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Adventure Day offers gear, help for public to try outdoor sports

The annual Sekani Adventure Day is built around the principle that no child should be left out of outdoor recreation.  No adult, either.

Especially in the outdoor mecca of the Inland Northwest.

The low-key event, Saturday at Spokane’s Camp Sekani Conservation Area, offers the chance to borrow gear and try at least 11 popular outdoor sports.

“This is great for families, but not just for families,” said Lunell Haught of the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition.

Maybe you’d like to try a traditional sport, such as canoeing or kayaking, or perhaps you’re curious about more recently developed sports such as geocaching or stand up paddling.

The event is sponsored by Spokane Parks and Recreation and boosted by volunteers from a variety of outdoor groups. 

Other sports covered include mountain biking, letterboxing, paddle rafting, archery, map and compass navigation and scrambling.

“Nothing is sold at this event,” Haught said. “It’s strictly a ‘try it and see if you like it’ kind of day.”

Gear can be a barrier to getting started in a sport, she said. Having canoes, kayaks, climbing ropes, GPS units, bows and arrows and mountain bikes available allows newbies to easily get over the first hurdle.

Of course, it also helps to have people available who can help you learn how to use the gear and participate in the sport.

It’s perfect that this event can be staged in the geographical center of the city along the Spokane River and in the shadow of Beacon Hill, Haught said.

“How can there be a ‘last child in the woods’ or ‘nature deficit disorder,’ around here?” she said, referring to the best-selling book by Richard Louv.

“Some people like to bring a picnic and make a day of it,” Haught said. There’s plenty to do, she added, and you can do it at any level of activity, from passive to vigorous.

“We have individuals show up, but we’ve also had three generations of one family attend. Grandpa was 92.

“A lot of people get maxed out in events with huge crowds,” Haught said.

“This is very relaxed, and it’s not a big crowd.”

The bike riders gravitate to a skills course; scramblers amble to some climbing rocks, paddlers head to the flatwater portion of the river behind Upriver Dam.

Stand up paddling boards will be available to sample a sport – a combination of canoe paddling and surfboarding – that’s only been active on the U.S. mainland for about four years.

“The other nice thing about this event: there’s nothing here to buy,” Haught said. “None of the gear is for sale here and people bring their own food. Kids don’t have anything to nag you about. There’s no pressure on adults.

“That’s intentional.”