Early mornings in river towns evoke a particular kind of rise and shine. One that is not forced or battled but rather welcomed with anticipation of what the day will bring. This particular day started out with a hefty dose of stoke…paired with a box full of local pastries, of course.
Our starting point was River Roots HQ. Local kayak lore will tell of a welcoming, creative hub. Low key but packed full of big time energy. As is often the way, local lore proved true.
Legends in their own time, Canada’s Benny Marr and Nouria Newman, all the way from her homeland of France, were perched across the back door threshold, knee deep in setting up fresh boats for the adventures that lay ahead.
The next hour was spent catching up, eating, hydrating and plotting out the day’s events. First up, the Green Truss put in. Two cars, two kayakers, four humans out looking for adventure in Nature. Once loaded up with Benny & Nouria together, adventure is always lurking nearby.
Short story of the long: They got in the water, we headed towards Big Brother. We got lost, they did not. Benny came to find us. Nouria napped. We took some photos and shared some high fives. The unplanned moments are always top notch, per experience. Back riverside, we ran into Mike, who left us all in a state of reflection and humility after hearing his story about how Nouria inspired his kayaking and healing after losing his wife. Adventure and inspiration, redefined.
Next stop was BZ Falls. More shots. More sunlight peeking through the trees. More awe of the river, its power, its song and dance. BZ is an indulgence of what it means to be a whitewater kayaker. A clear reminder that humility is honorable at all levels and maybe even more so once abilities approach max capacity. Nouria removed her elbow pads in anticipation of ‘snappy levels’ while candidly stating, “The only thing worse than swimming, is swimming in elbow pads.” The humility she encompasses even at such an elevated level in her sport only adds to her allure and relatability.
The Little White remained our end game for the day as it provides all anyone can ask for in a day. An energy shift is required at the put-in, along with a go-time attitude and feelings of pure bliss. The conversations with other boaters, the ear to ear grins, the deep exhales that occur after each rapid, the community, the gear, the planning, the gamble, the unknown, the satisfaction, the deep connection to nature and water all guides you from nerves to peace.
Post laps, beer in hand, surrounded by some of the best humans and views the PNW has to offer, the evening settled in and that sense of peace was felt by all. That and a growing desire for a cheeseburger.
No matter if you’re in a kayak or on trail, clear mornings in the Gorge may bring all the rise and shine vibes, but evenings not only bring the ‘that was an epic day’ feels, but perhaps more importantly, those “what’s next?” dreams.
Pinky promises were made. Cheeseburgers and beer consumed. Onwards.