River Enjoyed Best by Kayak

NOTHING SAYS summer like a day on the water. And while oceans and estuaries are great fun, I’m kind of a river gal, myself. I love the way a river cuts through canyons and spills over rocks, with its roiling rapids and lazy stretches of cool, meandering water.

One of the best ways to enjoy a river is by kayak. You’re low to the water and can feel each little nuance as you maneuver your craft along miles of scenic waterway. Fish jump around you. Birds glide alongside and you get the sense that you’re more in tune with nature in a kayak.

A good place to learn this sport is along the Truckee River in Reno.

They’ve got this great whitewater park downtown, where you can rent an inflatable kayak and go out with a guide along five miles of gentle class 1 and 2 river. Inflatable kayaks are forgiving, and let you bounce off the rocks as you learn to negotiate whitewater. They’re also less “tippy,” so you can stay upright — if a river dip is not in your plans.

So this summer, why not try something new? Instead of jumping in a lake, try giving credence to a new water sport. Rolling on a river.

HEAR, HEAR: Thanks to reader Chuck Harrison for tuning me in to the good deeds of his Oakland audiologist, Raymond Crookston, who spoke recently at a local meeting of the Hearing Loss Association. This Piedmont Avenue doctor, along with two dozen colleagues, spends a week or two each year donating time to treat patients in Third World countries. On their last trip to Africa, they tested 600 villagers and fitted 160 of them, mostly children, for hearing aids. Crookston says the hearing loss among kids is especially bad, triggered by untreated disease and poor overall health. Thank goodness there are people like Crookston who hear the cry of the poor — and respond.

OAKLAND ART: It’s open season for art lovers as we kick off two weekends of ProArts Open Studios in Oakland today. One of the most interesting pieces is being crafted right now by local artist Sal Deguarda, who is working on an 80-foot-tall statue for display on Treasure Island.

The sculpture of a woman is designed to be a symbol of acceptance and welcome for new immigrants.

NIGHT LIFE: Riding through Redwood Park rattled my nerves the other evening. As I bounced along the pitted path, I was keenly aware of the forest’s unnatural sounds at dusk. Shrill cackles echoed through the canyon joined by throaty calls from a distant owl and something that sounded like a blood-curdling scream. It was enough to get my adrenaline pumping, as well as my pedals. Daylight was waning and while I love this peaceful time when shadows dance and the last bit of sunlight splays through the redwoods, my imagination was getting the best of me. I think I’ll make all future outings in midday, when I’ve got plenty of human company. I’ll save my evenings for things less scary — like watching crime shows on TV.


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