Flow! A Holistic Approach to Learning Whitewater Kayaking

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, USA

Sarah Kellett
  • Email address verified
May 20 - 24, 2022
Group size: 4 - 5
Flow! A Holistic Approach to Learning Whitewater Kayaking
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, USA

Sarah Kellett
  • Email address verified

May 20 - 24, 2022
Group size: 4 - 5

About this trip

Discover Whitewater! 

On the river, you experience presence with every fiber of your being, totally immersed in the beauty that surrounds you - the wildlife, the trees, the rushing water. And you flow with that water, navigating in harmony with current, splashing, gliding over and through crystalline waves, and rolling with that feeling of being fully alive. This is whitewater kayaking. It's always a new journey, and always a day to remember. It's both relaxing, and adrenaline-pumping. It takes us to stunning, pristine places that we will never get to go otherwise. And it connects us with the most friendly community of other river lovers. Not to mention, it's an incredible full-body workout that builds strength, confidence, and resilience from within. (You can't help feeling a bit bad-ass!)

Professional Quality Instruction in a Wellness-Oriented Environment

At our educational retreat you will learn the art of whitewater kayaking in the most relaxing, healthy, and rejuvenating way possible, while still indulging in great adventure. This 5 day immersion is designed for complete beginners, starting with basic safety and wet exits, and gradually building upon the skills needed to competently paddle the rapids of the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Following a carefully designed itinerary, you will receive expert instruction with an incredible 2-5 instructor/student ratio. Plus you will indulge in complementary wellness modalities selected to help prepare the body and mind for functioning at its best. 

Mornings will include the chirping of birds of the surrounding forest, and a blissful meditative wakeup class of Qi Gong (both energizing and calming). Days will be spent learning boating skills in an uplifting, supportive environment. Evenings will include a wind-down yoga class, specially designed to help create the range of motion that we need to perform the desired skills on the water. Night time yoga and relaxation sessions will feature live sound healing, designed to inspire joy, personal wellness, and deep restful sleep. 

Fully-Catered Plant-based Cuisine

Meals will be plentiful, 100% whole foods plant based, fresh, local where possible, and organic-focused. Nourishment of whole foods enhances overall health, fitness, and athletic performance. Flavors will be diverse, multicultural, and fusion-style, with choice for discerning eaters. 

The Only Program Of Its Kind

Be a part of a new and progressive approach to learning this incredible sport. 

Location: Historic Harpers Ferry

You'll be staying in a lovely private home (see pictures) situated right up against a wooded area of Harpers Ferry National Park. This charming location brings beauty, serenity, and a unique glimpse of history to every aspect of the retreat. 

From the website of the Harper's Ferry National Park Service:

"Find yourself at the confluence of history and nature. Experience John Brown's Raid, a flash point that ignited the Civil War. Find your story in the struggle for freedom, education, and civil rights at Storer College. Explore the rolling Blue Ridge mountains and rushing waters of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers that powered industry and the nation's second armory."

There are lots of things to do/see in Harper's Ferry, although you will experience it in a way that most will never have a chance to do. The Shenandoah River itself is extremely gorgeous, wide, and host to many bird species. It's lined with trees and historic remains from industry that were once a huge part of American History. The town itself is quaint and well preserved. You'll enjoy lunch in the town when we go to Kelley Farm Kitchen.

Your Instructors

 Meet an incredible team of hand-selected instructors:

Jeff Cogle has been kayaking, rafting, and teaching river skills for almost his entire life, mostly at the ever-popular ACE Adventure Resort in WV. Being a Harpers Ferry native, however, he knows the Shenandoah river intimately, including its rich history, and all important river features, at all water levels. Although he's gone on to remarkable levels as a professional kayaker, including pro-level competing, and multiple descents down the Grand Canyon, he delights in returning to the basics in sharing technique. Most recently, he has been working to advance popular teaching strategies by using a deeper analysis of river hydraulics and applied biomechanical forces. In his personal life, he is a daily practitioner of Qi Gong, devoted follower of the Four Agreements, loving father of a budding whitewater kayaker, and experientially studies the art of healing through sound. Jeff will be graciously sharing his self-care practices with you throughout the course of our time together. 

Lewis (AKA "Lew") Glaeser has been teaching whitewater kayaking for eight years, mostly with the Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club. He is known for having a particular eye for detail in beginners' technique and aims to teach river kayaking in a way that's fun and playful, while creating the strongest foundation possible. On the river, he looks out for everyone like they are family, and always makes extra sure to clearly articulate the best lines and maneuvers to use in order to navigate rapids with grace and ease. Off the river, he is a bit sport-obsessed, jumping on, riding on, and gliding on just about everything that he can possibly try. Oh, and he also loves flowers and building things. As long as you don't mind a few really bad jokes, Lew is like having your dad on the river, but better, because he knows how to inspire skill and wisdom in a kayak! 

