Intro to Whitewater

Whitewater Kayaking Made Easy (classroom)

I have taken the Intro, Roll, and the Whitewater Weekend courses. They've all been informative, supportive, and fun. It has been a progressive learning process and I do like your emphaisis on offensive paddling rather than defensive paddling.  The Intro to Kayak (Level 1) class is a perfect foundation.  I am probably going to retake the Intro class because there was a lot in there that I just could not absorb at one time; WAY beyond an 'intro' class!
Marty Teugel  -  Fish & Wildlife Service

I was excited to take the pool class, even though a few friends ridiculed taking a kayak class ("What's so hard about kayaking?!").  The whitewater clinic presented challenges I was not expecting (physically, mentally or emotionally), and it heightened my awareness of the river, the sport, challenges and myself.  It has taken me a week to process this experience, and I welcome the time it will take to continue to process both the instruction and personal learned experience. This course was positively intense!

Deanna Lundy

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

Kelly has a way of transferring his passion for kayaking to everyone who attends a talk, lesson or paddles with him.  A very patient and conscientious instructor, I always feel safe during lessons on and off the river.  Not only does Kelly teach the sport, he finds ways to help you find your niche and meet others who share the same interest.  In addition, the other instructors he brings along are equally as knowledgeable and helpful.  If you haven't tried kayaking or want to hone your skills, this is a great place to start.

Susan Brockway  -  Los Alamos National Laboratory
I have taken the Intro, Roll, and the Whitewater Weekend courses. They've all been informative, supportive, and fun. It has been a progressive learning process and I do like your emphaisis on offensive paddling rather than defensive paddling.  The Intro to Kayak (Level 1) class is a perfect foundation.  I am probably going to retake the Intro class because there was a lot in there that I just could not absorb at one time; WAY beyond an 'intro' class!
Marty Teugel  -  Fish & Wildlife Service

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

This was my second time in this class in a months' time. Although I enjoyed the first class, I felt like all the pieces began to fall in to place the second time around. I felt my skills improved exponentially. The instructors were very skilled and helpful in zeroing in on specific needs of those in the class, and were there to roll you (back up) when necessary. Loved it.
Chip Berglund  -  Semi-retired
It is amazing to do something so challenging. I feel like I have accomplished something that I never thought possible.
Dena Hunt

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

I like the emphasis on kayaking as a positive experience.  After taking the classes, you realize that you can have a very fun time, even before mastering the roll.  Other classes I've taken make the roll seem like a necessity, and learning to roll (or not), becomes the focus, which eclipses the fun of kayaking.

Betsy Glenn

I wanted to say thank you for the entire Pilar trip. It was a small class and you could have rescheduled but you didn't. I really learned a lot! Because of that weekend, I'm excited about the sport. I've been talking to my wife and friends about it nonstop! I'm trying to get others to sign up for your class. You do a really good job! Thanks again!

Dan McCarraher  -  Real estate agent

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

This was my second time in this class in a months' time. Although I enjoyed the first class, I felt like all the pieces began to fall in to place the second time around. I felt my skills improved exponentially. The instructors were very skilled and helpful in zeroing in on specific needs of those in the class, and were there to roll you (back up) when necessary. Loved it.
Chip Berglund  -  Semi-retired

I like the emphasis on kayaking as a positive experience.  After taking the classes, you realize that you can have a very fun time, even before mastering the roll.  Other classes I've taken make the roll seem like a necessity, and learning to roll (or not), becomes the focus, which eclipses the fun of kayaking.

Betsy Glenn

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

Fantastic! The instruction was top notch. The instructors' attention to detail and focus on safety were superb. The classroom environment was interesting, the class time on the water was a blast, and the attendees had a great time together during and after class around the camp fire. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in kayaking in New Mexico.
Justin Tade  -  Attorney, avid skier, surfer, pilot, adventure junkie
Thanks for the info and the good class.  Even though I've owned recreational kayaks for many years, I learned far more than I ever knew before.
Tom Pherson

Can you recommend any places to stay, besides the campground?

There are a few Bed & Breakfast inns in the area.  The one I recommend is Casa Escondida.

Casa Escondida is an authentic adobe, 8-room bed & breakfast that is located in historic Chimayo (only 35 - 40 minutes from Pilar). They offer a rural, secluded setting with great mountain views. A full, hot breakfast is included. Enjoy their relaxing outdoor hot tub after a long day of paddling. Rooms range from $99 - $159 / night. FREE Wi-Fi. Pet-friendly. Book online or by phone: www.casaescondida.com / 505-351-4805

What about meals?

Plan on bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner, as there are few eating places in close proximity to the river and campgrounds. 

The Pilar Yacht Club is the exception. The Yacht Club makes a mean breakfast burrito, and has other basic conveniences; coffee, sodas, ice, sun screen and ice cream. The Yacht Club closes by mid-afternoon.

We'll pause for about 30 minutes during our lesson for lunch, but will not have time to leave the area. 

At the end of an awesome day, we typically have a pot-luck dinner Saturday night at the campground.  Bring a dish that can be shared with everyone.

Other options include going to Taos for dinner, or eating at Embudo Station or Sugars BBQ, both about 20 minutes away from the campground.

What about lodging?

When it comes to lodging, I let everyone decide what works best for them. Some people like to stay in hotels in Taos.  Others like to cut cost by camping out at the Orilla Verde State Park.  Others bring camper trailers and RVs.  In the past, some have stayed at Ojo Caliente, Sipapu, or found Bed & Breakfast inns in Dixon, Pilar, Embudo or Chimayo.  There are a variety of options.

I will typically will get a campsite on the State Park Friday or Saturday night, depending on when I arrive. Campsites are booked first come, first served, so advanced reservations are not allowed.  Anyone is welcome to stay at my campsite, provided we don't exceed the limits. 

Campsites at the Orilla Verde State Park vary from primitive to full RV setups. Most have enzyme or flush toilets, and one campground has hot showers. Bring $2-3 in quarters. It's not necessary to stay at that campground to use their shower.

Is the water cold? What do I need to bring?

I'll have a variety of 'farmer john' unisex wet suits, which should fit most people.  If you have a wet suit that fits, please bring it.  Additionally, I recommend bringing a few of your own layers; fleece vest or jacket (that can get wet), polypropylene shirt, nylon trekking pants, Lycra spandex tights, mountain bike shorts, and a good waterproof wind breaker, just in case. Anything that is fast drying, moisture-wicking and insulating is good.  It's not necessary to have ALL of that, but the more options you have, the more prepared you'll be for different conditions.  It also helps to have a second change of clothes for Sunday morning....just in case your clothes don't dry out overnight.

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