There was a very strong showing from the Oregon paddling community at this year's Chelan Gorge Release. In addition to Scotty and I from Central Oregon, we had Emile Elliot, Ben Mckenzie, Lucas Reitman and Brian Butcher from the Willamette valley. Dan Rubado, Ryan Young, John Edwards, Logan Farrell and Tony Skriv also made the trek from Portland.
The Chelan experience is notably different than most other kayaking adventures for three major reasons. The first reason is that the put-in/camp site is a 15 minute walk from downtown Chelan. Chelan, despite its small population base, is a pretty hopping little tourist town. This fact lends itself to a pretty rowdy scene as countless dirty kayakers descend upon the numerous bachelorlette parties the roam the streets of Chelan at night.
The second major difference that sets Chelan apart from your typical kayak mission is the number of people involved and the manner in which we move down river. Unlike other trips that usually feature smaller groups moving down river in a coordinated fashion, everyone on the Chelan moves as one giant group. With over 35 participants in attendance at this year's release, that meant each drop took a long time to progress through, one by one. Everyone sets safety and gets a front row seat for the inevitable carnage.
Speaking of carnage, that brings me to major difference number 3. This river dishes it out like none other. I'm not entirely sure of what the major contributing factor is for difference number 3, but the holes are stout and the sheer number of folks routing leads to quite a few beat downs/swims. Good thing there is tons of safety!
There will be tons of media coming out in the next few weeks as every other person had a GoPro rolling.. But for now, here are two videos that have turned up online. Nick Baughman put together quite the carnage reel and the profesh videographers did great work with their drone. Enjoy.