Tag Archives: surfing

Kelly’s Whitewater Park – a family destination

Kelly’s Whitewater Park is located in Cascade, Idaho – about 1.5 hours north of Boise. This was our 3rd stop here, and our first time coming during the “summer season”.  The first few days did not seem promising as we had big rains, cool winds and were watching snow accumulate on the local peaks out our window.

The first sunny warm day was also the same day as the North Fork Championship, held just south of Kelly’s near the town of Banks on the North Fork of the Payette River. The sun was shining, the river was pumping (running over 4000 cfs, which equals HIGH WATER) and it was a tonne of fun. We got to meet Canadian kayak legend Benny Marr, who is one heck of a nice guy, and watch Dane Jackson style a very challenging course and come away with the win for the second year in a row. If you are in the area and the race is on, be sure to make the effort to check it out. A great day for paddlers and spectators alike. Hint: Bring foam to sit on the rocks and a cooler with drinks and snacks as it’s a full day of fun.

The North Fork was at high water levels for the first full week we were there. It was fun to paddle the top wave at everything from 5,000 cfs down to 2,500 cfs over the course of a week’s time. All of our other experiences were at 1,200 cfs so this was a big change. At high water the top feature has both a juicy hole and a super green surf wave, combined together. This allows you to work on all sorts of tricks and skills.

My focus was making friends with the big foamy hole, which took a good 6 days BUT left me with another 6 days to work on my wave skills which was pretty fun. Tim tackled learning wave loops and was doing well by the second week. Hunter got so comfortable in the feature that he and Tim party surfed it together and he tackled learning how to do front and back blunts.

The one downside of living in a parking lot at the side of the river is the wildlife…Hunter found a mouse in his boat one day – luckily it was before he got in!

The middle wave at Kelly’s is a fabulous place to play for people of all levels. It isn’t really in at high water so we were happy when the levels dropped down to 2500 cfs and it came back. It’s almost river wide with eddy service on both sides and deep enough to loop if you line up with the osprey nest on the short.

The middle wave is also a great place to SUP surf and surf surf. We brought the surf boards out and had a great time figuring out the wave. We all decided that it should be classified more as a swimming activity than surfing based on the % of time actually spent standing on the board.

The middle wave is just off a large rock island, which is a 2 minute walk from the parking lot. You lug all of your various toys out there for the day and then play/rest/swap/repeat for hours on end. With warm water and warm temps it really is an ideal summer playground for families of all interests.

One of the best parts of our stop this year was being there with friends. We capped the stay off with a convoy out to the local natural hot springs. There are 2 pools that have been built that are beside a small creek with pipes running from the creek that you can use to moderate the temperatures in the pool. Bring some beverages and snacks and it’s a fabulous afternoon or evening activity.

We had a great two weeks in Cascade this year. It is a fabulous small town, with great outdoor amenities and really friendly people. There are a number of campgrounds in the area if you want more than a dirt parking lot to stay in. Can’t wait to explore more of the runs on the Payette next year. Oh – and if you happen to come across a set of keys for a Ford F350 and 5th wheel – call Tim!

 

Dominical surf life – Pura Vida (Costa Rica 2016)

The second week of our time in Costa Rica was spent in the small surf town of Dominical, on the southern pacific coast. Check out our first post here to learn about our super fun week kayaking. According to locals it has changed a lot in the last 5 years as the main coastal road has been developed – more tourism which is good for the economy and the services but it’s also meant more people and a faster pace of life for the former hippy town.

We drove from Turrialba to Cartago and then up to San Jose with the Costa Rica Rios gang and then got a ride from “Johnny” through San Jose to Ortonna and then down the coast to Domnical (yellow highlighted roads show all the places we explored in our 2 weeks).

Cartago is considered by some as the most religious place in Costa Rica. It felt like a moderately large city with traffic and all the other main structures that you find in cities. The main plaza and downtown area is dominated by the Santiago Apostol Parish Ruins, which are beautiful and function very much as a metropolitan green space. The church / parish was under perpetual construction between 1575 and 1910. A series of earthquakes brought down the churches and in 1910 it was decided not to continue with construction. No single church was ever actually completed.

