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 20, 2008

Women's Whitewater Festival

Awesome Paddling:

Playing at Gilmore's Mistake on the Wolf's Section III.

I had long been looking forward to the Women's Whitewater Fest at Bearpaw Adventure Resort! The resort was devastated by a tornado last year June, which was particularly heartbreaking and hard to grasp, because in that very area only the resort but pretty much all of the resort were shredded to wood chips and boats wraped around and speared on trees.

The whole paddling community in the Upper Midwest is applauding the courage it has taken Jamie and her friends to rebuild the resort. Yeah they had a lot of people helping with cleaning up and fundraising, but rebuilding your life's dream after complete devastation takes some strenght in character!

I can't do justice to how grateful I am that they did! I came away from this weekend with a quantum leap in empowerment as a person, woman and paddler! The calm energy with which we took on the logistics of getting all the girls, the gear and the boats to the water, the cameradery between all of us paddlers and the emotional and technical intelligence of our instructors was paramount and fuelled this quantum leap. I know, I am not the only one, many have taken a lot more back, than they came with.

It felt so good to see women I had met two years ago, when I was at the festival for the first time and still a very very scared duckling!

Laughing Liz who was celebrating her 50th birthday that very day! I know it was a happy one!

I'm telling you, a bunch of whitewater women can load and unload a dozend boats from a trailer in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Myra "Talltree", who's always got a witty and to the point comment on her lips!

Amanda, who isn't afraid to swim in class IV water.

Bea G, who is a wonderful travelling and paddling buddy!

Bearpaw's Jamie, who is also an amazing instructor and knows exactly what when wrong and can tell you what to do next time and she does it in a way that makes you understand that it is all part of the journey.

Nothing wrong with dipping the pond lillies along the way :-)

Bearpaw Adventure Resort:

The Kayak Tree. And the Bearpaw Inn: Best Margaritas I've ever had!

Our little cosy rustic. It looks so small looking at the front, that we first drove past it dismissing it as an outhouse! Too funny. But it was a lot roomier inside and very cozy with lovely orthopedic matresses!!! No complaints from Bea and I.

A circle of women sharing what whitewater paddling means to each one of us:

Anna Levesque, Freestyle Bronce Medallist from Canada. One of, if not The most important role model for women's whitewater kayaking in Northamerica and elsewhere today.

So many of us had gained groundbreaking and lifechanging insights into our selves and into the world around us, here's some of the most poignant one's:

Amy V (instructor): ...and then I see a woman find something that wasn't there before and once she found it it will always be there (she was nearly crying because it means so much to her to give her fellows the chance to find these things)

Name forgotten: ...and then you see, that all you have to do is just to get out of your own way!

Anna Levesque: Paddling is my spiritual practice.

Amen to all of those!

I felt very privileged, that all those truely uniquely amazing woman were listening intently to what I had to say and nodding and finding things in what I said, that was helping them find another piece to the puzzle. That was truely empowering for me.

A fitting end to a transforming day/weekend.

I came back feeling good about my kayaking skills and empowered and strong as a person.

All you women out there paddling in whitewater, come and join us next year. I know for sure I will be there in 2009!