Sunday, October 5, 2008

River Retreat Night 1 and Day 1

For 8 straight days there was perfect sunshine in preparation for the Cowlitz River Pickin' and Paddlin' Retreat. I mowed, built trails and campsites, and stocked the fridge and cupboard with plenty of good food. Though it started raining on Thursday many dedicated paddlers, friends and musicians traveled through bad traffic and heavy weather on Friday and Saturday to the retreat.

The Moon Mountain Ramblers set up on Friday and really tore it up after a great BBQ of chickent and brats. Folks were arriving all night and some braved the weather to set up tents while others decided they would sleep right where and when they stopped dancing. Eddyline Kayaks and Stohlquist WaterWear both arrived with gear and donations for the attendees. Some great friends of mine from Seattle and Portland also joined in. The Ramblers played 2 sets and then late night antics and improv jams lasted into the early morning any good festival! Olympic Raft and Kayak, Alki Kayaks, Kayak Academy and many other great paddlers around the NW also came to check out the house and river for future events. We missed all the stores and staff that were unable to attend but understand that the first big storm of the year takes some of the thrill out of camping.

The paddling on Saturday was a lot of fun. The rain broke some in the afternoon and we paddled up river looking at a nice rainbow. The rain had increased some the pushiness of the river. Thankfully, everyone was in good gear and the few swims we had could turn out to be just good fun. The upstream treasure hunt tempted several contestants to paddle into some hard to get to areas and challenge themselves with the promise of free Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and Stohlquist WaterWear. All this created quite a hunger. Steaks and fresh salmon were grilled to perfection with the help of the crew with great sides and dessert to go with.