Monday, June 25, 2007

Beware Of The Chutes

Ever since I took the kayaking class back in april, my friends Trey and Danna have been itching to get me into a kayak.

But to be completely honest, I was horrified. I often walk down the river and watch the guys kayak in the local river, and I'm NOWHERE NEAR that good. I've rolled a kayak a pool!!! And now I'm supposed to hop in a raging river? HA...I don't think so.

I mentioned to them that I had the weekend off, and they immediately suggested kayaking. I used to excuse that I couldn't afford to rent one, and tried not to bring it up. We later decided that on saturday we would drive up to Deckers, find a place to hang out by the river, eat some watermelon, and goof around in the river. Nothing serious, nothing dangerous, but enough to feel comfortable in the river.

As we drove along the canyon, Trey wanted me to take a look at the river and see what I thought about running the whole thing. And HONESTLY, it didn't look bad. I could run that river in a canoe.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had a newfound confidence in kayaking. I thought "absolutely I can do this!! Theres no way I'll turn over on this river!"

Then we passed the chutes. Trey told me that if I didn't want to run the chutes, I didn't have to. Tons of people portage their kayaks around that portion of the river, so its no big deal.

"I dont think so Trey. That mess looks nasty." I said to him.

So we pulled over, yanked the kayaks off the car, and shoved off. Danna was letting me borrow her kayak for the day, while she and Deanna laid out, read books, whatever it is that girls do while us guys did manly stuff.

The run was fantastic, water a perfect temperature for a 95 degree day. After 10 minutes I felt comfortable in the kayak, and even though I let Trey run that chute by himself, I still managed to run plenty of whitewater myself. And not once did I turn over.

After the run, I was tempted to try the chute. I didn't let Trey in on it since I was afraid he would force me into it, but I thought I could handle it.

Couple hours later we are back on the river, doing the same run. Now that I'm doing it again, I start to doubt myself about the chute. We pulled over to an eddy right before the chute, and I told Trey I couldn't do it. No way.

Heres a video I found on the exact section of the river that I'm talking about:

We sat there for 15 minutes with Trey trying to convince me.
"look, the worst thats gonna happen is your gonna tip over. You can get out of the boat. You don't have to roll it, just do a wet exit. Theres a big pool after the rapids. no big deal. And anyways, I've never seen anyone tip on this thing, you probably will be fine." And a million other motivational tactics.

Finally, I gave in. I was gonna do it. We kayaked around the last turn before the chute, then stopped again so he could give me tips.

"Stay to the left, its gonna try to pull you right, and KEEP PADDLING!

"You wanna sit for a minute?" he asked
"no, lets go, I'm just gonna get more nervous." I replied.

Trey went first, got about 2 waves into the run, and tipped over. I saw his head bobbing in the pool a few moments later. It was my turn.

I went for it, and let me tell you, I got rocked left, right, backwards forwards. There were a million different currents tugging at my boat, but I kept paddling stayed straight, and made it all the way to the ....

At the last moment a current smacked the left side of the boat and dumped me into the water. I did what I was supposed to do, head forward for a few seconds, then pulled the spray skirt off the boat, allowing me passage to the surface.

I wanted to do it again. It was a blast. As we sat on the bank, emptying our kayaks of water, I looked at Trey, and asked "hey man, wheres the paddle??"

In my escape, I had forgotten to hold on to the paddle. It was long gone. Oops. In the rush, that thing was the last thing on my mind.

Danna wasn't happy to lose a $700 paddle (she paid 100 used), but she was forgiving, (I blamed it on Trey omitting the whole "hold on to the paddle part" in his advice before we ran it.) and Trey allowed me to run it again using his paddle.

I tugged the kayak up river, set in, and attacked the rapids.

I'm happy to say that I avenged the loss of the paddle. I rode all 5...10...20..however many waves and currents that the chute through at me and successfully ran it.

Trey tried it once more, and again he ended up upside down. Heres some photos of his last run.
Not to make him look bad, he just had a couple of bad runs...he's still way better than I am.

Also, as a post note, I just read this blog on our own "nuts about southwest" about checking your luggage at the airport..and us losing them. I found it interesting, cuz i have no idea about that side of the biz.


1 comment:

Griswold said...

I want to try it. I'm sure I'd go under a couple of waves in just like your friend, but it looks like a lot of fun. I've been waffling back and forth about what kind of kayak to get when I finally get one, and seeing all the daggars in the video made me want one of those more.