2012 was a pivotal year in the rebuilding of Sundance Kayak Schools. Our goal is always to run the best kayak instruction courses in the world, but we also did some great exploratory trips and training with our instructors.
We started out the paddling season with a kayak trip on the Smith River and an exploratory run down Taylor Creek, a small tributary to the Rogue River. Taylor Creek was a challenging run in a deep gorge with stellar scenery.
We also had the opportunity to paddle the Little Klickitat River which only flows a few days a year after big storms in the Northwest.
In May, our guides and instructors met up for a training mission in the Oregon Hole Gorge and the South Fork Gorge of the Smith River. The absolutely beautiful weather and clear water made for the perfect day of boating!
Our first kayak school on the Rogue was in mid-June. Students spent 3 days at the Riverhouse (formerly the Sundance Lodge) learning the basics, before heading down the Wild & Scenic section of the Rogue to further improve their skills. After five days in the wilderness, the group had evolved into a family of passionate kayakers.
In July, we ran our second kayak school on the Rogue, which was also a huge success. But don’t just take our word for it:
“This was a life changing trip for me. Not only did I greatly improve my kayaking skills and confidence, but I spent 6 days getting to know your incredible guides and the rest of the students in the class. I had an amazing time on and off the river and I now know that multi-day trips will be a big part of my life from here on out.”
A week later our friends from Potomac River Outfitters brought a group of students from the East Coast to paddle the wild Rogue of the West.
We wrapped up the season with a few private kayak lessons and a stand-up paddling (SUP) session over Labor Day weekend. I’m proud to say that every single student, in every single class left with a smile and some new skills!
After a successful season, the crew took an exploratory 3-day trip down the lower Chetco, a beautiful river just south of the Rogue. The Chetco has gin-clear water, great rapids, absolutely beautiful camps, and plenty of solitude. It was a wonderful final trip of the summer for our crew.
Last week, our lead instructor J.R., attended the Whitewater Symposium, a national “meeting of the minds” for whitewater professionals. He was a presenter at the symposium for new rolling techniques, as well as the role of the American Canoe Association in our industry. He reported a great time was had by all, and he brought back a lot of great information for next season.
It was a wonderful year and we have so much planned for next year. We’ve doubled the number of class offerings and have plans to explore many new rivers in Southern Oregon. Hope you can be a part of Team Sundance 2013!