When I first started paddling in college, there simply weren’t any other women in my area doing it -or hangliding or rock climbing either. I moved here because it’s a whitewater kayaking mecca – and I finally realized part of what makes this city great: women are allowed to be strong here. Whereas in other places I got funny looks or stupid comments if I said I was a paddler, here I was welcomed. I could paddle and play with a giant group of awesome guys (super entertaining), and still be treated like a normal human.
Perfect for me – the whitewater crowd is pretty loco for obvious reasons, but in a super cool fun way. In the community, you lend people boats, gear, and invite them over for a beer. You rescue anyone who needs it, and retrieve gear floating downstream. It’s lovely, kind of like a crazy wilderness church. And either you have river fever, or you don’t get it. I’ve certainly had rapids and a couple waterfalls that made me speak in tongues. Hallelujiah.
How grievously painful that now that I can afford to go play on the water, my best whitewater buddy has died. I still can’t believe he’s gone – I can’t bear to delete his last texts.
Mantra today: Stay calm, use your inhaler, think of the future, plan a vacation.