by our own Trish
The sabbatical is over! Being out of a kayak for over a year really does leave the soul and spirit parched and longing for the sound and feel of whitewater. After relocating to New Mexico, I didn’t realize how much I would miss kayaking until I recently rekindled the flame.It is so good to be back in a kayak!
I had the opportunity to paddle the Race Course Section of the Rio Grande just outside of Taos, NM. This section is 5 miles long and chocked full of class II and III rapids. It was the perfect section for me to get acquainted with my new EZG and see if I still possessed any shred of paddling skills that I used to have.
As my friend Rachel and I pulled up to the put-in, I had that familiar twinge of nervousness that I hadn’t felt in quite a while. We changed, met the rest of our party and headed for the water. As I slid into my EZG for the first time, I realized I made rookie mistake #1. I forgot to put in my foam bulk head. I had nothing for my feet! As I sat there, I smiled to myself, shook my head and had the realization that if I ever had the bad habit of pushing with my feet while rolling, that wouldn’t be happening today! And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I then made rookie mistake #2. I forgot to get my spray skirt wet before putting it on so I couldn’t get it over the cockpit of my EZG by myself. Fantastic. After asking for help, we were finally off. We all ferried back and forth a few times and that was an interesting gauge of skill.
When you are accustomed to paddling with the best instructors at Endless River Adventures, you expect everyone to be that good. Welcome to the world of kayaking reality. If you don’t know what a stern draw is, please sign up for PI right now. Alas, we headed off downstream and I had a smile on my face as soon as we hit the first ripple. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt right at home in my boat and I felt as though I hadn’t missed a beat. I tried a couple of wave wheels miserably and was happy to find that I hadn’t “lost” my roll during my sabbatical. Whew……that was a relief! The run ended up being super fun and there was even a really good play spot called Sleeping Beauty. I can’t wait to get back to Sleeping Beauty and start tearing it up this summer! By tearing it up, I mean of course that I will be front surfing and spinning. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally learn to throw a blunt or two!
Should you find yourself inadvertently in a kayaking sabbatical, try and find whitewater as soon as possible. John Muir put it best by saying, “The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” Rekindle the flame as soon as possible, your soul and spirit will thank you.