Finding a kayaking camp

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 2-8, 1998
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Finding a kayaking camp
Question: A friend wants to send her husband to a kayak camp as a surprise birthday present. He is a novice and is looking for basic instruction. I believe the intended trip would be taken later this summer. I’ve heard Maine has some good offerings. Where would you suggest he go?

Wall, New Jersey

On the fast track in Forks
of Salmon, California

Adventure Adviser: How far is your friend willing to send her husband for the ultimate in kayak adventures? There are a number of camps scattered throughout the United States, all of which are highly qualified to provide your friend’s husband with quality instruction. Maine Island Kayak Company (800-796-2373) offers one- to five-day instruction courses. Take the basic introduction to sea kayaking, or for athletic beginners, they have a “Fasttrack Course,” that will push you further, faster. Most of the courses are based out of the company’s headquarters on Peaks Island and participants will paddle among the protected waters of coastal Maine. Prices range from $55 for a Saturday introductory class to $460 for a three-day fast track. Option number two in the East is Endless River Adventures based out of the Nantahala Gorge on the outskirts of Smoky Mountains National Park. Though their competitor, Nantahala Outdoor Center, is probably better known, ERA offers some good, short one and two-day workshops all summer long. They also offer a custom workshop for folks who want to practice specific skills. Call 704-488-6199 for prices and more details. Though the East coast schools are absolutely top-notch, your friend may also want to explore some options in the West. Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School (916-462-4772) in Forks of Salmon, California, or Sundance Kayak School & Expeditions (541) 479-8508 on Oregon’s Wild and Scenic-designated Rogue River are excellent and offer beginner kayaking packages with highly individualized attention.
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