Forging memories on the Clackamas
When the Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival pitted participants against one another in friendly competition May 19-20, many were prepared with specific strategies for each event.
"I knew if we could get to the moving water first, we'd have an edge up," said Matt Okeefe of Portland, who participated in a mass start rafting race. "Just as we got there, there was another boat, so I told my partner 'We've got to ram into them.'"
"I didn't even get close, but I knocked some out of the way when they got (the ball)," said Mike Pickell of Milwaukie, who participated in Val's Volleyball. The objective of the game is to keep the volleyball next to your boat, using only oars and boats to move the ball. "My strategy was to get down in front of them and snatch it away at the last minute."
The festival, in its 35th year, took place last weekend near the Carter Bridge on the Mt. Hood National Forest. The two-day event was organized by the Northwest Rafter's Association.
Attendees participated in a variety of competitions on the rap-
ids of the Clackamas River, including races for rafts, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and inter tubes.
For those who wished to learn more about boating, there was a clinic focused on proper protective equipment during rescue situations.
Attendees could also connect with vendors, such as Next Adventure, SOTAR, DRL River Gypsies, Maravia Rafts, Cascade River Gear, AIRE, MADCATR Creations, Goodwater Boat Works, Sawyer Paddles & Oars, Class V Adventure Gear, MT Canoes, Clackamas River Outfitters,
HALA, Rack Attack and PRO-LOKS.
Many vendors allowed participants to test their boats and other gear on the river.
"It's pretty cool to see the boats and take them out on the water," said Chelsea Culmins of Coos Bay. "It's definitely pretty entertaining, trying a new boat and seeing how it handles."
The festival also featured live music, raffle drawings and a barbecue.
Many appreciated the event's friendly atmosphere through competitions and other activities.
"It's a pretty cool group. Everybody is laid back," said Jesse King of Portland. "It's something fun to do, and a reason to be on the water."
"I'm really stoked to see a lot of people I know," added Brent Hodrick of Portland.
And many simply enjoy spending time on the river's rapids.
"Any time we're out here on the water, it's a good day," said Pickell.