I love this time of year. The weather is great and the opportunity for me to paddle the “frisky ripples” is plentiful. It doesn’t matter that I’ve paddled the same stretches over and over. If anything, it’s a little like hanging out with a long-time friend–an emotional friend that I have learned to be patient and understanding with. Super fun, but also sometimes a fickle little bitch. Ha! This was true for me this last week.
The holiday weekend allowed me to do my favorite “local” stretch (I say this because I essentially live about a third of the time elsewhere to Bend”. It’s a class II/II+ section depending on the water level and it’s really fun for me. I know the route and am comfortable with the lines (and for me that’s a slow process! I have my talents but geographic awareness and recalling trails, routes, etc is NOT one of them. When hiking alone, my ex used to shout out the question “where should I send search and rescue”? He wasn’t kidding). I digress.
I felt really good about my run on the 4th. I’d been doing a lot of short frequent runs which means more TOB (time on board) and like anything else, practice improves performance. So when I paddled the harder run just upstream from the class II section I had no fears of trouble. In fact, we’d been running the upper stretch of the longer run regularly, for weeks. No problem. But I fell at the bottom of one of the rapids–one I’d lapped with no issues the week before. NOT a big deal though…it flows out into a big pool and swimming isn’t the end of the world. I decided to try for a redemption lap. Swam again. Drank some river water. Ok, now I’m less happy but it’s okay. Except I got cold and shivery and swam again above the biggest rapid on the run. This got my head playing games with me. I portaged the rapid. None of this is life shattering, although it felt a little like it was in the moment. For me this exemplifies the ebb and flow of paddling. When things are going well it is SO MUCH FUN!! There’s nothing I’d rather do. Nothing. But when it isn’t going well it’s a kaleidoscope of emotion (for me) ranging from feelings of fear, failure, ineptitude and frustration to total acceptance and pride for at least attempting something that challenges me. I know I’ve written this before but it’s metaphorical for life. Whatever you find to be your stoke…even if challenging… ESPECIALLY if challenging….I’d recommend doing it. And if you want to try whitewater SUP hit me up. It’s a kick.
Thanks for listening…