Being the Best?

Another great weekend under my belt.  Paddling, biking, catching up with friends and dancing with my sweetheart (yes, I’m a lucky lady who has a boyfriend who enjoys dancing!).  I paddled with my boyfriend down a calm stretch of swiftwater on the upper Deschutes, with the exception of a couple class twos which meant some bigger waves and navigating some wood. A dichotomy to the race that was above my put in and below the take out….but I’ll get back to this.

While visiting, Sam and I got into a discussion about “being the best”…the world’s best in some cases…and whether that is motivating or demotivating to the “average” person.  It seems to me that we’ve gotten so hyper-focused on being the best at whatever sport or athletically based endeavor, that it can leave people uninspired to try, or at least feeling like an underachiever if they’re not hucking 360’s off the half pipe or running class 5 whitewater. Take the Olympics for example.  Has anyone noticed the announcers talk about losing out on the gold as if it was a failure? Does this bug anyone else?  I’m so amazed and impressed with the “next level” talent at such an event!  Just for making it on the team–that’s a win in my book.

Don’t get me wrong. I acknowledge there are a whole lot of people doing awesome stuff right here in our backyard.  Which brings me back to this weekend.  I went for two really fun bike rides. I’m strong but technically not advanced and probably never will be (although I just bought a new bike at local shop Pine Mountain Sports and I’m assured I’ll be able to do more with a bike that wasn’t built circa 2002). One ride was out at Phil’s Trail and the other good ol’ Rivertrail up from Lava Island.  This was a quick and easy ride just to get my spin on before paddling and conveniently dropping Sam off to take photo’s of the “Hot Lava” race this last Saturday.  This is a race down Lava Island falls which is considered an “easy class 5”.  Ha…the words themselves make me laugh and while I know enough about paddling to understand what they mean, it still gives me a giggle.

These great boaters did a “mass start” and ran this rapid down to Meadow Camp picnic area.  There, I met Sam who paddled with me, on this very short stretch.  Beautiful and easy, except for as previously mentioned, a couple class 2s that take some maneuvering that my first year paddleboarding whitewater, wouldn’t have gone so well. I’m not sure any of the boaters out there for the race would have registered there WERE rapids on that stretch (had they not been dating a “learning whitewater paddleboarder” for the last two years).  It was short, fun, challenging at the end, and I took out right where the racers paddled Meadow camp, the local “town run” which was the real water.  I felt great because it was a personal win for me.  I’d read the water and charged it (with a little help from Sam, although I could barely hear him and would have chosen the same line).  I ran the lines well and never bobbled.  Like winning gold. For me.

For the record, I don’t feel that any of the awesome boaters/SUP’ers I paddle with judge me, and they’re all super supportive.  Sometimes I don’t think they comprehend the skills at which they perform, so they might not appreciate the effort (and sometimes fear) that accompanies my paddling, but they’re very positive and encouraging.  So I ask YOU…how do you all feel when you see the social media out there?  Extreme movies?  Film festivals with experts doing amazing things right after the other?  I hope you’re inspired…to do something…and it doesn’t have to involve hucking yourself off a waterfall.

Thanks for listening…

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All Kinds of Water…

Hard to believe I’ve been teaching something for over two decades.  I began my love of instruction with aqua aerobics, of all things.  Back then no one really knew about this kind of exercise and I kind of winged it, to be honest…based on the “land” aerobics classes I’d taken in school.  Many many certification courses and athletic clubs later, it’s a fundamental part of my week. It’s been a surprisingly fulfilling journey.  Exercise and the motivation to do it comes easy for me.  I’m lucky! For whatever reason I thrive when I’m moving and it’s no problem to get out of bed and get after it.  However, I know that isn’t the same for everyone and that’s just dumb luck for me.  So being able to get people stoked about moving for health is really gratifying. Especially those individuals that otherwise might not have options because of conditions such as injuries, arthritis, older age or deconditioning. When 80-somethings…or even 90 somethings, thank me for helping them have a more active lifestyle…well that just feels great. The reality is they’re doing this for themselves.  I’m just the cheerleader, but it still feels nice.

