I’ve always wanted to Kayak but every time I’ve tried it, I have found it to be much more difficult than I ever imagined. I would look at those super humans gliding away in the Willamette in front of Downtown Portland. From one of the innumerable benches along Tom McCall Waterfront Park, I would watch them with envy and curiosity but felt that I could ever be one of them. I had given up on my dream. I had decided to stick simply to swimming and riding in boats. That is, until I heard about a group right here in Portland offering introductory kayaking lessons offered from Next Adventure.
Next Adventure is the ultimate store for the outdoors enthusiast and adventurer. Though kayaks are their specialty, Next Adventure also has stand up paddle boards, alpine-ski, windsurfing boards, tents, backpacks and all things outdoorsy available for purchase and rental. More than just a retail shop, the Next Adventure kayak school provides classes covering all kinds of outdoor activities including sea and whitewater kayaking.
Beginning at Sellwood Riverfront Park in the historic Sellwood neighborhood in Portland, “The 2.5-hour guided expedition up the Willamette River combines a lesson on basic skills and safety with a trip to Ross Island, a wildlife refuge home to great blue herons and ospreys.” Next Adventure provides all that you need for the short jaunt, but as I was preparing for my adventure, my wife handed me our set of binoculars.
“What are these for,” I said. “I’m not going to a Blazer game.”
She smiled and rolled her eyes playfully. “They‘re for nature. For birds. Trust me, you’ll want them.”
Dutiful husband that I am, I listened and when I arrived for the adventure, I was glad I did. If not for my wife, I would have been the only person without binoculars.
The guide was helpful and patient. He went over basic techniques such as how to enter the kayak without tipping it, basic paddle strokes, and how to steer the kayak. With the guide’s gentle prodding, I was able to kayak as I had never kayaked before. I felt special. Like a professional. Like one of those super humans I like to watch from Tom McCall Water Front Park.
It wasn’t just about the kayaking, which I quickly mastered. It was about being immersed in beauty and viewing this marvelous city from a whole new perspective: both the natural and man made beauty unique to the Pacific Northwest and, specifically unique to Portland, Oregon is something to see.
From Sauvie Island to Rooster Rock and to everywhere in between, this guided experience was everything I wanted and needed and as soon as I was done, I went in and signed up for the next trip. I’m not only a Portlander, but I’m also a kayaker. It’s sort of my thing now.
For more information, visit their website at http://nextadventure.net/contact-us.html.