Good things in life (my time in White Salmon)

The Columbia Gorge

The Columbia Gorge

I know you shouldn’t look back too much, but I do miss living in Bovec. I miss the great view out of my window, I miss knowing most of the town and the privilege of kayaking Soča River whenever I felt like it, even if I was alone. I am currently caught in the chaos of adjusting into life and work in Squamish.  Buying a phone, a car and just getting to work is all making me trouble.  So I sometimes drift and think about the past month. I wrote about the incredibly good time I had in Bovec in my Palm blog (LINK). But I guess all of that stuff is necessary evil anywhere you go for a longer term, so I’m going to stop complaining and write more about the amazing time I had in White Salmon.

The transition to North America couldn’t have been smoother, I felt like I came to paradise from paradise. Almost two weeks of great weather and water levels in Slovenia were topped by two weeks of cloudless happy time in Columbia Gorge. I like those trips when you just travel from one river to another almost every day, but it feels like I got so much more out of staying in White Salmon for more than two weeks straight. And it is all due to my friend Max Blackburn and the amazing local kayaking community. I met Max in 2011 in Chile, where we became kayaking, dinner and party buddies.  This time he took a father role and did an amazing job of showing me around. He took me to the prettiest and the dirtiest of the area and introduced me to so many good people, that I spent a good time of my first few days trying to memorise all of their names. Living in a scenic place has its advantages, but I guess it really is people what’s most important. And I met some of the most polite and friendly people there in general. Not to mention the biggest top class kayaking community I’ve met anywhere before.  Most of these aren’t originally from the area though, they came to live there from all over the USA and there’s a good reason for that.

OK, the landscape is stunning, the people are awesome, but what about the kayaking? In more than two weeks of living there I didn’t feel a need to do anything else than the two jewels of the area. Little White Salmon is pure magic, it seems like a river out of a fairy tale and it’s a must do for everyone who’s passionate about extreme kayaking and extreme nature beauty. White Salmon River offers, on the other hand, a bit of a walk on the dark side, if you dare. Big water Farmlands and the Green Truss sections are full of dangerous big rapids, packed into a narrow, wood infested gorge. There’s not much place for an error and you especially don’t want to swim on the biggest of the rapids there.  Each time I did the Green Truss it felt like a committing and daring mission.

Spirit Falls rail grab - I love this move. A tribute to the time before "Brown".

Spirit Falls rail grab – I love this move. A tribute to the time before “Brown”.

Broken Duck-taped Nomad + Chaos Rapid = pure joy

Broken Duck-taped Nomad + Chaos Rapid = pure joy

I really want to thank Max for taking care of me so well and lending me an old two times broken Nomad 8.5, which has become one of my all time favourite boats. Thanks to Seth and LJ for taking me under their roof as well, all my new kayaking buddies and new friends that made this trip unforgettable and Eric and BDP for sponsoring me with an old Nomad seat, for my brand new yellow Mamba 8.6. I hope to visit you all soon.

Now back to reality: Searching for old cars on Craigslist. Ah, I’m just nervous because I haven’t paddled class 5 in BC yet. Things are bound to get better…

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