“At 67, I did my first whitewater kayaking trip this summer on the Payette River in Idaho. The river was at high water (Class II and III+ rapids). What a BLAST!”
Some folks are simply adventurous. Henry Michael, of Caldwell, Idaho, tells us he spent 10 years in the Coast Guard; drove truck for 16 years, and piloted 100-ton commercial ships in the Gulf of Mexico. He rides an 1100cc motorcycle. He bought his first Sea Eagle inflatable boat 10 years ago. And this summer, at 67 years young, he took his first whitewater kayak trip in his Sea Eagle 370 Sport Kayak.
Henry and his wife, June, bought a Sea Eagle SE9 when they lived in Texas. “We have adult kids and grandkids. We got the SE9 so we could all go out when they came to visit,” says Henry. “It’s a big boat.” Then they bought a smaller Sea Eagle 370 Sport Kayak just for the two of them.
“When we moved to the desert, in the Boise, Idaho area, I saw the local rivers and they just looked fantastic for boating,” said Henry. “I started talking about going whitewater kayaking and my wife said, ‘You’re crazy, you’ve never done that before.’ I said, ‘Well, the 370 is inflatable, it’s got extra chambers, an inflatable seat, and I’ve got a good lifejacket.’ One morning, I just got up and said ‘I’m going to go whitewater kayaking.’”
“There was a river rafting excursion company putting in the Payette River at the same place and same time I did,” says Henry. “I decided I ‘d just follow them because I’d never been in whitewater before and didn’t know how to read the river.”
“I went into a spot called Mike’s Hole, just below Banks, Idaho,” said Henry. “It was Class III rapids, and high water.” A photographer snapped the shot of Henry shown here. “The water rolls over a rock and forces water out of the downriver side and leaves a hole that’s actually lower than the rest of the river. I’ll never forget that day.”
Transportation logistics: truck, motorcycle, boat
“When you’re boating down a river,” says Henry, “you have to have someone come and pick you up downstream.” But Henry and June have figured out how to do it all themselves. “We have a pickup truck and a motorcycle with a sidecar. We put the Sea Eagle in the pickup. We drive downriver to the farthest point we’ll boat to — my wife drives the pickup and I drive the motorcycle. I park the motorcycle there and get in the pickup. We drive upriver to the launch point, unload, inflate, and launch the Sea Eagle. Then when we boat down to where the motorcycle is, roll up the Sea Eagle, and strap it to the passenger seat. My wife rides in the sidecar, and we drive back to get the pickup.”
What’s coming up for Henry and June? “I’ll do the Payette River again,” he told us. “And June and I will go boating on the Boise River. The 370 is a sturdy boat. It’ll take anything you throw at it. I highly recommend it.”
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