Port Angeles Sea Kayak Symposium

Posted by Ken Campbell April 13, 2008 0 Comment 493 views

I’m writing this from my room at the Red Lion Inn here in Port Angeles, ice clinking in my glass, as the evening falls. I love that it’s almost 8pm and the sky is still light, the glow on the water so warm. This is, without doubt, a singularly beautiful time of the season.

I am giving a few presentations again this year at the Port Angeles Sea Kayak Symposium… I think it’s the fifth year I’ve been coming to this event. Maybe the sixth. I like it and I like coming here for so many reasons: It gets me out on the peninsula, to one of my favorite towns. There’s something about the gritty elegance of PA that has always lit up my fancy. So raw, yet so refined, in so many ways. I could live here, I’ve always said that.

I like that it’s so close to Vancouver Island, so close to what almost seems like a parallel universe, sometimes. Canada. I love my country, make no mistake. But I love Canada too. So big and fresh, outsized and in-your-face. So many of my changes happened there in that big, big land.

Port Angeles is literally the Olympic mountains front porch. It occupies that narrow band of real estate between salt water and the high country, between ancient and powerful forces, and it does it with such nonchalance that it makes itself beautiful. Does Port Angeles belong to the land or to the sea? Or neither? I don’t know. But it belongs, there is no mistaking that.

Finally, I like coming to the PA symposium because it’s laid back. It’s out of the sturm und drang that modern commercial kayaking has become. Sure, Dave (of Olympic Raft and Kayak, the sponsor of the event), will sell you a boat and all the accompanying equipment, if you ask him. He is in business, after all. But it doesn’t feel like a money thing… it feels like other sea kayak gatherings used to feel, back before all the boats started being made in China. Before it got so serious.

It’s almost dark. I’m going to go for a walk out on the city pier and watch the lights of the city come on. It’s a very good night on planet Earth and I am very happy with the view.

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