On the Fourth this year, my band, Prohibition Band, had been booked for a local private party. Knowing that I’d be busy on the evening of the actual observed patriotic holiday, I started keeping an eye out for something my husband and I could go do together beforehand — just the two of us — since we wouldn’t be together for fireworks this year.
That search led me down a bit of a Facebook rabbit hole where I stumbled upon an event posted by Cowlitz Kayak Tours: Kayaking on Silver Lake outside of Castle Rock on July 3 to view any pre-Fourth of July fireworks displayed by residents and campers along the lakeshore.
Now, there were two things that were really exciting about this.
First of all, kayaking plus fireworks? Count me in! How did I not think of this before? Our family just got our very own kayaks this year, so we’ve been looking for excuses to explore. This event at Silver Lake was a perfect opportunity. Just a short drive to Cowlitz County.
But here’s the second thing: Knowing there is a “mobile” kayak outfitter in our area. That’s a huge deal. Yeah, not only can you rent kayaks on Silver Lake from Cowlitz Kayak Tours — they can also be booked for tours around the region.
About 10 years ago, when I first started getting into kayaking, there were several places regionally that offered kayaks for on-site rentals in or near recreation areas, and only one outfitter in Olympia (Alpine Experience) that actually rented kayaks out for off-site use (i.e. camping, day trips, etc.).
My favorite kayaking company based on Anderson Island closed some years ago. I bet you can name a kayaking rental location that’s closed up shop in the last 5-10 years, too. We passed one in Raymond last weekend that closed, too.
And, in reality, purchasing kayaks is still a fairly expensive venture. While prices have come down in the last few years, you’re easily looking at $100 for your kayak plus all associated costs for flotation devices, oar(s), and other gear you might need. At the end of the day, you’re not getting on the water for less than $200 per person in most cases.
Renting is a much more reasonable option for some. Knowing that we have a locally-based outfitter in the area. It’s a hot commodity.
Just in looking at the Cowlitz Kayak Tour Facebook page, it appears they’re also giving tours based out of the Toledo area, too. They also are doing a great job of highlighting other local businesses and opportunities around them in the region while they’re at it.
Anyways, kayaking on July 3 was great. There’s a great beach to launch from at the end of Kerr Road, just a mile or so past Seaquest park if you’re headed east on State Route 504.
And I’m excited to see Cowlitz Kayak Tours establish and grow as a business and tourism entity in our region.
Speaking of recreation, and Toledo … and Facebook events … I’ve been completely intrigued by all of the events and things I see happening at Camp Singing Wind in Toledo.
Growing up, Camp Singing Wind was an outdoor education camp — our local version of Camp Cispus. In the 6th grade, we spent several days camping with our classmates, performing water quality testing, building fires and shelters, and earning beads of various colors from our high school counselors.
Fast forward to now, I see a girl that I went to school with just got married on the grounds of Camp Singing Wind (gorgeous wedding with photos by jz.photography if you want to peep the teaser images from the big day). And, in addition to now having the very cabins we stayed in years ago remodeled as Airbnb units, they’ve also been hosting yoga classes, community events, themed campout opportunities, and more.
I also see that M.A.P Enrichment Programs of Toledo has been hosting “forest school” at Camp Singing Wind for students of all ages, including sensory-specific camps and events, too.
If you get a chance, check them out on social media to follow all the updates. It’s a very awesome property opening up to the larger community.
Brittany Voie is a columnist for The Chronicle. She lives south of Chehalis with her husband and two young sons. She welcomes correspondence from the community at firstname.lastname@example.org.