It’s been a different winter for me. I’m not saying it was bad. It just wasn’t filled with the usual travel and “adventuring” (which typically includes a fair amount of paddling). The last few weeks, however, have reminded me what I love so much about paddling whitewater and connecting with people on that “venue”.
My first noteworthy experience of this season was with my “nephew” who is actually my cousin, but due to the fact that I was an adult when he was just born, I’ve always been “Aunt(ie) Sue”. I love this kid. And when I say “kid” I mean 27-year old man who is a paramedic and owns his own house. I’m so very, very proud of him and after many years of being out of touch, we’ve reconnected these past few years. It was inevitable that I would get him out on the water since he’s an adventurer too. That moment was last Sunday when we chose paddling as our last activity after a whirlwind weekend of fun–hiking at Smith Rock, skiing/snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor–finished with meeting up with Sam and one of his young crew at a cabin on the Santiam, the night before this much-anticipated paddle. The four of us shared a leisurely morning and finally set off to set shuttle and run the Packsaddle to Mill City stretch that I love so much. Sam and I were on our paddleboards, Jake and Brock R-2’ing it. The water level was great and the day was warm–perfect really. Everyone paddled well and we all had fun. Nothing was earth-shattering…just an afternoon on the river but it combined so much love for me…my nephew, boyfriend and favorite past-time. These are the days I live for!
The next (and most recent paddle) I did was also very special. Celebrating one of my favorite human’s 50th birthday, a small crew of us from the shop headed over to the McKenzie to paddle the Paradise stretch (taking out at McKenzie campground where his family had several campsites). The water levels were high (double the CFS from what I’d paddled it before) but so was the “stoke”…even if I was a little nervous. Isn’t this why we do it though? I’ve found that the butterflies are part of the feeling I crave. The trip report? No swims, a couple “almosts” and lots and lots of laughing.
When writing this blog I try to have a point, or theme…and sometimes, dare I say a “lesson”? (I’m not sure I have the maturity or expertise to dole out lessons). Not this time. Just sharing a couple really great days and trying to explain why I do this nichey sport of whitewater SUP.