Charles (AKA "Charlie") Duffy has in-depth experience in just about everything related to whitewater safety and rescue. He's currently a certified Level 4 ACA (American Canoe Association) Instructor, a teacher of teachers in Swift Water Rescue, and certified Wellness First Aid Instructor. He has written a course in Wilderness First Aid, and chapters in two Wilderness First Aid books. As a volunteer, he runs the National Safety and Risk Management Association for Team River Runner, and strives to contribute to raising capital for their community programs at every opportunity (catering to both veterans and individuals with special needs). Charlie has also served on the ACA National Standards Committee and currrently manages the metrics of the AWA (American Whitewater Association). He's responsible for the charts and graphics put out by their safety division that inform the public of important river data. In short, his life is devoted to his love of whitewater, and he works relentlessly to help others to experience the joy, tranquility, and absolute magic that the river holds. 

What’s included

  • 7 Skill-Building Lessons
    Get foundational instruction in gear, safety, paddle strokes, river features, reading water, boat control, and more.
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
    Stay in a lovely house close the Shenandoah River, which features a yoga room, pool, screened-in porch, hot tub, and a forested area of Harper's Ferry National Park bordering the backyard.
  • Nutrient Loaded Cuisine
    Food will be seasonal, extremely fresh, organic-focused, oil-free, peanut-free, preservative/additive-free, gluten-free, vegan, and extremely flavorful. Clean, 100% WFPB (whole foods plant based).
  • Special Lunch Excursions
    Includes one picnic while out on the river, and one trip to the infamous Kelley Farm Kitchen, declared by YELP as "The Top Place to Eat in 2021"-for the whole country!
  • Rafting Trip
    Led by Jeff Cogle, in collaboration with River Riders. Scout the river before you paddle it. Identify river features and take note of patterns of hydraulics.
  • Daily Morning Qi Gong
    Begin each day by practicing ancient techniques shown to boost mental clarity, focus, and creativity, while increasing physical energy, agility, dexterity and endurance.
  • Daily Evening Yoga
    Finish each day with a gentle, restorative yoga flow. Prepare your mind to transition to sleep. Prepare your body for movement to come the following day.
  • Sound Healing Sessions
    Sound Healing is a special offering from Jeff, given with the intention to initiate states of deep relaxation, thus promoting healing and recovery on the cellular level.
  • Guided River Hike
    Harpers Ferry is full of beautiful hiking trails, but we have a special one in mind, one that overlooks the beautiful river that you'll be paddling, offering a view with a new perspective.
  • Use of Equipment/Gear
    While we recommend having your own gear, we will ensure that you have the equipment that you need to paddle safely and have a great time.
  • Multiple River Trips
    Start with flat water, and progress slowly to more challenging rapids. A skilled support crew will be with you at all times on the river, creating the safest environment possible.
  • Suspension Yoga (Option)
    Enjoy spinal decompression therapy with inversion and assisted stretching on an OmGym Suspension System. Receive an "Intro to Suspension Yoga" session with expert guidance and personalized attention.
  • Ducky Option
    We'll have two inflatable kayaks (AKA "Duckies") available (generally used by kids and inexperienced paddlers) for anyone preferring an easier option on river trips.

What’s not included

  • Airfare
    The closest airports are IAD (40 miles), HGR (41 miles), DCA (70 miles), and BWI (70 miles)
  • Airport/Ground Transfer
    We will do our best to help with transport when possible but are not equipped to provide a standard service.
  • River Shoes
    We recommend river and paddle shoes by NRS or Astral.
  • River Clothing
    This will vary depending on conditions. We recommend using a dry top and/or splash top. Also bring an assortment of polyester items, including thin long sleeve top, long sleeve fleece, and leggings.

Available Packages

Shared Master, Private Ensuite Bath

This room is the master suite, which has two beds, suitable for a roommate arrangement. Beds include one King (firm) and one Queen (soft). The bathroom is a master ensuite. This room also has its own access to outdoors with a deck. It is the nicest of accommodations.  

Deposit: $745
Private Room, Shared Bath

Queen Bed with Desk

Note: The shared bathroom has only two main users (including you), however the bathroom may be used by others, depending on the proximity to current activity.  

Deposit: $795
Couple's King Room, Shared Bath

This option is for two people, a couple or two friends who don't mind sharing a bed. The bed is king. The room is located on the lower level, along with a separate bathroom. 

The two spots must be purchased together to get the double occupancy price of $1345 per person. 

Deposit: $675
Queen Discount Room, Shared Bathroom

This room is a private room with a queen bed and is located on the lower level. Please note that this room has NO WINDOWS and is therefore discounted. 

Deposit: $695


Day 1
Welcome to Harpers Ferry!

3-3:45pm - Check-in and Welcome Snack 

4:00pm     - Orientation and 1st Lesson: Gear and Equipment

5:00pm     - Boat Fitting and Adjustments

6:15pm      - Dinner on the Patio

8:15pm      - Yoga, Guided Relaxation and Sound Healing

10:00pm    - Deep Sleep and Silent Time

Your Organizer

Sarah Kellett
Sarah has been a natural health professional for 25+ years. Beginning with education at the Florida College of Natural Health, she has devoted her life to learning, living and teaching natural health strategies. She has developed suspension yoga teacher training programs, co-developed a spinal therapy product, catered events as a raw vegan chef, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle for over 21 years – including while living/traveling extensively abroad in effort to discover diverse nature, adventure, and healthier ways of life.