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"lt has mostly class 2 and 3 raPids year around. lt's also a good place fur beginning and expert playboaters to find good holes and wave$ where

Before diving head first into this sport, it's a good idea to take a clas$, and go out with others who know what they're doing. You'll learn faster

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they can do everything from soulful surfing to throwing huge air," The Spokane River closely follows l-90 on much of its journey and is easily accessed with several places to put-in and take-out. On the Spokane, holes and waves have earned their own names, such as Dead Dog Hole near Post Falls and Zoo Wave near Spokane.

and more safely with experienced boaters along. And, because the character of each run can change drastically from one day to the next, depending on the water levels, everyone should check the river levels and ffow infornatian on the many websites that update regularly throughout the day before
heading downstream.

A more advanced playboating spot is the Kootenai River, below the falls, near Libby, Montana. "This is a place for advanced to expert boaters only," warns Rulander. "lt has intense volume and strong whirlpools. \Mren the water is running high, even
expert kayakers avoid the Kootenai. But when the flows are right, it's a popular run."

Cr*ek boating is the other main type of whitewater kayaking. Unlike playboats, which are designed to go under water so they can do tricks, creek boats must stay on top of the water when they make long drops over waterfalls.
For this reason, they have a higher volume in the bow and stern, making them more buoyant (like trying to shove a beach bail under water).

The goal af a creek boater is to seek out steep gradient riuers. \Aftile other boaters stay clear of anything resembling a waterfall, creek boaters search them out. "Running creeks is a serious game

ihai requires great boat handling


skills, an almost sixth sense for reading the water, and a true focus on safety," says Rulander. "Kayakers should not onfy have rescue gear with them, but they should know how to use it, Trapped by a strainer (a tallen tree with linnbs sticking out all over the place), is no time to leam how to throw a rope."

Rulander suggests that beginners start out on a lake and learn to roil. Then move on to the Spokane River, and get the hang of paddling and rolling in moving water. For the next step, try the Moyie River above the faiis, where you will find cfass 2 and 3 rapids. "lt starts out a roadside run, then gets into a section that has a wilderness feel. lt's a good place to learn to scout and get a tasie of commitment," he says. (For the uninitiated, a class 2 rapid is gentle and often swimmable, with

"ldaho is known as the whitewater state, lt has a ton of great runs, and Sandpoint is quickly becoming a destination for professional whitewater boaters who are looking for more challenging runs. lt might be wise to go eisewhere in ldaho first, to learn your skills on tamer water, then come to Sandpoint to play."
Kayaking provides the thriil of seeing places that you wouldn't get to see otherwise. Some places appear to have never been touched by a human. And don't forget the

It is also essential to have a whistle attached to it in case yau need io alert your group that you're in trouble. Always wear a helmet. And, nobody should try any type of whitewater kayaking without first knowing how to roii.

Your local Kayak retailer should have information about good places to paddfe in your area, or be abfe to put you in touch with someone who mn.

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minirnal whitewater, but still provides swift movement and a few refreshing splashes. A class 3 rapid features moderate whitewater, and is exciting, but not too wild.)

wildlife you may see on the way.

An intermediate paddler will have a blast on the St. Joe River, north of Avery, ldaho. Or, they may want to try the Clark Fork River near Missoula. Rulander afso recommends the Yaak River, on the way to Libby, but stresses that you must be very good at all the other runs mentioned before attempting the Yaak. You should also be with a good solid group if you decide to try this run.
'*Early spring, when the ulater is running high, is when we make the local runs," says Rulander. From April to early July, the Upper Pack River, north of Sandpoint, is a good run, but he wams that anyone considering creek boating should get inforrnation from sorneone who has paddled the area before. "ln the summer we often times head for the bigger rivers to the south. But we can also extend our paddling season by heading north into British Columbia, where the glaciers feed the creeks and rivers into late August and September."

"My buddy Dan and I were paddling the Upper Pack River when a moose canoe crashing out of the brush and ran down the creek between our kayaks," Rulander re$lembers. "lt's a little nerve racking to have a huge animal that close. Our fieads were abaut at its knees. I've also had a couple of black bears swim across rivers right in front of me." A kayaker must be prepared to go the distance, because in sorne remote areas they may be surrounded by steep canyon walls, where there is no easy way tc get help. lt's essential to do your fromework on a run before ever putting your boat in the water. There are big hazards on all rivers, and especially on creeks, the main one being trees that have fallen across tfre water. Be $ure to always paddle in control" Pull over at eddies and scout the areas up ahead. \ffith any type of kayaking, it is the law and cCIrnmon sense to wear a Personal Floatation Device.

So... when was the last time you learned a new sport? (No, thumb action on the remotg controN doesn't count.) Take a class... go on a kayak tour with one of the local

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retailers". . or simply drive out to the Spokane River and watch tfie playboaters in actisn. Chances are you'll be chomping at the bit to try it yourself. Go ahead. lt'$ okay. Get

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