It’s official. Our first festival in Colorado, and our first festival for Elevation Outdoors, is in the books. Memorial Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without CKS Paddlefest. The annual paddle festival is located in Buena Vista Whitewater Park in Buena Vista, Colo, and it is the official kickoff to summer fun in this town. This party has everything you would expect from a Coloradan paddle fest—live music, a kayak rodeo, and SUP Yoga, to name a few.

The Centennial state welcomed us in true Colorado fashion with some wild weather and a big whitewater bash. A welcome party of friends made the trek from Denver to enjoy the festival with us and celebrate. Buena Vista is a favorite of ours. Between the Arkansas River and the Collegiate Peaks, it’s hard to find a mountain town that has so much outdoor focused fun in such a small area. With our friends in tow, we decided to take advantage of the towns location right outside of San Isabelle National Forest. We snagged a stellar campsite right along Cottonwood Creek away from the Memorial Day crowds.Colorado weather can be fickle this time of year. Throughout the weekend we experienced hot sunshine, cold nights, 40MPH winds, a little rain, and several periods of snow. Of course, nobody batted an eye at the dramatic temperature shifts and the party kept on going. The thing that made CKS Paddlefest stand out for us was the community feel. It was as if the whole town was there to celebrate whitewater and the beginning of summer. There were so many smiling faces hanging out and talking all things Elevation Outdoors Magazine.Following the weekend’s festivities, we teamed up with CKS Paddlefest and Eddyline Brewery to help make sure we left the park, river bank, and water, better than we found it.  We led a river clean up along the banks to make sure there wasn’t any trash left behind. The cleanup was a success and we had a great turnout of new friends that we met throughout the weekend. If there’s one thing thats certain in #vanlife—it’s that things will go wrong, and you will have to rely on the humans around you to help you out of a jam. On our way to the trash cleanup we blew a tire on our trailer. We had a spare but we didn’t realize that the only tire iron we had was for the van sized tires, too large for our little trailer. Once again, we had to cash in our road karma and a neighbor in the area came to the rescue. He even gave us a tire iron that fit our trailer to keep for next time.

Next up we’ve got Lyons Outdoor Games in beautiful Lyons, Colorado on Saturday June 3rd. Hope to see you there!


If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La SportivaCrazy CreekNational GeographicRovR ProductsSea to SummitMountain HouseLifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.