Discover the Russian River with Landpath's Teen Trek in July
Outdoor-loving youngsters ages 12-14 can take an adventurous four-day Sonoma County kayaking trek with LandPaths, which presents its first-ever Russian River Teen Trek July 17-20, 2017.
The young participants will paddle a total of 21 miles down the Russian River, surrounded by the beauty of nature. They'll learn to paddle a kayak; observe wildlife in the water, on land, and in the sky; camp out beneath the stars; and share challenges and triumphs as a team.
"We'll be traveling on a section of the Russian River that's not floated much," said Trek leader Bree Arthur, who is Education Director of LandPaths' award-winning educational program, In Our Own Backyard.
"I've seen blue herons on this stretch, awesome dishplate-size Western pond turtles basking on logs, myriad sorts of birds, all kinds of little fish, and there's a potential to see river otters up that high. It feels wild and remote there. Even though [Highway] 101 is a quarter or half a mile away, you can't see it or hear it."
Here's the schedule:
The first day is an orientation running from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., after which kids will return home. Participants will learn water safety and paddling basics, and they'll get to know each other and the staff.
"We'll also partner with the Sonoma County Water Agency on Day 1," Arthur said, "visiting their gorgeous new Westside Water Education Center with a view into the river. The kids will get a hint of what we'll see on the Trek, what the river will be like, and it will get brought back around to the fact that this is our drinking water."
On the first paddling day, participants set out from the Geyserville Bridge and float approximately seven miles to the Alexander Valley Campground for camping, cooking, eating, and reflecting on the day's events.
The Trek leaves Alexander Valley campground and paddles about seven miles to privately owned Front Porch Farm, which lies along a stretch of the river east of Healdsburg. "The owners appreciate the work we're doing," Arthur said. "We have a sweet relationship with them, so they've partnered with us for three or four paddles."
On the Trek's final day, the kayaking flotilla will continue on for another seven miles before hauling out at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Important Details for Parents:
Safety: The Trek will be fully staffed by experienced outdoor educators; the core staff are certified in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swift water rescue. In addition, an experienced team of adult volunteers, all familiar with the river, will accompany the trip. All staff and volunteers have been fingerprinted and gone through a background check. The minimum ratio of adults to kids on the water will be 1:5, though in reality the ratio may be even better (1:4 or even 1:3).
Cost: A sliding scale of $300-$450. Scholarships may be available.