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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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