Saturday, July 22, 2006

Teen Kayakers in Colorado - Huge Experiences Final Report

Click here to see video of the Huge Experiences kids killin' it at the Salida hole in Colorado.

During most of June and the beginning of July I was privileged to be a co-leader on the Huge Experiences summer tour to Colorado and Wyoming. If you'd like to catch up on our trip please go visit the Team Huge Blog . If you don't know what The Academy of Huge Experiences is and you would like to know you may visit their web site at . These kids are so fortunate to do these trips at their ages. The cultural and social learning experience they take from the program is invaluable, not to mention the kayaking skills.

Our last week in CO was spent in Salida where they have a really sweet man made park on the Arkansas River. It is a very predictable, controllable, play feature. By predictable and controllable I mean that the hole itself is not surging or washy and it's not trashy so you are able to be aware of what's going on while you're in there. I couldn't imagine a better spot to learn freestyle moves. Because of this hole, and spending a week there, our kids' skill levels went through the roof. Kids who could barely flat spin left there cartwheeling and looping. Kids who were looping left there doing Mcnasties and Phonics Monkeys. If you watch the video you can see all the tricks we were doing there.

Camping in Salida was nice. We woke up one morning in Big Horn Sheep Canyon and saw all these alligators.

Clean cartwheel at Salida. Wow.

Jason Aytes air flips big. Jason was the other trip leader in Colorado. He also taught the entire past year at Huge Experiences and is now a Southeast regional team paddler for Riot.

Jason wheels.

Jason more wheels.

Jason even more wheels at Salida.

Mcnasty at the Salida hole.

Our last day at the hole was just like any normal day. The kids were practicing all their newly learned tricks and I was on the bank shooting video. Eli Spiegel comes up to me and says that the water has just risen a foot. I hadn't noticed since my eyes were on the camera the whole time, but he was right. The water line that had been two feet from my feet was now six inches away. Each day in Salida there were passing thunderstorms. Some of them produced rain locally and other days we would watch the rain and lightening that seemed to be over the next hill. On this particular day the storm spared us but seemed to pass through several miles upstream, no doubt the cause of our rising water. Ten minutes after the first pulse of water came the real signs of a flash flood.

The flash flood hit, covering the river in spruce needles.

Spruce needles, logs, debris and other objects floated through. Watch the video and you can see some logs that surfed the hole.

After the flash flood hit full force the water became chocolate. If you got in the hole you would without a doubt come out completely covered in spruce needles, dirt and whatnot. I think I had that stuff in my ears and hair for a couple days after that. Nasty.

After our last Salida session, on the way out, we saw this brilliant rainbow. An awesome sight to bring this trip to an end.

Jason and I were happy to be heading back home after a month on the road. Green river here we come.

Click here to see video of the Huge Experiences kids killin' it at the Salida hole in Colorado.

Please don't litter in the theatre. Sincerely,

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot

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