If you paddle in Hood River, Ore., chances are good you boat with a few fearless female kayakers. Kayakers like Christie Glissmeyer, who notched the women’s waterfall world record on 82-foot Metlako Falls last year and bartends at night to accommodate her paddling schedule. Or paddlers like Kate Wagner and Melissa DeCarlo, who regularly join Glissmeyer on “miss” adventures from Canada to Idaho.
Paddling together over the last few years, the women amassed many a zany tale and heaps of video, most of which finds its way onto their “Northwest Livin’” blog. Glissmeyer and Wagner condensed the best clips into a four-minute film, which opens with the three leading ladies, clad in heels and cocktail dresses, carrying creekboats followed by footage of local drops, bootie beers, mud wrestling and tandem mechanical bull riding. After the movie won first place at Portland’s PDX Kayaker Film Festival in October, the girls started posting 45-second teasers, dubbed Femme45, about their escapades on their blog and Facebook pages. Lunch Video Magazine’s John Grace liked the clips, and commissioned them for a regular segment on the quarterly DVD. LVM #33, which premiered in March, features cold-weather adventures like roller derby, winter runs around the Pacific Northwest, and Wagner destroying the competition in a halftime tricycle race at a Portland Trailblazers game.
“It’s fun having girlfriends with the same interests as you,” says the Dagger-sponsored Glissmeyer, 31. “When you’re sitting at the bar and talking about kayaking, they’re not just rolling their eyes like, ‘Here she goes again.’”
And when they’re not styling local Class IV-V on the White Salmon or Upper Wind rivers, these ladies can be found shredding the snow-covered slopes of Mount Hood or on the dance floor at Jack’s restaurant. “The greatest thing about going out on the town with the girls is that’s where most of our crazy adventures are born,” says Wagner, a 29-year-old mental health therapist who also works evenings to fit in a full day’s paddle. “And we hold each other to them.”
DeCarlo, a bubbly, a 30-year-old accountant, lives in Vancouver, Wash., but regularly makes the hour drive to hang with her boating besties in the Hood. “I love hanging out with all my guy friends too,” she says. “But it’s those moments when we look at each other and just start laughing for what seemingly is no reason that make it fun to have girl time.”
This spring, the girls have penciled in a few self-support trips in Idaho, Montana, and classic California runs like the Middle Feather. “One of our dream trips would be doing some of the multi-day runs in Peru,” Glissmeyer says. “So we’re getting some experience paddling loaded boats and other expedition type stuff on local runs where we’re really comfortable.”
— Kate Stepan