Outdoors

Blazing Paddles

A world of water

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WHAT: Blazing Paddles: A Celebration of Paddlesports Around the World
WHEN: 7-10pm Thurs., June 6
WHERE: Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First ST.
COST: $12
INFO: http://www.paddle4ever.com or www.lincolntheatre.org

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The last time I heard from Susan Conrad, she was helping raise money for Bellingham’s Community Boating Center by giving a presentation focusing on the 1,100-mile kayaking journey she’d undertaken in 2010 that focused on her solo adventures throughout the Inside Passage. 

When Conrad contacted me a couple weeks ago to alert me about “Blazing Paddles”—Reel Paddling Film Festival’s 8th annual showcase of flicks featuring sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, rafting, stand-up paddle boarding and other footage from around the world—I paid attention. After all, if a woman as daring as Conrad is was excited about the roster of films, they must be worth paying attention to.

“Highlights include an accomplished Class V whitewater paddler finding strength, challenge and meaning on the river after being paralyzed from the waist down in a skiing accident; a surf ski flick that will get your heart racing; and some incredible whale footage so close you’ll feel like you’re right there next to them in your kayak,” Conrad says of the June 6 event, which will take place at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre.

And, since long-distance expedition paddling is Conrad’s specialty, she’s happy to report the film festival will also include a documentary following four men in canoes through approximately 2,600 miles of self-propelled adventure—beginning in Alaska and ending in Hudson Bay. Another film, she notes, highlights a British couple’s 1,000-mile sea kayak trek in South America’s Tierra del Fuego islands.

“Shipping delays, a stolen kayak, endless red tape, incessant winds and injury all added drama to this amazing undertaking,” Conrad says.

Although Conrad stresses that “Blazing Paddles” isn’t just for those who make paddlesports a part of their everyday lives, she does allow there are common elements for those who love to get from point A to point B via lakes, oceans, rivers and various other bodies of water.

“I think paddlers love the sense of adventure and freedom that comes with being on the water,” she says. “From the vantage point of a low-slung cockpit, one’s perspective, sense of scale and appreciation (and sometimes fear!) for all that we encounter is pretty amazing stuff.

“When I get into a kayak my mind defaults into a sublime state within a few strokes. No matter how crummy my day might be going, settling into a kayak is like pressing the ‘reset’ button. Paddling helps me establish and maintain balance, stability, grace and focus in life when off the water.”

As a year-round kayaker, Conrad is aware that not every moment spent paddling is going to go perfectly. But after traversing more than 1,100 miles from Anacortes to Skagway, Alaska a few summers ago—and dealing with bears, bad weather, hypothermia and other obstacles along the way—she’s confident she can take care of herself while still doing what she loves.

It’s likely that among the gathering of people who show up to watch “Blazing Paddles,” Conrad will be asked if she plans to paddle the Inside Passage again. It’s a question she gets often, and the answer is that she’d repeat the journey “in a heartbeat.”

Meanwhile, she and her boyfriend are tackling legs of the trek she made in 2010, with an autumnal journey planned that will take them from their house on the Stilliguamish River to Powell River, which was her first re-supply point when she made the trip on her own.

“We’ll get it done!” Conrad says, and, given her past, I believe her.

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Market by the Sea

10:00am

Peruse high-quality arts and crafts with the Blaine Harbor as the backdrop at the weekly “Market by the Sea” taking place from 10am-3pm at Blaine’s H and G street plazas. The outdoor market…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The Bellingham Farmers Market continues its 29th season from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. Attendees can expect about 60-70 vendors per market…

Spring Show

10:00am

Check out the multi-artist “Spring Show” from 10am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through May 23 in Mount Vernon at the River Gallery, 19313 Landing Rd. The exhibit can also be viewed online.

Award-Winning Book Club

10:30am

Discuss Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend at a virtual Award Winning Book Club meeting from 10:30am-12pm with the Lynden Library on Zoom. Even if you didn’t finish the book, you’re welcome…

Leo Osborne at Scott Milo Gallery

11:00am

Painter and sculptor Leo Osborne’s works will be featured from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Sundays through May in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. Osborne presents his…

The Work of Jesus Guillén

11:00am

“The Work of Jesus Guillen: An Artistic Legacy of Love and Courage” can be seen from 11am-4pm Fridays through Sundays through May 2 in La Conner at the Skagit County Historical Museum, 501 S.…

Fragile Ecology

11:00am

Painter Clayton Marsh’s one-man show, “Fragile Ecology: Land. People. Harmonies,” can be seen from 11am-6pm daily through May (closed Tuesdays) in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery,…

Spring Into Art

11:00am

View works by Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild members from 11am-5pm Wed.-Sat. in Stanwood at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW. A “Spring Into Art” regional juried art show can be seen through…

Origins and Evolutions Exhibit

11:00am

“Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations” can be seen from 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., and by appointment, at least through May 22 at Gallery Syre, 465 Stuart Rd. The show gathers together…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St.

Light Catchers Photography Exhibit

11:00am

“Light Catchers: Five Photographers from the Skagit” can be seen from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through May 30 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Caines Court. In this exhibit, David…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters hosts a Share Spot from 12pm-2pm Saturdays offering free food to take or share and in the parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest Ave.…

A Road Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A Road Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

City Sprouts Farm Spring Plant Sale

12:00pm

City Sprouts Farm will host a Spring Plant Sale from 12pm-6pm outside of Elizabeth Station, 1400 Holly St. Available veggie starts will include more than 10 varieties of tomatoes, tons of…

Bake Sale and Bouquets

12:00pm

A Mother’s Day Pop-Up, “Bake Sale & Bouquets,” takes place from 12pm-4pm at the Birch Bay Home Farm, 8020 Kickerville Rd. Attending vendors at the farm stand will include Ana Rose Sweets,…

Seeds of Culture at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Indigenous,”…

Spring Juried Exhibit and More

12:00pm

A “Spring Juried Exhibit,” “Winter Textile Explorations,” Lisa McShane’s “A Decade of Landscapes,” and Ron Pattern’s “The Seasonal Forest” can be viewed from 12pm-4:30pm Thursdays through…

Street Law

1:00pm

Law Advocates and Whatcom County Library System team up for Street Law today from 1pm-4pm to offer free legal help for any civil law questions. Residents are able to attend virtual…

Totem Pole Journey Celebration

3:00pm

Friends of Birch Bay Library and Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce will host the 20th anniversary of the Totem Pole Journey from 3pm-6pm at the Birch Bay Library site. In the spirit of healing,…

Rebel Artists of Whatcom County

3:00pm

A variety of artists and artisans sell their creative wares at the Rebel Artists of Whatcom Art Market from 3pm-6pm every Saturday at downtown Bellingham’s Commercial Street Plaza, 1315…

Haynie Opry's Tribute to Charlie Pride

3:00pm

Matt Audette and the Circle of Friends Band present “A Tribute to Charlie Pride” at a Haynie Opry performance at 7pm in Blaine at the Haynie Grange, 3344 Haynie Rd. Show up at 3pm for a…

Art for Housing auction and fundraiser

6:00pm

As part of May’s Mental Health Month, join Lydia Place for its annual “Art for Housing” art auction and fundraiser taking place from 6pm-7pm online. The event kicks off the nonprofit’s…

Matney Cook Album Release

7:00pm

As part of a Live Virtual Concert Series, join the band Matney Cook for a Natural Time album release at 7:30pm live from Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre. The livestreamed show will feature…