As summer rushes into full swing and the weeklong rainstorms of spring recede into gray memory, Seattle comes alive. Farmer’s markets unfold in every local park; wandering the shoreline no longer requires full rain gear; cafes spill their seating and their patrons onto sidewalks and patios, filling the sunny breeze with a joyful hum of conversation. But even as the city summer blossoms into full color there seems, to some of us, to be something missing. As wonderful as Seattle is, it is still a city; still fully civilized and full of people. If too many weekends spent in the city leaves you with an itch for something more, a feeling of straining at the bonds of steel skyscrapers and throngs of people, then it’s time to try something different. You don’t have to go far; just a couple hours outside Seattle can bring you to a different world entirely, one of whitewater and high snowy peaks and ospreys performing daring acrobatics through the spray of a standing wave.
It can bring you to the river.
Just one day on the Skykomish or the Skagit can wash away all of the pressing buzz of the city, leaving you refreshed and utterly, indescribably free. With a paddle in your hand and your phone, for once, far from your thoughts, you can simply be in the moment without worrying about a single text message or work email. You won’t need to worry about your outfit in the rapids, either; as long as you aren’t wearing cotton and you don’t mind a wetsuit you’re golden.
The Skykomish is a weekend escape for adrenaline junkies and those craving a bit more adventure, with Boulder Drop’s class IV+ whitewater and technical routefinding. Here the river sings with the choppy bass roar of a true cataract, plunging from the windswept heights of Skykomish Peak in a joyous tumult. The water here is turquoise where the rapids don’t run, dyed bright with glacial silt. If you want to push off the crest of a standing wave and drop past enormous boulders dropped midstream like the forgotten playthings of some mountain giant, whitewater whipping past you in a glorious shock of icy snowmelt, then the Skykomish is the river for you.
If you’re tired of the city summer but prefer your wilderness experience a bit lower-key, the Skagit River flows more gently from the heart of North Cascades National Park. As glacial-turquoise as the Skykomish, the Skagit runs through class III wavetrains scattered beneath breathtaking cliff-hung mountains. Wild as anywhere in the lower 48, this river provides the same sense of freedom as the Skykomish without the added physical and technical demands of higher-class rapids. Past the whitewater you can look up at soaring, impossible peaks carved of granite and long centuries of starlit ice, keeping an eager eye out for the bald eagles and sharp-beaked ravens that call this wilderness home.
When the city buzz starts to press too loud and too close, even in the new summer sun, and you need a weekend away, there’s no need for a foreign vacation or a long-distance road trip; just a couple hours’ drive from Seattle and you can step into another world entirely, paddling a raft down wild white water in some of the world’s most spectacular mountains. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, check out our website (www.triadrivertours.com) or give us a call at 360-510-1243.