Nearly a decade now, I’ve also taught paddleboarding.  First in Maui, to clients for a fitness workout and now in central Oregon who have taken my classes for all kinds of reasons.  Some are honing the skills they already have, some for fitness and others because it’s a goal that they’ve created and they’re scared.  Water isn’t typically their thing and they need support.  I won’t say I have a favorite, but I WILL say that one of the reasons I teach, and a great joy of mine, is to be there for “the look”.  That brightness in a new paddler’s face when they try SUP for the first time.  Perhaps it’s someone who is stepping way outside their comfort zone.  It’s like I’ve introduced them to chocolate.  Or coffee.  It’s clearly a highlight of their day and maybe their summer.  THAT is job satisfaction.

I believe water is therapy.  It’s therapy for the body at times (I see that every week in my aqua aerobics classes).  It’s therapy for the mind and soul too.  In the times of my life that are stressful, my favorite place to be is on the water.  In some form or another.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s an ocean (or river) wave, rapids, flat water or a pool.  Water is where it’s at for me.  I’m filled with gratitude that I’m able to share that joy with others in a supportive way.  So whether a pool, lake or river, give it a try if it’s something you’ve never done but want to do.  I’m happy to help get you started–even if just talking you through where or how to start….

Thanks for listening!

 

Time on the Santiam

As I wrote the other day I’ve had a great summer so far.  I love my time in central Oregon doing all the things that are so easily accessible that fit my lifestyle.  But many of my fun adventures (and most of my paddling) in recent years has been in the Santiam canyon.  Like many “Bendites” who have lived here since it was an itsy bitsy undiscovered town, I see the advantages to the growth.  Working at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, I’d be unable to do what I do without that growth…as just one example.  However, I’d be lying if I said I enjoy all that comes with the high density of people now living or visiting this area.

My haven has become my “other life” in Gates and Mill City (I tend to lump them together even though they are, in fact, two different towns 3 miles apart). There, I can enjoy stunning hiking trails that I might see just a handful of people, if anyone at all.  The Santiam river is not only gorgeous and uncrowded but also a perfect river for all levels of paddlers.  It’s actually the Santiam river that I’ve learned most of my whitewater SUP skills because it has a perfect progression (moving backwards).  What I mean by this is that a beginner can begin their paddling experience downstream and move their way upstream since the farther up you go, the more advanced it gets. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had access to a paddling shop right at the put in and take out of two awesome sections of the river.

Mehema to Camp Taloali (a private camp that rents out their cabins to groups) is an excellent class I/II stretch for beginners and was, in fact, my very first run on the Santiam on a paddleboard.  Upstream is the Mill City to Mehema stretch which is also class I/II with some stout II’s (more challenging than downstream).  Packsaddle to Mill City is probably the most popular stretch on the north Santiam.  It boasts class II/III’s with Spencer’s Hole, Carnivore and Mill City Falls the most “noteable” rapids.  I’ve never stood Spencer’s Hole all the way through but I’ve only fallen in the first time, typically taking a knee midway. I will never run Carnivore on a SUP but rather run the right side of the river (where you can’t even see the rapid) however I’ve been on a raft many times through it.  Mill City Falls I’ve also never stood through but Sam has many times.  Typically I go down to at least one knee through it and full disclosure…last time I swam.  It ends in flatwater right above the take out…no worries.

Above this is Niagra Falls which solid class 4 kayakers do all the time and above that, with some river in between including a dam, is the Bruno run.  I’ve never run it…way above my level of paddling…but I hear it’s a hoot, from those boaters that have the ability.  Remember I’m a Frisky Ripples kind of gal…ha!

