Genius! Take an activity that your mother would never let you do as a kid and turn it into an adventure that promotes fun, competition and personal achievement. Not to mention, it might be one of the best ways ever to rid yourself of tension. It was over a year ago that I heard about the axe throwing activities at Skamania Lodge and there was no doubt that this was something I wanted to do.

Getting signed up was easy. Just go to the website and scroll down to the Axe Throwing and click the book now button. Upon arrival a very friendly staff member named Shayne, got me checked in and we were immediately headed to the axe throwing facility where we were given a great orientation on safety and throwing methods. Of course, our trainer Anthony, had to demonstrate the proper techniques and planted his axe-head right in the center of the target. Was it demonstration or showing off? I’ll let you decide.

No way! It stuck on my second throw? I must be a natural.

What was immediately obvious by the layout of the facility is that you could show up with just two people and have a great throwing session or your could fully utilize the space and multiple throwing stations with a group of friends, a family reunion or a corporate group and create a team based tournament. The facility can become completely enclosed making it perfect for foul weather fun.

Quickly we learned that good throwing came down to rotation of the axe, consistency of throwing speed and then finding just the right distance to throw from. My first throw did exactly what I thought it would by bouncing off the target and hitting the floor. Anthony evaluated my form and suggested an adjustment. As the axe left my hand on the second throw it felt smooth and it was if the axe was sailing in slow motion as I watched the rotation of the axe-head while it headed for the target. What I’d like to tell you is that I planted the sharp end of the axe head into the bullseye, but I did not. However, it did stick into the wood on just my second throw. It was genuinely exciting and needless to say I was feeling pretty proud.

How much fun did I have? So much that I’m looking forward to my next visit and making it a little competition between the raft guides. Rain or shine, I say put axe throwing on your list of fun things to do while in the Columbia River Gorge.

Older male guide and company owner, Mark, holding his raft paddle and smiling.
Mark Zoller has been guiding whitewater rafting trips on the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers since 1985. He lives in and loves the Columbia River Gorge