot tub, and enjoy some good cooking!

Well deserved.

River Stewardship Presentation at KEEN Footwear Tonight

9 03 2011

Today (Wednesday March 8th) at 7:00 p.m. at KEEN Footwear, 926 NW 13th, Portoand, OR – A presentation by super kayaker Sam Drevo of boating on Mount Rainier’s Carbon River! It’s a benefit for the Oregon Whitewater Association! It illustrates the first descent of rafts on this narrow, walled in creek barely wide enough to accommodate a raft!

Once in, there’s no way out on the Carbon!

There will also be a presentation of his 2010 film, “Trout on the Wind,” a film about dam removal and restoration of salmon runs!

The Sailboat Racing Season Gets Underway

9 03 2011

Still in the midst of winter’s obsession with fresh tracks of fluffy powder, I get the call to come help get our sailboat ready for the upcoming racing season.

Her name is Raven, and she is a Newport 30 Mark III berthed in Portland, Oregon, at the Portland Yacht Club. She has been stuck for a year with dysfunctional diesel engine – her oil pump unit had malfunctioned and only now are we heading back to fix the poor thing.

Here is a link to the unfolding story on Raven’s Blog – it’ll be full of tales of struggles with a 255-lb engine, getting it out of a cramped space and then rebuilding.

Hopefully not too long after, there’ll be tales of life racing her!