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Introduction to Hood River Boating

After getting off the South Fork of the Salmon,  Becca and I stayed at a friend’s place in Boise and then headed to the Hood River area the following morning. I was super excited about this for multiple reasons. Mainly, I had never been there before. We rolled into town and got out our playboats and hit a run that I am not even entirely sure of the name of. Locals would know what I am talking about. It was FREEZING cold water. At least to a couple South Eastern boaters!

The next morning, Becca and I got up and went with our host, Brian Zabel, to Post Canyon to get our mountain bike on. Fantastic mountain biking here. After, we met up with Heather Herbeck and Lana Young to do a lower wind lap. This was our first time meeting these ladies and I am glad we got the chance to boat with them. Knowing nothing about this river, I didn’t have a clue what to expect other than there were some waterfalls on it. These ladies couldn’t have been better river guides dealing with my kid like energy and explaining the lines once we started to get closer to the waterfalls. The first main rapid we came to is called The Flume. We jumped out to scout, took out the camera, videoed Lana run it and decided to give it a go (I’ll make an edit of all the video once I finally get home). Can’t say I was smooth running it, having to resort to plan B, but nonetheless, turned out just fine. Becca ran it next and again, not the smoothest line, but it all worked out.

Next up was Beyond Limits. This is a super fun rapid heading to the right wall and taking a big lefty off of it. And soon below you are lead into the entrance to the first waterfall. We got out on river left and scouted. I busted out the camera and watched the ladies throw themselves off of it. Multiple times. We all lapped this waterfall and got some decent video and Lana was there taking photos.

lower wind
Lower Wind, eddie just below first waterfall

After we had our fun here, we went just downstream and into an eddie on the right. Heather gave a great description of what to do here as it is a super delayed boof stroke that I screwed up completely. I ended upside down. But I rolled up against the wall and was fine. Everyone else did great on this one. From here, you head centerish for a slide that has a kicker at the end of it. Ramp off and head left. If you are Heather, you will catch an eddie river left. For myself, I ran it straight down. The last little drop is a weir which has an opening far river left that is about 6′ wide. The girls told us to go off that 6′ wide opening on the right. This is maybe a 6′ drop. And then you are pretty much done. Just some run out. Pretty chill and the fun factor is high. At least at the level we got on it.

This is probably my favorite day of the trip to date. Getting to bike and boat amazing stuff in the same day leaves me so thankful that I am able to be on this trip. More to come on the Hood River area boating for us. Stay tuned.


I started kayaking in Wisconsin of all places, because this is where I am from. I then moved to San Diego and took on kayak surfing along with heading to the Kern River when water was available. I then made the move to Asheville, NC and have been hooked on this sport since my Wisconsin days. With whatever it is that you do, do it because you love it, not because society tells you should or for other outside factors. Don't simply exist, live!