Thursday, August 30, 2012

Post-kayaking trip

The kayaking trip I was so excited for,  I won't lie, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.  I was expecting to feel challenged, to push myself, for my arms to be sore, to get wet, to laugh.....

I will start off by saying that I enjoy kayaking.  Sure I've only done it a few times, but it was always in these 12 ft long boats - I'd head out on the Mississippi Lake (the one in Canada, not the States!) and just kayak around.

In the morning of the first day we hiked down to get our kayak (6ft), fitted for a jacket, helmet and wetsuit and then took the 15-20 minute drive out to where we would be kayaking.  The rest of the morning we spent in semi-shallow water and our instructor (a 19 year old boy/man?) taught us proper strokes, how to go into/out of an eddy, what happens if you tip your kayak, and just overall general safety and how to handle your kayak.

At the end of the day we went through our first rapid.  I was so excited!  I was going to go into the rapids!  We had been watching expert paddlers (from the junior championship paddler team) and a bunch of others "surfing the rapids".  I was in awe, these were strong, talented paddlers and seeing what they could do in a rapid was amazing.

So we all lined up.  We were instructed to lean forward and keep paddling.  My sister went first, my mom, my cousin and then me.  Everyone except my mom had flipped over. 

I went into the rapid.
The rapid kind of freaked me out.
I leaned back and stop paddling.

Of course, I flipped over.  Twice.  And each time you go over, so long as you are in no danger, you just bang your hands on the side of your kayak and wait for your leader to come flip you back over.  Sounds like no big deal right?  Especially for someone who grew up swimming and has never been afraid of the water?  You would think, but for those 5-20 seconds underwater, it's freaking SCARY.  I think what makes it most scary is you are basically upside down, with half of your body trapped in a kayak.  Underwater.  You can pull your "skirt" and be free, but in certain situations, he didn't recommend that.

I didn't love my first experience with a rapid, but was ready for the next day......

The next day we "run the river".  Which means we get driven up to the highest point of the river and kayak down - going through rapids when they are there.

I think there were TWO rapids I didn't flip over in.  At the top of each rapid, I just ended up asking our leader - "what do I do when I flip".  Not even IF I flip.  When I do.  I was told to either just pull the skirt, wait for him... even once I was told that "no one has ever flipped in this rapid" - to which of course, I flipped.

Sometimes on rocks, sometimes in strong currents, I got banged up, ended up body surfing quite a bit.... and I, for the most part, did not enjoy it.

Part of me was frustrated because I couldn't get the hang of it.  He kept telling me that my hips were too tense and I needed to loosen up.  I think they were tense because I was so scared.  And my friends, there are very few things I don't enjoy doing.  I'm the one willing to try anything!

Overall we had a FUN weekend, but I'm glad I can cross white water kayaking OFF my bucket list, only to never revisit it again :)

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