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Kayaking Snoqualmie, Middle Fork (The Club Stretch)

My Bucket List:

Whitewater kayaking - been there, done that.

This year I was on the fence about pursuing my "whitewater kayaking passion". Should I develop better skills and take it to the next level ( class III ), or should I just sell all my gear and call it quits.

My biggest concern is that whitewater paddling is not a solo sport; it is recommended that there be a three boat minimum on any trip. Unless you entirely dedicated to this sport from the start ( willing to spend every weekend on the river and hang out with "river rats" ), it's tough for beginners to fit in. More experienced paddlers are not "super psyched" to waste their time on class II-II+ rivers, and if they do, ( from what I heard ) they treat newbies as "free shuttle". At the same time, you don't really want to go paddling with somebody who has the same amount of experience ( or less ), and not familiar with a river.

This is not the case with the folks from Professor Paddle. Last year I had a great introduction to whitewater kayaking, first at the University of Puget Sound pool where I "mastered" Eskimo roll under 1 hour, and then on two local rivers - Snoqualmie and Skykomish.

This spring I came back to Snoqualmie, Middle Fork (The Club Stretch). The Club Stretch is an easy class II run with a couple of class II+ rapids. It can be comfortably run as low as 800cfs in kayaks, and can run well into July. Running the same stretch definitely made my second time more enjoyable and confidant.

One of the rapids ( and for many paddlers a take out spot ) called Blue Hole which is a headwall drop that has good strong eddylines to practice on. I love this spot because it offers an easy access from City Park in North Bend. Following a short path, you can put in above the rapid, have lot's of fun running it, take out at the bottom, and run it again or stay in for more practice. I can also see how one can do it on a river board or ( may be ) even a SUP.

As I wrote before, whitewater kayaking is not something you learn from watching Youtube. So, if you can afford it - take a class, and after that, experience becomes the best teacher.

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