The Festival de la Luz was about to start as we were driving through San Jose so we got to see all the floats as they were preparing for the parade that evening – they are quite elaborate!

Half way through our drive we stopped at a local crocodile sanctuary – it was mind-blowing (and a little scary) to see that many crocodiles sunning themselves on the river bank. Especially when you stopped to think about the amount of time we had just spent in rivers and were about to spend in the ocean. Luckily crocodiles (and piranhas) don’t like fast moving water and we just needed to stay away from estuary areas when on the ocean.

In Dominical we rented a 3 bedroom house for the group and it worked out really well. We were about a block from the beach along a dirt road, easy walking distance to the central part of town and it came with a pool which really helped as it was HOT…

Just beyond our back fence was a large green field that came with various types of lizards and iguanas – big, small and everything in between. We would go in search of them throughout the day to see what they were up to. Hunter is pointing them out to Tim in the photo.

Jeanine from Dominical Waverider was a huge help in getting all of our Dominical fun organized. Tim, Hunter and I took surfing lessons for 3 days and the instruction was great – they even took photos of us! It was a low surf window while we were there which was good as it meant we got to surf right in Dominical (normally only for experts) but it also meant that some days it was tough to find waves. We were pretty worn out from our river adventures so not our best surfing, but we all came away with some improvement and good suggestions. It was also great to have Hunter back out on the water surfing with us (he took a self-imposed hiatus last year).

The main Dominical and Playa Hermosa beaches all have lifeguards, which is great to see and comforting as the rip tides can be quite strong at times.

Jeanine also took us to a local waterfall – some people are adventurous enough to slide down the waterfall or jump off the top. We decided to just enjoy the cool and refreshing pool at the bottom. The ocean temperature was like bathwater – I found it amazing, the boys found it too warm.

We had fun exploring Dominical and stopped in at the CongoMongo restaurant for lunch (much to our surprise it was vegetarian so I was happy, the boys not so much… but they did like the swings) and Tortilla Flats (where you MUST have the passionfruit basil margarita while watching the sunset). There are 5-6 good small restaurants within walking distance of the main area and all are worth checking out.

It was fun to have some “beach time” after all the time on the river. It’s always hard to leave those amazing sunsets and head home but we did… It leaves us excited for our next beach visit. If you are looking for some surf time in Costa Rica, be sure to chat with Jeanine at Dominical Waverider – we strongly recommend them!

30 days at the beach gone in a blink…

IMG_552530 days in California in the middle of a Yukon winter – ahhhh….BLISS! The only problem is that it flew by!

As I shared in an earlier post, we weren’t really on vacation – we just moved our life for a month and shifted into different routines. Most days went like this…

IMG_1041Get up and go for a 60-90 minute walk before it got very warm… group program to keep Grandma active!

california officeCome back to the beach house and eat breakfast and tackle some work work and some school work – it’s a rough place for an office!

Head out and enjoy the beach and the water. Head back in for a late lunch and some more work time.

Grab a cocktail and enjoy the amazing sunsets before settling into dinner.

IMG_0877Finish up with a game of cards and then hit the bed before starting all over again the next day.

For the last two weeks of our visit we took advantage of a great one week free offer at Triple Threat, a gym just down the street, and enrolled in boxing classes as a family – lots of giggles and one heck of a work out. We went 3 days a week at 4:30, which after a day spent walking and surfing sure left us exhausted.

We picked up a set of dirt scooters while there and all the kids (big and little) had fun with them.

It was great to have a lot of cousins come through over the course of the month – nice to have play time together since we live so far away.

We all learned about the local seals and sea lions – the warmer waters this year are playing havoc with their feeding grounds and many of them are winding up beached due to exhaustion and starvation. The lifeguards and Sea World pick up 3-4 a day and rehab them back to health…

IMG_5785Overall, a fabulous month that flew by way too fast. Oceanside seems to be a perfect fit for our family and we look forward to heading back again this fall…

Life relocated

IMG_0886We have picked up and moved our lives to Oceanside, California for the next month. It’s not vacation – it’s just LIFE elsewhere… I am still working and school learning still happens in some way, shape or form.

