Recently, I embarked on a true Pacific Northwest adventure for the second time. Bringing along my husband and seven friends, we drove a couple hours east of Seattle to the beautiful Wenatchee area for River Recreation’s Paddles and Pints weekend. One of the best parts of the weekend was knowing that 10% of the proceeds River Recreation makes off their weekend Paddles and Pints and Whitewater and Wine weekends all summer long go to Waiting to Breathe, a non-profit that started out as a fundraiser for 34 year old August Murphy, who is battling cystic fibrosis. Waiting to Breathe was originally created to help fund a lung transplant for August so she could live and breathe. After she has a successful transplant, she plans to dedicate her life to helping others have the same opportunity. Any dollars raised that will not be used to fund her transplant will be reallocated to Waiting to Breathe to help raise funds for others affected by cystic fibrosis through grant matching, raise money for transplants, and conduct walks and other awareness events.
We arrived on Saturday morning to River Recreation’s base camp in Monitor, WA. The friendly staff immediately helped us get ready for our experience. We signed waivers that explained the inherent risks that could be encountered in the course of white water rafting (including drowning and hypothermia – how fun!) and we were fitted for our wetsuits, booties and life jackets.
Just after 9 a.m., the morning rafters boarded the River Recreation bus to the drop off location on the Wenatchee River, just outside of Leavenworth. Our rafting guides divided us all into separate groups with four to six people on each raft. My raft’s guide, Austin, helped with the safety demonstrations. We are always impressed by the guides, not only did they know how to have fun on the weekends, all of them were incredibly intelligent and very confident in keeping all of us safe.
The next three hours on the water were unbelievable. Multiple times we hit some decent rapids that soaked almost all of us. With the air temperature hovering at a beautiful 75 degrees and the water temperature at 45 degrees, the water hitting you felt ice cold, but the sky was blue and the sun was out – making it a perfect day on the river. We also played river games trying to knock our fellow rafters into the water. While none of us wanted the river adventure to end, we finally had to get out of the water at base camp. But the weekend wasn’t over yet!
River Recreation served lunch to all those who just returned from rafting and for all who were going on an afternoon rafting trip. Chicken, soft rolls and salad were on the menu and left us all feeling satisfied and stuffed! After washing up and relaxing on one of the many hammocks available, the party bus took us to Wenatchee for an afternoon of beer tasting! With River Recreation’s, JT at the helm, we traveled to Saddle Rock Pub & Brewery (a must try is their Unita Labyrinth Black Imperial Porter), Badger Mountain Brewing (I highly recommend the Bananarama Heifeweizen and their homemade root beer) and ended the tour at Columbia Valley Brewing, having our last few beverages outside on their deck, relaxing in the sunshine.
We also made a stop at Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee. Last year during River Recreation’s Whitewater and Wine Tasting weekend, I discovered Jones of Washington and their Rosé of Syrah. I had to pick up another bottle on this trip!
Dinner was waiting for us back at base camp. Sirloin steaks hot off the grill, asparagus and roasted red potatoes were on the menu and all of it was absolutely delicious. The River Recreation staff knew their way around the outdoor barbecue!
I highly recommend your summer 2014 and 2015 plans to include a weekend with River Recreation. The whole weekend made for an unforgettable experience and my friends and I decided to make this a yearly summer tradition with River Recreation. You can plan your own River Recreation outing and read more about their various rafting trip options here.