Once you’ve paddled whatever stretch you’re going to run, it’s almost sacrilegious to not eat at Papa Al’s.  The place is always busy in the summer because it’s good, clean and reasonable cafe food (burgers, sandwiches and tots…oh the tots!!). In fact, I’ve rarely been to Gates without eating at Papa Al’s at least once. It’s right upstream from eNRG Kayaking, the paddle shop at the put in/take out where I visit constantly because of my relationship to Sam, but also because the crew is great. They’ve got equipment to rent and “oooops I forgot this” retail products (sunscreen, dry bags, basic spray skirts, etc) and a clean, new bathroom. Yup, no more using the public restroom across the street with cement floors…not that I’m complaining.

The Santiam canyon is no Bend…thank God!  It’s been a respite and savior for me to escape the crowds. My home away from home and a blessing.  If you’re looking to try something new and haven’t paddled it, give it a try.  Message me!  I’ll paddle with you.  And then maybe go home…haha…after eating some cheeseburgers.

Thanks for listening and happy paddling!

SUP Paddle Mehama
Mehama to Taloali….a scenic stretch
Sams bday hike
All kinds of great hiking!
Sup with Maddie
Paddleboarding can be a two-person sport!
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Rhododendrons are all over the Santiam canyon early summer

What a great summer!…and a fun day on the McKenzie.

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I am full of gratitude this August 10, with summer still in full swing, but with noticeably less time left before school starts, the tourists dwindle and TCKC shop hours go back to “non-peak”. This time last year I was unable to do most things I enjoy to stay busy… paddling, hiking, biking, yoga, etc.  I was in a lot of pain and not sleeping well because of it.  The smoke was really thick…labeled “hazardous” most days by the DEQ.  To sum it up, relative to other summers it wasn’t at the top of my “first world” list.

This summer, however, has been awesome.  I’ve had too many fun adventures to really describe and my time off has been high-quality.  I’m keenly aware of my health–that I’m NOT limping around–so every time I hit a hiking trail or paddle a cool stretch of water I’m thankful.

Since this is supposed to be a paddling blog (sort of) I’ll catch you up on some cool and very accessible paddling I experienced last month in July.  I was lucky enough to get out to the McKenzie River with a great crew. As described by the one adult male on the trip, he felt like Charles Angels.  Essentially it was five ladies and myself–all of us paddleboarding–plus Jayson and his young son.  This was a frisky ripples section for sure… Blue River to Silver Creek.  All class II’s with the exception of Mama’s Pies or “Screamer” as it’s also called depending on who is describing it.  The McKenzie is beautiful….   https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1526/

I was with a group of women who all have interesting backgrounds.  Each fairly new to the sport but with the exception of one, mostly comfortable paddleboarding on swiftwater.  I think everyone came home with a “win”.

Megan caught a surf wave for the first time “on the fly”.  She’s impressive (for many reasons) but in this context, because she is paddling a hard board, meaning a non-inflatable.  Way more challenging because it is more responsive (tippy).  Yah Megan!

Erica hadn’t paddled a bunch, especially class II’s, but did really well.  For kayakers, class II’s might not seem like any big deal but standing up through them on a SUP.?..well that’s a different story. It takes balance and practice.

Christie has a unique background.  She’s only been out two or three times on swiftwater with a SUP.  However, Christie is a veteran class 5 kayaker who was sponsored and traveled the pro circuit for years.  A decade at least.  She knows how to read water, has no fear of class 2’s or 3’s and surfs river waves.  She’s a natural.  And also a totally cool chick.

Erica’s sister was visiting from out of town and had never been on a paddleboard but thought she’d give it a go.  That’s pretty fearless in my opinion.  Way to go!

We had our “Charlie”…in the form of Jayson who was also a long time class 5 kayaker and knew Christie from back in the day.  Jayson supported us by raft providing us our hydration, lunch, endless encouragement and all-round great conversation.

Really there was no drama or earth shattering stories to tell about that day.  It was just plain fun.  Everyone fell in at least once.  Everyone stayed on their board in some stance or another through more rapids than not.  We laughed.  The weather was amazing.  We all helped shuttle and prep and unload.  It was a perfect day on the river. One like many more I hope to come. Thank you friends.  Thank you mama nature and her waterways and thank you summer 2018 for being so grand.

