Studying kayaking at the Otter Bar Lodge
Question: I live in the Bay area and would like to start river kayaking. I have tried it twice on the East Coast and fell in love with it. I would like to know if there's a spot within four hours of San Francisco where I could get involved with this sport.
Adventure Adviser: You're practically sitting on top of one of the best kayaking schools in the country — Otter Bar Lodge, located in the Klamath National Forest between the Trinity Alps and Marble Mountain Wilderness Area.
Though the lodge is extremely remote, it prides itself on providing customers with top-notch instruction as well as gourmet meals and deluxe accommodations.
Though Otter Bar may sound a bit more luxurious than you had planned, I highly recommend you check it out. Because you've only tried kayaking twice there's plenty about the sport you don't know, and as it is a potentially dangerous activity, I'd take a week to learn from the experts at Otter Bar.
Their Beginning School is held during the months of July, August, and September, and the week-long course focuses entirely on the entry-level paddler. During this week you'll become familiar with a kayak, learn safety procedures, learn proper strokes, and how to roll.
The last few days you'll be kayaking down the river, practicing your skills, and trying to get comfortable in your boat. The very last two days you'll put it all together and do an overnight on the Klamath River.
This year's price for the week-long beginner class is $1,490 and includes instruction, meals, accommodations, and all equipment except wet suits and sleeping bags. To get there from Highway 101, take the exit north of Arcata labeled 299 Willow Creek-Redding. In Willow Creek turn left on 96. Follow it until you cross over the Salmon River. Turn right and follow the road 15.25 miles. Call Otter Bar at 916-462-4772 for more details.