Several hundred people in kayaks drifted and paddled the Cowlitz River from Castle Rock to Gerhart Gardens Park in Longview on Sunday, many stopping for a barbecue in Lexington on the way. Kayakers left the boat lunch on the north end of the ride at about 11 a.m. and arrived at their destination at about 5 p.m. The group often had to paddled around large shoals, and some errant paddlers had to get out and drag their watercraft around sand bars as the Cowlitz was at its typical summertime low level. But with blue skies, moderate temperatures and river breezes sweeping over the river, most of the paddlers were all smiles —and sore, too. The event was put on by Mike Hedges of Cowlitz Kayak Tours, a new local business that aims to connect locals and visitors with the area's waterways.