In addition to all the great things that come with being here (sun, beach, fresh food etc.) we are also getting to spend time with family, which is a nice treat for all of us.

IMG_0873It was funny how freeing it has felt to be away from the cold and the snow. We have been here for 2 days now and I find us surrounded by the reminder that life is meant to be fun…  It is either the magic of California or the lack of weighty winter layers, but smiles abound, along with a few new toys.

IMG_0874How else can you explain that we got Grandma Lynne to test out the new Mountain Scooter AND to do so inside the house???

IMG_0875Hunter has decided that this is his window to be independent in the kitchen. He is busy making his own breakfasts and lunches and is mastering the art of blender drinks, and kindly teaching it to his cousin.

IMG_0877Crazy games of night time cards are building social skills, along with a whole NEW vocabulary thanks to Grandma Lynne’s friend Kathy.

Today we joined up with a San Diego Teen/Tween Homeschool group and played 90 minutes of Laser Tag, with breaks for air hockey and foosball – rough day at “school” for all of them!

This afternoon was spent playing in the surf and then we enjoyed an evening walk/scooter around town. Nothing but smiles for us right now. Feeling pretty grateful for the decisions we have made and the path of adventure that we are following. #LifeisanAdventuretimeislikeariver

There is something for everyone in Tofino

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We have just spent another glorious week in Tofino – also fondly referred to as “my happy place”. It never disappoints and each visit seems to get better and better, even in the variable weather.

Over the past 20 years we have been here eight times and these visits have ranged from campground (no amenities) all the way up to a 5 star Relais and Chateau Inn on the beach. Our last two stays have been based in a friends one bedroom condo on South Chesterman beach and I think we’ve found “just right” for us… We walk right out onto the beach and the level of surf is perfect for our abilities on any given day.  It is great to be able to play in the surf, even in the rain, and then come back in and dry off and have never ending hot chocolates! It’s even better having somewhere that your gear will dry so when head back out later in the day you aren’t cold, wet and clammy 🙂

At the midpoint between South Chesterman and North Chesterman is Frank’s Island, which you can get to at low tide and is a mecca for tidal pool exploring. Starfish colonies and clusters of Sea Anenome’s abound! Walking the full length of North and South Chesterman beaches (and back) takes about an hour and is something we do every day, rain or no rain.

We flew this year verses drove and it felt like an exercise in minimalism to get down to 40lbs per person (not per bag) due to the KingAir flight from Vancouver to Tofino. We had left our boards and surf kayak there in the spring so our big splurges were taking the new inflatable SUP and Hunter’s Scooter. One bag full of water gear and one shared duffle bag for the rest of our clothes, ranging from shorts to fleece plus rubber boots and rain coats.

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Much to Hunter’s dismay it rained about 80% of the time this trip. We caught two sunny breaks and headed straight for the skateboard park so he could get some scooter time in. It’s one of his favourite parks and he loves to be able to gauge his improvement over past trips. We like it because it’s really family friendly and graffiti free, which is possibly due to it being just across the street from the RCMP station.

We got the SUP out on our second day and both Tim and Hunter had fun experimenting with it. It’s definitely harder to get out through the surf and the crashes look fabulous thanks to the extra length (9ft 6″) plus paddle that go flying around. We attempted to take it out another day but the storm swell was just too powerful and it quickly became clear how futile this was. The rest of our time was split between surfboards and Tim in his surf kayak.

The more I surf, the more I love surfing…

  • a bad day surfing is still a day outside in the ocean with my family
  • how can you not smile when you are “playing” in the ocean?
  • the crashes don’t hurt nearly as much as they do in other sports, and many of mine are epic!
  • the sense of community and camaraderie at the beginner areas is fabulous – you often cheer for strangers

While it was nice to be able to fly in for a quick visit, we definitely missed having all of our toys with us. Hunter wished he had his BMX and his skateboard. We all wished we had our mountain bikes to play in their bike park and ride to town an back on the bike paths. Hunter was also wistful for his kayak. Visit #8 was not a disappointment and we’re already planning out when we can come next and how we can bring all the toys…