For the past two weeks, I have been living in a hostel in Bingen, WA.  Don't jump to conclusions . . . I didn't get kicked out of the house.  Instead, I have been involved in an organization which is near and dear to my heart - First Descents!  I have been fortunate enough to experience three camps as a counselor/instructor, two years in a row.

To give you a little background about this organization:  First Descents was started in 2001 by professional kayaker, Brad Ludden.  First Descents is a kayaking camp for young adults recovering from cancer.  We like to say, "You've been through cancer, what's a little rapid!"  We always get little chuckles from this . . . because it's true!  So many of the campers strive to take on challenges and step out of there comfort zone during this week, leaving the camp filled with new hope, new confidence, new outlook and many new friends!

This year, the Columbia River Gorge was home to two First Descents camps . . . here are our experiences in picture format from week #1!   All photos courtesy of Chris Ohta.

A big shout out to Wet Planet Whitewater in Husum, WA . . . they have been host to the FD camps for the last two years and will continue to play a large part in bringing FD to the gorge year after year.

[caption id="attachment_2558" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Mrs. Robinson (with two black eyes) andSmelly"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2559" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Robstar learning to correctly hold his paddleIntense game of kayak polo"]

FD is encouraging and supportive . . .

[caption id="attachment_2565" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Off-water day at Timberline - Mt. Hood"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2566" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Our new FD family . . . celebrates good times amongst the group!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2567" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Beemer through Rattlesnake rapid"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2568" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="Strawberry pickin' . . . yummy!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2569" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Campers paddling down the Klickitat River"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2570" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="This picture says it all . . . "][/caption]

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