Staff paddle: Bull Run to Dodge Park to Oxbow Park

March 6, 2013

L to R: Dave T, Paul, Slover, Malcolm, and Steve; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

As there are only three days a year that the shop isn’t open, it is a rare opportunity to paddle with my coworkers. It’s even rarer to see the boss man, Dave Slover, kayaking whitewater these days! Apparently having a family, owning a business, and being active in the community doesn’t allow for much river recreation with the boys. Suzi Elle, Andrew Brown, and Rod Richards graciously stayed behind to work so the rest of us could go and play!

Playing in the rain; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

In typical PNW fashion, the day was gray and wet, but who gives a hoot when you’re splashing down the Sandy? We made a full day of fun beginning with Bull Run, stopping briefly for snacks at Dodge park where Bull Run flows into the Sandy River, and continuing downstream to Oxbow Park. Bull Run was running around 800cfs and rising while the Sandy River was running approximately 3000cfs and rising. There were tons of eddies to catch, waves to surf, and rocks to boof! There may have even been a couple sessions of “boof that boat” aka “surprise!”

"Sharing" a wave; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

A fun day on the river, Team Alder Creek was represented by Dave Slover, Paul Kuthe, Steve Pilch, Malcolm Kelly, David Trageser, and myself. We were plenty tired after so much playing, and substantial eating was in direct order. At Tad’s Chicken N’ Dumpling, the crew grew with the additions of Suzi Elle, Andrew Brown, and Amy Cornett. Though Tad’s is along the way to/from put-ins, I had never stopped in to see what it’s about. It’s much nicer than I had anticipated with warm lighting, floor-to-ceiling wood, and a nice view of the Sandy River. We couldn’t resist the temptation of Tad’s namesake dish, and much chicken and many dumplings were speechlessly consumed. The portions were generously fit for hungry kayakers, and most of us cleared our plates…

Dinner at Tad's! Photo: Shaky-handed server

Opportunities to relax with the Team don’t come up very often. So, it’s always a pleasure to get together outside of work. Thank you, Dave and Suzi, for arranging a great day and for being awesome bosses.

-Andrew Romanelli

Tad's Chic Dump. Scrumptious. Photo: Andrew Romanelli


I asked the team what their favorite part of the day was, and this is what they told me:

I think the best part of the day for me was the company.  The laughs and team spirit and Slover’s face when we pulled out the beer. 🙂
The highlight for me was watching out for [the team] and ending up high out of the water on my face, then getting sucked back in to the river upside down with my paddle in one hand trapped under the boat, then eventually rolling up and realizing everyone was watching.
The beer was good, the food was fab, but the vibe was what made the day…
-Malcolm Kelly

Bull Run is my favorite section of river to date since I’ve been paddling in the NW. That day was exceptional! Picking off eddies, boofing rocks, and watching Malcolm high brace with his face on a rock.
I think I’m still recovering from that dinner at chic turd…I mean dump. My cholesterol may drop enough by next year to repeat that trip. Best combo that day for sure. Great people, good paddling, and awesome food.
-Steve Pilch

I can sum up my favorite moment in one word: y-shaped-mossy-slide-boof-rock.  And PBR.  That is all.
-David Trageser

Favorite part of the day?  I stayed upright the whole time.  The Jackson Karma was a great boat for me!
-Dave Slover

The best part of the staff paddle was seeing with my own eyes what an enthusiastic and skilled bunch of paddlers we have working here at the shop this season. We always have knowledgeable staff, but this season we have the staff STOKED on their own paddling progressions and the buzz is contagious! Sitting around the table chowing down a pile of home cooked dumplings was the icing on the cake.
-Paul Kuthe