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This past weekend I headed to Leavenworth to do some kayaking and spend some time with friends I hadn't seen in a while; I had been anticipating this trip all week! Upon arriving in Leavenworth Saturday morning I met up with Austyn Heinlein. We drove to Cashmere to see the Fuqua's and their new baby boy, Huxley. John and Michelle are two of my favorite people, John taught me how to kayak, and it's always great to spend time with them. Before I knew it, John, Austyn, and I were driving up Tumwater canyon to go boating. Austyn  drove shuttle and took pictures while we made our way through the rapids.

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As we approached the first rapid, The Wall, I boofed off the top of the rock, it felt so good to be back on Tumwater! I somehow managed to get off my line and in front of John near the bottom of the rapid and rolled up backwards into the airplane turn. I rolled over again and kept smacking rocks as I tried to roll up; I swam. After retrieving my boat, we saw our friends trying to unpin our friend Brett's boat, he had swam in the same spot 2 weeks ago. After retrieving my boat, we made our way down the river, we worked on my paddling technique and boofed everything! I have so much to learn in this sport and love paddling with friends who are better then me who take the time to teach me new skills. We arrived at Chaos, the plan was to run the left boof and the left side, but things didn't go exactly as planned. I followed John over the boof into a huge diagnol plume feeding into a hole on the other side. I had a "deer in the headlights" moment and I rolled over, I got worked a bit, and then I swam. I knew the recirculating Horseshoe hole was down stream, so I swam as hard left as I could. I managed to paste myself on a rock and tried to push myself off the left side of it, but I was pushed back into the middle of the rapid above the hole. I aggressively swam through the left pocket of the hole and was flushed out. I made it to shore and saw my boat was pinned on some rocks upstream. We needed one more kayaker to help us unpin it, so we headed down Hwy 2 and found some kayakers willing to help. They were able to ferry into the eddy in the middle of the rapid and attach a carrabiner and throw bag to my boat. I then pulled my boat off the rock across the river towards me. I felt incredibly lucky to have all this help and my boat back unharmed. I recently came to a realization that I  tend to swim more than my friends. Well that makes sense, boating with people better than I am allows me to push my limits and challenge myself.

We made our way to the Bridge where we met up with our friends Lubes, Jeff, Erian, Jodie, and Brett.  We all agreed dinner was definitely in order and made our way to the Thai restaurant where we drank Sake and ate delicious food. We proceeded to spend the evening in town, it was an awesome night of good beer, fun music, dancing, hot tub poaching, and even better friends!

The next day, we met all met up at Exit, some of us decided to run Tumwater, while Austyn and I decided to head West on Hwy 2 into the snow glistening mountains. Our first stop was the cave up Tumwater where we did some inverted bouldering.

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Next, we headed up to Steven's Pass and played in the 2 ft of snow that had fallen overnight.

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Next, I asked her if she wanted to check out the Top Tye and Foss rivers, I had been wanting to scout these rivers for a while, she was down!

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We had a blast foraging through forests, descending river banks, climbing up bridge trestles, scampering across rocks, listening for waterfalls, and scouting lines.

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It was lightly raining/snowing the entire day, the forests were the most vibrant green, and the air smelled incredibly fresh; we we're fully immersed in the natural beauty of this incredible place with impermeable smiles across our faces all day long.

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I feel incredibly fortunate to have 2 girlfriends, who don't kayak (yet!), but are always so willing to scout rivers with me, drive shuttle, take pictures, or listen to me talk about kayaking incessantly! We had a beautiful day in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie forest and proceeded to make our way to Skykomish for a beer. The taste of a cold beer after a day in the woods, on a river, or mountain is incredibly gratifying and well deserved. Cheers to many more days like this! It was hard to leave; the weekend was over as quickly as it had began.

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-AL

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