Lesson Learned/A Guides Perspective

We hit the river for the first time this weekend without our son. To say it was a little strange to not pack up all his gear would be an understatement. The entire trip, from start to finish, I felt like someone was missing. Although, we ought to get used to this, he will not be paddling for quite some time. That being said, we still had a great time with a new couple and our newbie neighbor that has now officially graduated from a newbie to a full blown kayaker.

As I have said in the past, we rarely find friends to join us in our river adventures. However, this weekend with three kayaks empty instead of just two, we left it up to our neighbor to search out some friends she would like to have experience the adventure with us. Surprising, this was quite easy for her and the first couple she asked said yes. (We seriously need some friends like this) So, our neighbor, who has been down the river once with us in the past and once at a beach with some lessons on wet exits and rolling accompanied us along with her sister and brother in law. Our neighbor took our son’s kayak and the new couple used our recreational kayaks.

The day was hot, partly sunny and beautiful. A great day to see if the lessons on wet exiting at the beach were worth teaching. In our opinion, after you teach the basics like how to hold a paddle and paddle strokes the next lesson should be wet exiting your kayak. Even though they may not like the fact that this should be taught, they will be happy they know the skill eventually. Our neighbor was very happy to have learned this lesson after trying to surf one of the nicest rapids on the river this weekend. I will apologize because I have no pics of this part of our day but I had a little more important things to do. (Like retrieve gear after she flipped) If someone is going to flip surfing, we know from experience, this is the rapid it is going to happen on. She wanted to try and my husband was never very far from her in his kayak the entire time. I, however, exited my kayak, beached it on a rock and stood nearby in the water to assist because I knew how this would end. The newbies sat nearby in their kayaks watching. She was doing great until the wave caught her, turned her sideways and over she went….and exited just like she was taught. Success, she was up, my husband was out and ready to assist and I gathered the gear. Afterwards she admitted that she was so thankful to have been taught the lesson and even happier to have had the chance to get a true wet exit experience. We officially have graduated her from newbie to just an every day kayaker….Congrats!

As for our newbie couple, they did terrific. One flip in the last rapid of the river but everyone stayed calm. She also surprised us all by trying it again and the second time it went much more smoothly. Success was achieved by all this weekend and it was a great ending to our day on the river.

After that it was picnic time. I don’t think anyone was really ready to leave the river on this day because it was so beautiful but a nice spread of good food always helps.

IMG_5070

We really enjoy taking new people and showing them that even though what we do can be dangerous, it can also be fun and relaxing. With the proper safety precautions it is no more dangerous than riding a bike on a city street. It’s really what you make of the experience that makes it what it is. You can float along and portage everything if you wish or you can try new things and even get a little crazy like my husband and slide down a rock with a dramatic splash.

IMG_5059

It’s all up to you. All we ask is that you have fun and enjoy the moment.

This weekend I think we would all agree, we all enjoyed the moment:)

 

 

 

Weekend Highlights: July 4th. Weekend

Technically, our July 4th weekend started out at 4:30 Thursday night when my last daycare child was picked up from our home. My husband was with our son at the orthopedic surgeons office and I was left home alone with my thoughts of the last few days. And what a few days it was.

First of all, being out of routine with little ones running around does not make life easy! Typically, our son is at work most week days and we do our thing throughout the day. This is not at all what happened this past week. Instead, our son slept most of the day time hours or needed assistance of some kind. I honestly don’t know what injury was worse for me to deal with. His broken clavicle was the one that gave him the worse pain but the head injury gave us the biggest worry. Even the doctors were amazed all the CT scans came back ok because the bump and gash they stapled back together was amazing. So we obviously did not leave him alone for the first few days, which meant after Monday when my husband went back to work it was all me. Thankfully my husband took the overnight hours of checking on him and making sure he did not roll on the head injury and kept his medication on time. I got to sleep through most of the first few nights.

Then our weekend arrived and all original plans of kayaking were cancelled:( I was bummed! We struggled to decide if we should do anything at all with or without him and in the end decided that it would be best to stay together and just take it easy. He was still sleeping a lot of the time and his arm still hurt him quite a bit. So Friday was a relaxing day of getting some things done. I did a little shopping and then we planned a relaxing beach day for Saturday hoping that he would feel up to at least getting out of the house.

Saturday morning was gorgeous. We loaded up the stand up paddle board, one kayak, beach towels,chairs, and headed to the beach. If there is a better place to recover from an accident other than relaxing on a beach I would love to hear it because I believe sunshine can cure almost anything. We had the pleasure of having our neighbors join us for the day and it was quite a pleasant day for everyone. Both our neighbors had the opportunity to try stand up paddle boarding for the first time and did wonderful.

IMG_4904

Even our son was in the water for some of the time. The only part of him that he was not able to get wet was his head so he even attempted to play frisbee with us. Although, it was quite frustrating to throw with the wrong hand and watch it go everywhere other than where he was hoping it would go.

IMG_4916

At the end of our day our neighbor decided it was her time to learn how to wet exit and roll in a whitewater kayak. We had taken her down a river once before in the past but it was too cold to teach this on that day, so this was the perfect place to learn. The beach was a controlled area with no current and lots of assistance.

First, the wet exit was attempted. She got all the advice she needed and we were all close by for help if she needed it. Over she went.

IMG_4926

And out and up she came.

IMG_4928

Success!!!! It’s funny how this is really the biggest fear most people have when in a kayak for the first time. The questions of WILL I BE ABLE TO GET OUT is always scary and the best way to know if you can is to just do it. She did terrific and even said she has a better feeling now knowing she will be able to exit in the event of a rollover on a river.

Then she surprised my husband and son with the request to try and roll. Females are the bravest people we have had on the river by far and she was no different. Request granted and the lesson began.

IMG_4944

Here she is learning the hip action while leaning against my husband as our son watches and gives pointers. (he really felt so useless because normally he teaches the roll very well)

Now, it was her turn to try it and hope for the best. Over she went…

IMG_4934

And no success, she had to wet exit. Although she tried twice, both times were unsuccessful:(  We all have faith that in time she will get it.

After this we were all chilly and agreed it was time to pack up and head to a county park very nearby before heading home. Upon arrival the temperature change was amazing. I grabbed a jacket before heading down to the shoreline.

IMG_4953

IMG_4961

We did not spend a whole lot of time here because of high, rough water and it was time to get our son home to rest. He was already sleeping in the car by the time we returned.

Even though it was not the weekend of kayaking we had planned, it was still a great day on the water. We all had a wonderful day at the beach with some fun friends and beautiful weather. I love summer:)

Then Sunday came and the first thing on the agenda was a quick trip to the clinic so our son could get his staples removed. I can’t believe a week has past since the accident. The rest of the day we just sort of did our own things. My husband went fishing, I hung out did some reading and went for a walk and made a pan of no boil lasagna for dinner. And our son had more friends stop in for a visit. I must admit, it was a nice way to end a long weekend.

Did you do anything fun? I’d love to hear about it.