Girl power was at an all-time high during Thanksgiving week here in Costa Rica!  This week is always a highlight with the arrival of the Baylor Students of Chattanooga. The tables turned this year when the WalkAbout Program landed here in Costa Rica with four outstanding females set to paddle. 

The average age in the group was sixteen (of course, we pulled two of us out of the equation). And then thrown into the mix was our solo male—fearless leader Tim who was along in case there was something heavy to carry (needless to say this is a little tongue-in-cheek!).

With all the enthusiasm you could imagine from a group that had been working hard all Fall to prepare for this trip, we headed to the West Coast  for a warm-up at the beach….a warm-up that is until we hit the water and started paddling to get out past the breakers. In the first five minutes, both Becca and I were upside down, and I had taken out a family of five in what must have looked like an out-of-control ride in the process!   But once out beyond the break, it was an awesome day of riding waves, spinning, flipping, floundering, and having a great time.  The greatest video moment was undoubtedly Dawn and Taylor running each other over in a huge crashing wave.  Finishing up the day, we rode the last wave of the evening into the beach in time to watch the sunset.

Not only was the surfing a blast, but it was a great warm up for the river.  By the time we hit the river, we were veteran surfers.  The west coast’s plethora of rain gave us high water on the Purris.  And with no flat water to have to paddle through, we finished up early enough to hit the beach for a late-afternoon surf after returning to Jaco Beach.  Five girls+Tim out in the surf—only difference today was the character of the waves.  Yesterday we had “Gentle Ben wavesâ€?—big, slow and gently breaking, turning into a bigger, faster and breaking earlier action.  It was not unusual to be out beyond the break and watch a big wave take out three of us at one time!  And we were seriously having so much fun!!  

While reluctant to leave the beach this team was here to paddle and before too long, it was time to hit the river.  Imagine a van full of girls pulling up to the put-in to go kayaking and you’ve got yourself a head turning experience!   We not only brought the raft trips to a standstill, but we also left some skin on the river (thank you Dawn) just to prove that chicks may dig scars, but they prefer their own over someone else’s!!     

From the Sarapiqui, we made it to Turrialba in time for the Costa Rican version of Thanksgiving dinner.  And as good as dinner was, it was on Thanksgiving Day that we really “gave thanksâ€?—paddling down the Pejibaye.  Our veteran team member, Mary found her redemption on the Pejibaye by paddling the whole river rightside-up (versus the whole river upside down last year). And topping that off, she proved that multiple windowshading in a spin hole can be very entertaining!!

The week ended all too soon.  It was a good thing that we had a big water run on the Reventazon to keep minds off the pending homework assignments due once the plane landed back at home.  And this grand finale of a run not only kept minds off of pending school work, but proved the gumption of team walkabout chicks.  It was a flawless day on the river, paddling aggressively through huge wave trains and squirrelly eddy lines.   Memories of the 9th annual Walkabout Thanksgiving Costa Rica trip will last in Tim’s great poster and video creation.  And in the stories taken home about a great week of kayaking!