My Major is tough and I mean really tough. I spend endless hours on the computer and in design labs trying to do assignments from high string design teachers. I have to deal with crazy deadlines and even crazier expectations.
Yet, through all this stress and anxiety there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light is the after school run that I can take on Watauga section 3. This section of river has been my play ground all through my Spring semester.
Section 3 of the Watauga is a really easy and beginner friendly run above the Watauga Gorge. My friend Megen and I frequent it quite a bit at multiple different levels. My favorite level that we got to experience was when everything was flooding and the Watauga was at 1000 cfs. The current was moving really fast, there were a bunch of new waves and play spots, and it gave me a perfect opputunity for roll practice with my Method Air.
All in all I am really thankful that I have something like this so close to home and I can’t wait until I am able to actually run the gorge! This type of access keeps me in a better mindset to complete my school work and it gives me a way to work through my stress. I honestly don’t think I would have survived my Spring semester as well as I did if I didn’t have the opputunity to go kayaking as much as I did. Hopefully as time goes on I will get more opputunities to paddle as my classes get harder and more stressful.
No I don’t mean the one person who you’ll spend the rest of your life with or fall in love with romantically. I mean that one person that makes the perfect paddling partner! They are the person that you call up when a creek is finally running or when you are wanting to take a Personal First Desent. They are the ones that push you to become a better paddler,thy celebrate your triumphs with you, help you when you screw up, they are the ones who are there to throw you a rope when you’re in trouble, and then throw you a beer to drink out of your bootie at the take out.
I have paddled with multitudes of people over the course of my paddling experience. They have all taught me something very valuable and they have helped me start a great foundation for my paddling. But one person has always had my back and that is my friend Megen. We met at the roll clinic at school and we instantly vibed well. We started paddling together and it was great because we were both around the same skill level but excelled more at different things. She has helped me grow so much as a paddler and I am so excited that I have a friend like her.
I believe it is extremely imported for every paddler to have someone like this to paddle with. Having people you trust and enjoy being with makes you that much more confident on the river which in turn makes you that much better. Plus, it is always nice when you have someone who is on your level that you can learn and grow with. It helps you be safe but, still push yourself past your comfort zone enough to grow and learn something new.
First off I would like to apologize for being gone for so long. Life has been hectic and I honestly haven’t had time nor the motivation to post anything in a while. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been on the water. Actually I have been trying to get out as often as I can. I have been tearing up the Nantahala, the Nolichucky, Watauga section three, French Broad section nine, and recently I got my personal first decent of Wilson’s Creek!!
I will be posting some more with details on all of my recent river adventures, the challenges that I have had to deal with the past few months, and the awesome people I have met along the way!
During Septmeber 2014, I was able to attend Gauley Fest and raft the Upper Gauley River. I went up to West Virginia with some friends from school and with the intentions to bum a ride down the river and just hang out with the people I came with. When we got to the festival and I was able to walk around the grounds and look at the booths, I ran into my friend Blake. While I had worked on the Nantahala river I met Blake because he was a Trip Leader at a neighboring company. We hugged and then he introduced me to this girl he was with. Her name was Lee Turner. Little did I know this girl was going to be one of the biggest influences on my kayaking experience.
They both invited me to sleep at their campsite since, I was going to be sleeping under the stars on the ground. Lee immediately took me under her wing by feeding me dinner, giving me a spot in her tent, and insisting on my presence in one of the rafts that the group was taking down. She and I just kinda clicked. We literally sat by the fire the majority of the night talking about life and kayaking. She was super understanding of my infancy in kayaking at the time and she was just stoked that I wanted to become a better and independent female paddler.
The next day we all got ready and followed the caravan to the river. I was thoroughly excited to be going down my with new and old friends. Lee and I ended up in the same raft and we were able to bond over one of our passions: The river. As we were going down the Upper, she and I started to talk about a possible all women’s paddling crew. Lee had been wanted to start one for a long time and I was always inspired by female teams like Tits Deep and The Boof Sisters. Which lead us to the decision to start one of our own.
