Definition for Kayak :-)

Kayak [] n. 1. an oblong banana shaped boat with a hole in the bottom from which the occupant dangles. Can be propelled the wrong way up by experts. (definition courtesy of Pete Knowles)
(And I've got this one from Chris' Kayak Lexicon)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Wolf River Section III - Maiden Run

I got the idea of starting some kind of ironic-humorous paddling blog as I was amusing myself with the excitement I felt over the teensie-weensie achievements during my first weekend on the Wolf at around 300 cfs. In my head the entries sounded somewhat like Bridget Jones’ Diary:

22 June 07

Still all systems go for weekend trip to WI with cute guy paddler. Yay! Have been ensuring my friend at work, that cute guy paddler is just being a nice guy and helping out with Bearpaw tornado cleanup as well as going on bunny water with a troubled novice paddler. Did send her his profile address anyway and her response was “Yummers” (Are you blushing yet, you who knows who you are? :-)

23 June 07

Nearly lost my paddle in first swim, but held on to it in all (sob) subsequent swims: v. good! Still have paddle. Thank you Maria. Although I had already picked out a new H2O paddle in my mind, as the closest thing to a Waterstick, when all hope seemed lost. (Got to try out Mike Manger’s WS and never quite looked back, although very fond of my AT paddle.) Had run into Maria first thing in the morning. I had met this splendid woman at last year’s Women’s Whitewater Festival and we immediatly bonded over similar opinions about our mothers and more important similar feelings about desserts! Oh yeah, and we both are analytical chemists.

Ran into Cynthia who I also knew from the festival (as well as Lynn whose canoe I had the chance to check out the year before). Cynthia and I hugged like long lost sisters. (I think Alex was starting to get venus-envy: "Have all women been to this festival?!") Cynthia pointed out a motley crew of three paddlers who turned out to be the infamous “Three Musketeers”! Chuck, Bill and Kirk. Gentlemen dandies and drinkers of brandies who had been in the same Canoe U class with me the year before. I was overwhelmed with a powerful realisation that this must mean that I am a part of the paddling community. There are few things that have ever felt better and that definitely makes every bit of struggle with my inner cowardice worthwhile.

To my great surprise and delight (yes delight, despite all my attempts to bolt at various stations of the run) Alex was up for another day of chasing down my boat (sob!!!), so arrangements were made with The Three Musketeers. Sadly Maria had to work the next day. Her boyfriend Tom, also a splendid chemist, is definitely a great inspiration for me. He’s new at this, but absolutely tireless in his learning.

24 June 07

After breakfast cigars we broke camp and headed for the Wolf. Another day of perfect weather! (Cigars: 0, v. good!)

Had a beautiful stretch of things coming together. (Leaned into 7 rocks: v. good!) I disengaged my posture and just let the boat go. The force was with me for a bit there. It was good to feel, what it is all about.

Later on I got a good lesson, that yes, you do want to think some 3 moves ahead, but still the next move IS the most important! Peeling out of the play hole eddy just above Hanson’s, I already had my mind on the rapid, screwed up a simple peel out and swam yet again. Did not quite make an eddy-out before Hanson’s, although still with my boat and paddle.

If you loose your boat, don’t loose the lesson! I had a long swim and lots of time to think. Actually managed to relax and get into a rhythm of breathing, going under, being tumbled around, breathing and pointing myself back downstream, going under, looking for suitable eddy.... My boss will be so pleased that I learned when to keep my mouth shut! I don’t want to start getting too comfortable with swimming, but maybe it’ll help me relax, knowing that most times a swim is just a swim.

Oh yeah, and by the way, Bill wasn’t rubbing it in the least bit, when he pulled up to me after my swim, with the cigar in his mouth still dry and alit. He’d been saving it from lunch to run Hanson’s with a lit cigar. Wonder if this is a first?

I was too exhausted to attempt the wave train part of Gilmore’s as I thought I might, so I did the mermaid maneuver onto a smooth sun charged rock and watched the boys playing. Particularly enjoyed Chuck’s surf! I did need some drying out, after all that swimming.

A great weekend was nearing it’s end. Hugs all around as we parted.

(Note from the editor: It is not true, that Kirk is reporting to Cynthia! Kirk I hope you had a great trip to BWCA. Barrel or Duluth pack?)

Made a stop in Wausau, to have a look at the course. Nora had prepared me, that I wasn’t ready to run that yet. Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling everytime someone implies that I may run/play something in the future :-)

Some wellknown faces were still sitting in a shaded spot or carrying their still dripping boats back to the car.

I definitely have my work cut out, if I want to start playing on that course next year, but I could have sworn Chad gave me a big grin after I came back from looking at the course. Had he seen me looking at lines with great yearning? Was he maybe pleased that all his hand-holding on the Kettle was yet to bear fruit, maybe?

Alex I still can’t believe our luck that you prefer boating over strawberry picking! Your Zen personality, sportsmanship and cameraderie were paramount. Please make sure that the good Catholic girl that snaps you up one of these days is a boater! You can’t be spared.

Boy Scout curtesy to John Lee
The Three Musketeers curtesy to NatalieG
Hanson's curtesy to Falk Eichorn
Gilmore's Mistake curtesy to Falk Eichhorn
Thank you John, Natalie and Falk!

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