When I worked at an Outdoor Gear store, I went on all the kayaking trips they had to offer and took a couple of safety courses specific to paddling. It is important to know multiple ways to re-enter your kayak if you find yourself in the water for some reason. Most of the trips I went on were on flat water and only once did I go Sea Kayaking. I would consider myself to be an intermediate level kayaker.
One Saturday, I decided to join a couple coworkers on their swift moving water kayak trip for the day. They were going to Husum Falls. Husum Falls is located on the White Salmon River in Washington. It has a 12 foot drop, is a class V waterfall, and is one of the 5 Tallest Commercially Rafted Waterfalls in North America. There is a bridge near by where spectators can watch people “run the falls” – Husum falls Halarity
Since this would be my first time on fast moving water, I figured it best to let my coworker friend, aka: the outdoor school Tour Guides, pick out my boat. They were the experts after all. To this day, I still have no idea why he chose an inflatable kayak.
No sooner had we walked down to the put in spot and got in the water, we were off. Water was moving fast. I was starting to get the feel of how to maneuver myself in the water using the paddle when the current took me, swept me into this huge right half circle, and into a cove of rocks where the side of the boat scraped along the wall. There was a huge hole torn it the boat and I sunk immediately.
Just like that- it was over. Just a few feet away was a embankment to the right. We hauled ourselves and the deflated boat up on the rocks to come up with a plan. There weren’t many options for us. Since we hadn’t made it very far, it was too far to finish the run. It was logistically impossible to make it back up where we put in. We had to wait. Wait for a person coming down with space enough to carry me and my deflated boat.
We waited on the side of water for hours. Frequently, other kayakers would stop to make sure we were okay or to see if they could help in any way. What a nice community of people to be in community with. Makes me want to paddle more.
There proved to be only 1 option for us that day. I still can’t believe how lucky we were. There was 1 commercial raft coming our way with one free spot and enough space to carry the torn kayak. We flagged them down as soon as we saw them!
4 guys were on a Bachelor party rafting trip. Their buddy was a guide and owned his own raft.
They were such good sports to let me crash. I told them all the Dirty Jokes I knew as we paddled down the river. My buddies made sure to paddle close so we could still be together.
After 20 minutes or so it was time to decide if we were going to “run the falls”. If the answer was yes- we would have to go through some practice exercises in preparation. There is a particular way to crouch down, hold the paddle and the boat, as well as a pep talk in case things go wrong. They all wanted to do it and I certainly wasn’t going to be the chick they were nice enough to pick up to hold them back.
I was nervous. REALLY nervous. I had thoughts of backing out up until the point of no return!
We did it! I did it! It was fun and it would be the first of many runs for me 🙂
Some guys go to Vegas for their Bachelor Party….
I am so glad these guys decided to raft the Husum Falls.