One thing about being on a cherry drying contract means that the time I’m actually flying is often broken up by long drawn out periods of nice weather. It’s really backwards – we’re probably the only pilots that are doing rain dances and hoping for the radar to be blotted with moisture cells. On the upside however, the nice weather makes for some really cool chances to do things in place you wouldn’t normally do – and when normal people would want to do them.
I decided to rent a kayak and paddle the Columbia River and Wenatchee River the other day. (PHOTOS IN POST)
It was a pretty sunny and hot day, and I just got a new chest mount for my gopro so it made sense to do something cool with it and go out and enjoy the local area. I was here last year on contract and didn’t take advantage of nearly enough opportunities and so I vowed when I was picked up again to fly this contract that I would take more time and do awesome stuff. Kayaking was toward the top of my list.
Now, I’ve kayaked on lakes, and in the ocean, and against wind, but none of that really prepared me for how much harder I was going to have to work to paddle upriver against a current. And wow the Columbia was ripping this day. I put in with my gear at the Walla Walla park in Wenatchee, and paddled right out into the main current of the river and started paddling. Let me just say that I felt like I was going nowhere, slow.
Anyways, eventually I started making pretty good progress and totally loved the workout I got. I paddled about four miles upriver, which included part of the Wenatchee river at Confluence Park and under neath 4 or 5 bridges. I chased a family of geese for a bit but they seemed to have a better handle on navigating the currents than I did. That – and they could just fly away when I got too close.
Once I was at the top of my intended target (just wanted to get underneath all the bridges) I turned around and paddled into the stronger currents and let the river rip me back down to where I started, which even with peeling off and exploring some estuaries along the way, took 1/4 of the time as it took me to paddle up there. It was ripping! I only got rolled once, and it was early on. After that I had a pretty relaxing day on the water. The cost, $35. Easy day.