An End to a Good Thing

Tuesday 26, August 2014

About ago from today I had to say goodbye to the place I had called my home for the past three and a half months. I had to leave the gorge. It was definitely bittersweet. I was having to leave a place that had changed me so much and that had taken and given me so much. But I wasn’t in full dismay. I mean there was a whole new life chapter wait on me in Boone, NC. I was and still am so excited for what was to await me in the mountains of Boone. I mean there is a ton of kayaking up here and if I play my cards right, maybe I’ll get to raft the Nolichucky soon. Plus, so many new people to meet and new experiences to have!! I miss the gorge even if I didn’t have air conditioning or dry clothing. But, I’m sure I’ll be back soon enough!

Peace Ya’ll 🙂

P.S. Photos from this summer soon to come!! Keep an eye out for them!

The Kayaking Journey: Take 9 – Finally Hit the H2O

July 20, 2014

Some time back I was finally able to have the opportunity to go down whitewater in a kayak. It was such an amazing experience!! I got to go down the Tuckasegee River in Bryson City, NC. A good class two training ground for beginner kayakers. Granted, I swam twice through the trip but, it was a really good learning experience. I worked on ferrying, eddy catching, and reading water from that low of an angle. I am not gonna lie, I really missed my raft when i was going through these class 2 rapids. I enjoy being able to prepare for what is ahead of me and I get like I couldn’t do that as well while I was in a kayak.
It was funny though, how humbled I was. These class 2 rapids scared the living crap out of me! I felt like I was the most unstable thing on the river. Being so much closer to everything can make you so much more vulnerable. Plus, I thought with my past whitewater experience would give me a slight advantage. How wrong I was. Ferrying is something I can do really well in a raft. So I thought that I would be able to do it in a kayak because, I thought I understood the angle. I was dead wrong. I about flipped trying to do my first ferry. Talk about humiliating. Also, did I mention this is one of my first dates with my current boyfriend? Oh yeah, the pressure was seriously on.
Not only did I almost flip over doing a ferry but, I had one of the most epic failures of a seal launch. It happened after not even being on the river for five minutes. We had paddled down to the first rapid called Stitches and it is a class three rapid. I decided against going down it because I didn’t have enough confidence in my ability. So i walk around and get ready for a seal launch. Needless to say, it ended very badly. I window shaded right into the current and missed a T-Rescue because I thought my boyfriend’s boat was a rock. I was less than happy of how the trip was beginning. Everything went okay after that until I eddy flipped after successfully going through a class two and again I missed the T-Rescue.
I feel like I really need to get my roll down because, I am less than fond of swimming and I seem to be missing way too many T-Rescues for my liking. I also wish I had more time to practice kayaking because i have been out since this past Tuskasegee trip. Its kinda disheartening.
Well wish me luck!

Peace Ya’ll.

Summer Struggles

June 14, 2014

It has been quite a while since I have posted but for many good reasons. One, my computer broke, two I have just been so completely busy having a freaking awesome summer!!
The crew is rocking the river and I really couldn’t ask for more. They are all learning the ropes super quick. Grant there are always a few hiccups along the way but my first year was the same.
Sadly though, I have had to said goodbye to my other senior guide. He had to go home because he is going to be a father!! A perfectly valid reason to go home from the river if you ask me. I am just sad because he was a good friend to talk to and he always had a boat load of knowledge on how to make the most of everything on the river.
When I found out he was leaving, was the day that I got back after having to take a week off from a combination of a bladder infection, kidney infection, and pulled back muscle. Of course we all went on one last trip with him and it was probably one of the best fun runs I have ever had. I honestly almost cried as we were driving to the put in.
Since, he has left another senior guide has also announced the he is leaving as well. Which means I am going to be the only senior guide other than my manager. I don’t know why but I find this daunting. I guess it just means I need to step up my game and show that I am confident on this river. While also learning more from my manager and other more experienced guides. Oh the balance I must have. Ugh, I am probably worrying about this too much. Hopefully this summer will even out soon!

Peace ya’ll. 🙂

Green Beans

May 15, 2014

Today marks the first day of training at our outpost. Yesterday we got in the last little bit of our new crew and I must admit I am so excited for this year! The majority of the new people are super cool and they all seem open and easy to get along with. Hopefully, they will all survive training. Because if it is anything remotely similar to mine then they are in for one hell of a ride.
Granted, training may have been hell but, apparently my old river manager did a half ass job with training and my crew was less than inadequate. Comments like this make me feel so insignificant and meaningless with this job. I mean you hire me back and keep belittling the training I got? Saying it wasn’t good enough? What would i have done if I had been trained properly? I probably would have been fired half way through training, because I almost got fired during the half ass training. It severely scares me. I love this job and just whitewater in general and to think I may never have been able to do this makes me wonder.
Today wasn’t too bad though. the green beans had their first day of training and I joined them. We worked a lot on ferries and they all got some stick time. Thankfully I got some redeeming at the end when I guided the class 2 hydraulic and our class 3 falls. Plus, I did a different but correct line down the falls. Made me feel like I was actually the second year guide in the boat. “Sigh” I feel like this is going to be a long week.

Peace Ya’ll. 🙂

First Time Back

May 10, 2014

This past Tuesday I took my first customer trip down the Nantahala river. I had a mid 40’s couple in a mini me, which is a miniature self bailing raft with only one thwart. Now I have only rafted in this type of boat a hand full of times and I was nervous. However, as the trip started and progressed I started feeling more and more confident. I wasn’t tipping it nor was I getting stuck on any rocks or anything. I thought that it was going to be a good first customer trip to start off my season. how wrong I was. As we are coming onto the head waters of our class three rapid Nantahala Falls, I had a growing anxiety. I have only been down the falls successfully down the falls in a Mini Me once and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get these guys down the falls. Which of course means that I didn’t. I went straight over the rapid and got stuck in Top Hole. It turned our boat and my customers and I fell out. We got worked through Top Hole for a good 15-20 seconds and then were we spit out. This freaked out my customers and it really upset my manager. Needless to say my first time back was far from stellar. Oh well, gonna be better next time.

Peace Ya’ll. 🙂