Some shameless promotion… first, an Intro to Swiftwater SUP in a few weeks from Warm Springs to Trout Creek I will be co-instructing with Paul Clark.  If you’re wanting to learn, this is an awesome section.  You can get more info or reserve your spot at Tumalo Creek Intro to SUP

Also, beginning on September 11, from 7-9pm at Deschutes Tap room, in collaboration with Kris Jamieson of Backyard Bend, we will be presenting a casual interviewing/storytelling event monthly.  Two guests from the community with fascinating and (hopefully) entertaining stories to tell from the paddling and outdoor rec community.  Jaymo and I will laugh a lot I’m sure.  That’s guaranteed.  The rest of you is yet to be seen.

Finally, in partnership with Sam Drevo and eNRG Kayaking, he and I will be hosting a Fall Fun Camp.  It will be paddling-centric (raft, IK and/or SUP) but a bunch of camp activities on site at Camp Talaoli are available including frisbee golf, bocce ball, ping pong, corn hole, and an outdoor pool to name a few.  All kinds of scenic hikes nearby, with one camp-shuttled hike on Saturday to Shellburg falls. Meals and campfires..complete with S’Mores included. Details to follow at enrgkayaking.com.

Thanks for listening and happy paddlin’…

Getting “Rad” with one of my Favorite People

This is Jaymo.

19466651_10155803065678912_6859261881407632337_oJaymo is one of my favorite people AND the first person I can recollect using the term “frisky ripples” with about 7 years ago.  I probably remember it, because he loved the phrase and raved about it in a wonderfully positive, “quintessential Jaymo” kind of way.  Just like how he uses the term “getting rad”.  Which I’m pretty sure can refer to anything from surfing a double-overhead wave to his youngest son sliding into home base (unnecessarily…but just because).

I met Jaymo about 7 years ago, walking the street in tiny Punta Mita Mexico where he was visiting a mutual friend…actually a friend of his, and a business connection of mine who was waylaid in Guadalajara. Because of the lag in schedules Jaymo, another friend and myself spent time paddle surfing, hanging out and laughing a ton. It began a great friendship and a unique C-change in my life (Jaymo is, in fact, the guy responsible for setting me up with Sam, my special squeeze).

The reality is Jaymo and I don’t spend a lot of time together.  He’s a loving husband and father of three awesome “kids” (one is almost graduated and damn near a legal adult). He’s beyond busy being that awesome family guy while also working a ton. So why do I write this post about him? Well Jaymo is, in fact…or at least in my opinion, based on observation and random rumors, a true “next level” athlete.  From biking to snowboarding to surfing, the guy really can crush it. His resume is long and impressive…personally and professionally.  His circle includes athletes and people from expert, to famous, to legendary status. But here’s the thing…Jaymo’s “getting rad” is very similiar to my “frisky ripples”.  He’s certainly comfortable in the “next level” arena.  But that doesn’t stop him from hanging out with me on waist-high waves. Or class II rapids. In fact, he thinks it’s awesome. He’s a super supportive guy that cares about people and helping them reach THEIR potential (whatever that looks like).

In Bend, and in the industry I work, there are a lot of amazing athletes doing a lot of amazing things.  We see it on social media and all the numerous film festivals and, for that matter, in person with our own eyes–on the trails, on the river and play park, etc. That is AWESOME! At times, however, I think us average athletes can lose perspective on why we engage in the activities we do…and that’s to have fun. (that’s why I do it anyway). Maybe to push or challenge ourselves.  Maybe to improve ourselves.  Or probably a combination of all of that.  My hope is that I never let the fear or feeling that I don’t add up get in the way of me trying something new.  I hope that’s the case with you people, in general.

