My thoughts as I’m paddling away from Washington St. Park in a downpour…
Rules of Safety on the River are there for a reason.
These are not rules that are ‘made’ to be broken, like some rules. But for some reason, I ignored them. Why is for discussion later. So here goes, these are the rules I broke in one fell swoop:
#1. Don’t kayak alone on any River.
#2. Don’t kayak alone on River sections you aren’t familiar with.
#3. Don’t kayak alone on unfamiliar sections at flood stage.
#4. Don’t kayak alone on unfamiliar sections at flood stage in a downpour.
#5. Don’t kayak alone on unfamiliar sections at flood stage in a downpour without proper rain gear, or a spray skirt.
#6. Don’t kayak alone on unfamiliar sections at flood stage with gusty wind conditions.
#7. Don’t kayak alone on unfamiliar sections at flood stage in a kayak you’ve owned less than a year AND that you really just started to learn how to kayak less than a year ago!
What was I thinking…. Obviously, I wasn’t. That would be why my knuckles were so white, IF you could see them under my stream team gloves.
Why did my wife let me do something so insane?
But to be truthful, I do relish these challenges, NOT because I step up to the challenge, but because it is an opportunity for me to prayerfully trust in God to see me through. This is not the pledge of great faith, but just your run of the mill wretched sinner that NEEDS God to show Himself strong to me, the one that slept in the bow during a storm, to be awoken by his disciples, rebuking their little faith, and with a word, calming the seas, in a way that no one doubted what he had just done.
i survived (no I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t). I even survived to the tune of more than 32 miles covered that day. Not because I’m fast. The water was fast. But I do love to paddle a kayak. It is the simplest of exercises, one I did comfortably for about 8 hours straight, without any real pains or aches. I credit Jackson kayaks with making the world’s most comfortable seat. I’m not a fan of sitting.
the interesting thing about flood stage: fewer obstacles as the water is deeper, but more roiling and churning of the water. The wind was a major headache. It was grabbing the double blade of the paddle and pushing in another direction, while the roiling would twist you in still another, while the current had a third idea of where your kayak should go. It was like being mediator between four at odds parties, trying to get all four to agree in a safe direction to flow. Not impossible, just time occupying.
By the end of the day, I was ready to throw in the towel. The only thing that saved me was being out of cell phone coverage, so couldn’t just call my wife and tell her to pick me up.
it was a GREAT DAY on the Big River!