That Fated Day!
As we continued down the river we were both admiring the coincidence that our helmets were extremely glittery and sparkly. The glitter gave me the inspiration for a name for the crew. Boof Fairies! And the Fairies were born. We would later change our name to the Gnar Fairies so that we wouldn’t have ties to The Boof Sisters. We wanted to be original.
The Gnar Fairies are a paddling crew for women by women. We don’t care what skill level female paddlers are at because our main goal is to focus on how whitewater empowers women to grow and to become a stronger individuals both physically and mentally. We strive to bring a strong source of femininity to the paddling world in every whitewater sport. We also believe in personal triumph and being able to leave a legacy that will pave the way for other female paddlers. I, personally, am beyond stoked about the potential for this team because, it is going to create a support system to become a better me, on and off the water. Also I can’t wait to meet even more passionate female paddlers!
Feel free to check out the Gnar Fairies on Facebook (Gnar Fairies Community Page) and on Instagram (@gnar_fairies). We also have a crew blog through Blogger (http://gnarfairies.blogspot.com/).
Here’s a picture of my first time paddling as a Gnar Fairy! -Han-Gnar
This post is super late and I apologize for that…so about my first Gauley Fest experience, it was flipping amazing!!!!!!! (Literally, flipped the boat at a rapid called Insignificant)
I have been saying all year long how much I wanted to go to Gauley Fest this year. As the time got closer, the more an more determined I became to go. Although my determination was equally met with complications and hardships. I honestly thought my goal to go this year wasn’t going to be met because it came to 24 hours before Gauley Fest and I didn’t have a ride up there. I was on the verge of devastation. But as I mentioned before, my determination was at an all time high. I had been pestering my friend Cabell to go to Gauley Fest for weeks and he kept saying he wasn’t gonna go. However, my incessant nagging worked its magic an he decided to go at the last minute! I swear the river gods have a way of looking our for me but they make me sweat it out and I manage to get by, by the skin of my teeth.
The ride up there was gorgeous and I have to commend Cabell on his taste in music! It definitely complimented the atmosphere. We got to West Virginia late Friday night and I don’t think I have never seen so many kayaks in my life! It was incredible. I walked into the camp grounds and everyone was supercool and open. I also was able to run into some friends an they were able to provide me a tent to crash in. Since I managed to not have anything but a cheap sleeping bag and ground pad. (Talk about being prepared huh?) the same friends were also able to same me a seat in one of their rafts to go down the Upper Gauley the next day.
When we went down my group went in a three thwarted Puma and the other group went down in a three thwarted Aire raft. I was glad that I was able to go down with this group because they were a mixture of some I my friends from the Nantahala Gorge, other gorge people, and my future crew member Lee. We all had a blast and I am so blessed to have been able to experience that kind of water. Definitely some of the biggest stuff I have ever been on. I mean the Ocoee at 6000 cfs was big, but this river was bigger and definitely much more technical. I have go to give a shout out to my friend Blake Beshears for guiding us down! He did a stellar job and he definitely proved his skill level out there.
My favorite part was when we went down Sweet Falls. I had seen a ton of video footage of this rapid and it was so cool to be able to do it for myself! Plus, after watching all that video I knew the line that we needed to take through the falls. Granted, I want guiding but it made me feel competent and a little more skilled than before.
Not only did I have an awesome time rafting and exiting the festival while inWest Virginia. I also met a really cool chick, Lee Turner. She and I had and instant friendship. We just understood each other and we found out we both have similar whitewater ambitions. Because of this we decided to start a paddling group known as the Gnar Fairies. It is an all girls paddling crew that just wants to have a great time on whitewater and shred some gnar.
All in all I have to say I had the time d my life while I was in West Virginia and I can’t wait till next year!!