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Wilderness Love on the Salmon River


Being on the Lower Salmon River is magical. I have grown up on its banks, eddies, and rapids and it is still on the top of my list of favorite rivers. Last year, I had the pleasure of sharing the river with women on our wellness retreat.


Our retreat was a perfect combination of whitewater and Pilates. The women were able to choose between riding in the raft, inflatable kayak, or their hard-shell kayak. Some enjoyed learning the fundamentals of paddling for the first time while others were able to fine tune their whitewater skills. Lisa Marie instructed her Pilates routine to fit what paddlers need. Our mornings began with Pilates followed by breakfast on the sandy beach, then we took to the water.


The Lower Salmon has a perfect mix of whitewater and calm pools that work great for kayak instruction. I was in my kayak providing instruction and safety while assisting all the paddlers with skills and the many different aspects of paddling. Meanwhile, Lisa Marie was in the water with us, reminding us how to integrate the movements of Pilates into our strokes.


Camp time provided for relaxation and playing in the water. I taught roll clinics while others enjoyed a cool beverage with their chairs in the water and the umbrellas up for a little shade.


As the sun slowly slipped over the canyon wall, we began our evening of dutch oven baking for dinner and time for reflecting on the beauty of the canyon. The sandy beaches of the Lower Salmon River tucked us in as we snuggled into our sleeping bags only to begin the fun again the next morning. Each day provided fun rapids, laughter and smiles, and many “I got it,” moments as the paddlers learned new skills, skills that empowered them to believe in their paddling.


We would love to have you join us and Barker River Trips for our Women’s Wellness Retreat July 29-August 1, 2017. Come join the fun with a wonderful group of supportive women!

Author, Devon Barker-Hicks,  is a 2-time National Freestyle Kayaker and World Champion Surf Kayaker. As an instructor, Devon is ACA and Swiftwater Rescue certified and loves helping people learn new skills just as much as she loves learning new moves. Devon currently lives in Boise, Idaho and teaches Jr. High in the off season.

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