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Yakima River Raft Trip

Jamie Zeisloft | Published on 7/27/2022

2022 DSC Yakima River Kayak/Rafting Trip Report

Wow, what an exciting adventure we had on the Yakima River.  It was float, paddle, sink, or swim. And a few folks tried a little of each!  The trip was quite an adventure with beautiful scenery, cool clear water, adrenalizing rapids, suspense, danger and excitement all wrapped together. 

We arrived in Cle Elum Friday afternoon and enjoyed a walk along the streets of historic downtown. The cool mountain air was a real treat after baking in the heat back home. After strolling the streets and scouting a few watering holes we all met back at the motel for a traditional group beer/wine/pizza party.  Some of us followed that up with by a refreshing (56 degrees) mini pub-crawl.

In the morning we awoke to near perfect weather with clear, blue skies and very comfortable cool temperatures.  We went out for breakfast, checked out of the motel, and rallied at the junction of Teanaway Creek and the Yakima River.  From there we launched our platoon of 11 kayaks (10 of which actually floated) and a “girl power” raft.

That’s when the fun really kicked in!  We kayaked/rafted for 11 miles of beautiful scenery with a steady current and plenty of fun mini whitewater rapids to play in.  Running those rapids was a total blast!

The “WOW” times started just minutes after launching when the first person in our group went “swimming”.  He bravely “went down with the ship” when the drain plug of his own personal kayak broke off and his leaking kayak filled with water and sank.  Soon afterwards our beloved DSC Trip Director went overboard and was directing the trip from beneath the surface of the Yakima River! At one point all I could see was the hat on top of his head, but he recovered like a champ and took off for more fun.  In the meantime the leaky boat swimmer apparently decided it was more fun to be in the river hanging on to his kayak than it was to actually be in his kayak!

By the time we finished 5 different folks had gone overboard for a swim, all of whom had big sheepish smiles on their faces.  There were a few suspenseful moments when rapids, rocks, brush and swimmers inadvertently converged, but fortunately everyone recovered safely and unhurt thanks to the help of nearby friends and our awesome, highly skilled river guides. We definitely kept the guides busy and we definitely appreciated their efforts to keep us all safe and happy.  Plus it was one heck of an exciting show to watch!  Whether we were running the rapids, floating along leisurely on the sideline and enjoying the scenery, getting soaked, or watching the river rescues; there was never a dull moment and it was just fantastic fun.

Afterwards on the drive home a few of us topped off the fun with giant burgers and onion rings at the historic “Minors Drive-In and Burgers” in Yakima. That was a great way to end a great day!