Yup. Six years since we’ve been in whitewater kayaks. Let me let that sink in again – six years! The last time we rolled one of these boats was in South Africa, after an interesting day on the river with a local guy who had some extra gear. Anyway, here we are six years, three kids and two states later and once again ready to get back in the saddle…or cockpit?
With our very adventurous cousins (one a former raft guide) getting married in Western North Carolina, it was no surprise that the wedding weekend festivities included whitewater. Being the gentleman that he is Danny volunteered to kayak the river with the groom so he wouldn’t be out there alone. With three kiddos who need at least one parent, I decided to be the responsible one and raft with the larger group instead of kayak. [Note: By responsible I mean, I was totally chicken $H*% about being able to roll still, so I made a graceful exit as I could from the sport.]
So there we were. Me barely listening to the “safety talk” the raft guides gave us and Danny somewhat nervous in the river with the groom attempting a few practice rolls in a whitewater boat for the first time in six years. As he puts it, the first “rapid” he clutched his paddle with more than a little trepidation. Making it through without a single bobble he gained confidence and by the time we hit some more playful water he seemed totally back in the saddle, even dare I say a little adventurous for his first time back in a kayak.
And so rapid after rapid they tackled in their kayaks. At the bottom of each Danny remained upright and with a smile. He and the groom not only seemed to be enjoying themselves, but also playing in the water a bit. Maybe whitewater kayaking is a bit like riding a bike… you never forget your skills.
The first five miles under their belts, Danny and the groom continued downriver as I went to the take out with the other rafters. Admittedly I was a little sad to see them go on, the adventurous part of my spirit still remains, but I was content at leaving well enough alone.
Danny and the groom continued another few miles down the river, aiming to take out right in the town we were staying. And wouldn’t you know it, Danny had to practice his roll on the very last rapid. As they say, a good roll is any roll where you find yourself upright and breathing air… even if you are out of the boat at the time!
In full disclosure, Danny has mentioned several times since the trip that he is not as young as he used to be…. 🙂