Arizona Road Trip


1190 miles one way for a race?  Yes, please.  Sure, some paddlers might hesitate.  I believe that ultimately, it was worth it for every Gorge Canoe Club member who traveled to Another Dam Race in Arizona at the beginning of November 2022.  It wasn’t just about a race when our group of paddlers from the Columbia Gorge traveled from the ever chillier and grayer Gorge to sunny Arizona for the race.  It was about adventure, camaraderie, making new friends, and yes, testing our mettle against the Colorado River and other outrigger canoe paddlers under perfectly clear skies with nary a Douglas Fir tree in sight. 


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It’s More than a Canoe         

In the middle of the mighty Columbia River, from the last of six seats on a 40 foot long outrigger canoe, Val Stepanchuk tells us to stop paddling.  We take in the spectacular views, notice the great blue herons, a Native American fishing platform, burn scars on ridges to the south.  Eventually we talk technique.  One thing Val emphasizes is the catch phase of the paddling stroke.  Our paddle blades must connect well with the water for maximum efficiency and power.  Val mentions nuances of the proper form for the paddling stroke and lets it sink in.  Knowledge imparted, we return to paddling.  Time to practice, to connect with the water.  


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paddle beach gorge

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