As a side note, thankfully in Bend there are a lot of ways to find access to trying new outdoor stuff. Certainly there are more options out there, but for biking, you might check out Pine Mountain Sports for their “Dirt Divas” (for you ladies) and bike clinics.  A couple of my best buds swear by them!  We have some great classes/programs at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe locally…and I’d be remiss not to mention the awesome programs west of the Cascades for paddling..kayak or SUP…with eNRG Kayaking.  And for more variety, Outside IN, a local retail shop in Bend that also offers fabulous events/workshops and clinics in a really accessible manner. I should mention I’m getting no credit for the shout outs here….the entities don’t even know what I’m writing.

Once again…happy paddlin’ and thanks for listening!!  See ya out there on the frisky ripples!!

http://www.pinemountainsports.com

http://www.tumalocreek.com

http://www.enrgkaying.com

http://www.outsideinbend.com

 

 

 

 

Frisky Ripples with Friends…

It’s again been a long time since I’ve written.  This time, not because I don’t have any material, but because I’m so busy with the season kicking in that with time off I’d like to get ON the friskies rather than writing about them. So there lies the conundrum.  However, I had so much fun today that I just couldn’t help myself.

If you remember the premise of my blog, it’s based on the fact that I love to do activities which, in some circles might be considered “risky”  (eg surfing, mountain biking, skiing, whitewater paddleboarding, etc) but I like to do these activities in an accessible, moderate way.  With whitewater paddleboarding it’s been rare that I paddle without my boyfriend Sam.  Lately however, I’ve been hugely inspired and challenged to paddle without him…with women!  And it’s been amazing.  Not that Sam isn’t still my fav to paddle with. He’s awesome, encouraging and we have a standing rule that we make out on the flat-water stretches and since he’s hot, that’s a big plus…haha.

But here’s the deal…a little about Sam. He’s a champion whitewater kayaker.  Literally.  He teaches the teachers/instructors, rescuers how to teach swiftwater rescue.  He’s been doing this for decades.  Therefore, when we go out on the water I have a sense of security (whether I should or not).  A comfort level that allows me, in some ways, to trust and follow.  It’s a fabulous way to learn how to read rivers and learn the necessary skills of paddling and I’m hugely grateful to him and can’t wait to hit the Grande Ronde together next week (and so many more rivers after).  But have you tried lately to find an address without using the GPS on your phone?  Guess what?!  You have to THINK.  You have to pay attention.  It’s on YOU to figure your shit out.  Not only have I been paddling new rivers I’ve never paddled but I’ve been doing it with women who have also never paddled these stretches and many with less experience on a board than me.  It’s fun and challenging and scary and wonderful.  It’s scary in a way that makes me pay more attention, use my paddle skills and force myself out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes it means portaging something because that’s the reasonable thing to do.  There’s challenge in that too!

By the way, can I rave about the ladies I’ve paddled with recently?  They’re amazing.  Christie, Megan and Erica. All exceptional humans that I consider fortunate to call friends.  It’s a different experience with these girls.  We laugh.  We stop and take time if we need to.  There’s “girl talk”.  Yup, guys we DO talk about you.  And Brad Pitt.  We talk about him too.  It’s just a whole bunch of awesome.

I feel like I’m gushing…and I am.  Because here’s the deal.  I’m lucky enough to be able to experience one of my favorite things in the world with great women AND the awesomest boyfriend ever.  I am full of gratitude.

A bit of beta about the river we ran today–the Metolius.  Riverside campground to Lower Canyon Creek.  Class I/II.  We did two portages: one around a river-wide log and the other, to be extra cautious in the canyon.  Could we have run it?  Yup. Did we need to portage based on our boards and level of experience within the group?  Well, we decided to, and we were happy with our decision but agreed next time we’ll run it.  So remember this, all you people out there (I use the word “all” pretty liberally here, as if I have tons of readers…haha…) You can choose to engage in whitewater paddleboarding (or whatever your activity might be).  There is no shame in being moderate, cautious or fearful.  Do what makes you feel great.  Do what gets you off the couch (save that for when you get home from your adventure!)

Thanks for listening…and happy paddlin!

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Vacation!

It’s about that time when my life shifts from lots of  time off for adventure, to very little time to do anything but work.  That’s great too, but on this lazy Sunday morning with my one day off this week I think fondly of a vacation that was actually only two months ago.  Sam and I had originally planned an epic loop both east and south, as far as Montana, potentially down to Arizona and back up through California.  All in two weeks.  After some thought (and a stunning Facebook post by a friend in the redwoods in northern California–thanks Dustin!!) we modified our trip to something awesome and more manageable.  South through Gold Hill/Ashland area to Jedidiah Smith park and up the 101.  This road trip didn’t disappoint!!

First night was spent in Gold Hill with friend’s of Sam’s, Olympian Steven Keisler and his wife.  They’re a great couple and we enjoyed a lovely evening of chit chat over a late dinner (bear in mind that I typically go to bed about 9pm, so anything past 7pm is late! haha).  A high point of the night, for me, was the recount of Steven’s continued efforts to bring the Los Angeles Olympic whitewater kayaking to Gold Hill.  A lofty goal, but I’m excited to see how that plays out.  You just never know.

Had a first paddle the next day, on an urban section of the Rogue.  Not the wild and scenic we’d originally considered, but based on our goal to maximize time in the redwoods, this was a nice option.  Great to get on the water and the weather was amazing!  Who would think it’d be mid-60’s in January!

We ventured on to Ashland after our paddle where we lodged on Mt Ashland to wake at 3am and find our way up the mountain for the best view of the lunar eclipse.  A less publicized deal than the solar eclipse, but it was still SUPER COOL.  We watched for an hour, and then were treated to an epic sunrise.  Lazy brunch and then a fun hike that reminded us that contrary to the nice weather and unseasonably high temps that it was winter.  We hiked into snow, but was rewarded with beautiful views and great cardio workout.  From hiking to dining, I met Sam’s friend Oliver Fix who owns a tapas restaurant in the heart of Ashland.  I was really impressed with this guy.  Olympic whitewater kayak gold medalist and the most humble man ever. Interesting to listen and learn, when someone like Oliver is present. PS, the name of his restaurant is “Ostras”. Spanish tapas and craft cocktails…check it out!!

The grass doesn’t grow under our feet for long so we made our way toward Crescent City where we did a dusk hike through Stout Grove (boasted to be the largest grove of redwoods in Jedidah Smith park).  I was blown away.  Trees that big just don’t exist anywhere else I’ve seen. The only thing as cool as hiking through them, is paddleboarding down a creek through them.  Which we did the following day.  It was unbelievable.  Frisky ripples to be sure, but this trip wasn’t about the paddling as much as taking in the views which are other-world.  We spent a few days in Jedidah, hiking and paddling…nothing noteworthy to readers but incredible for us. Hard to believe such beauty is basically in our backyard.  One exception would be meeting “Barefoot Bob”, a local legend that happily shuttles for paddlers far and near.  He’s quite a character and if you ever find yourself on the Smith and need a shuttle, call Barefoot.  Easy, cheap and quite a pleasant experience…(yes I’m talking about shuttles….hahaha).

The last few days of our trip were spent traveling up the 101.  We caught some waves on the coast…again the weather cooperating beyond what we could have hoped… hiked a bunch, mountain biked on a fairly new trail system between Bandon and Coos Bay, and simply enjoyed the leisure of vacation.  That’s the great thing about the schedule of people in our industry.  It allows for this kind of time, except when it doesn’t, and then it’s GAME ON!  Luckily we had one more trip planned before the season.  Alas, that’s another story.  Thanks for listening and happy paddlin…

Ashland hike
We forgot it was winter still…up toward Pilot Rock
Lunar Eclipse
I can’t take credit for this amazing image…credit to Sam Drevo.
Big tree
HUGE tree.
Cool tree
This could have been my favorite moment on a hike toward Boy Scout tree
Mill Creek paddle
Photography was tough in this grove because the trees are too big to fit in the shot!!
Crescent City Sunset
It’s not all river paddling