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Up the Creek With a Paddle

I haven’t done a personal post in a while so here’s one about my weekend. I went Kayaking this weekend for the first time ever. My friend Sidd took these pictures with his waterproof camera so they’re kind of blurry but I have to show you how awesome that day was.

I chose the yellow kayak so I could represent GT lol. What an Idiot I am. Right before we shoved off, one of the kayak outfitters look at my kayak and say “most of our boats are very stable… oh except for that one” and point right at my boat. When I shoved off the kayak tipped left and right very very easily. The trick was that you had to keep your center of gravity completely straight the whole time otherwise the kayak will dump you. I was mildly nervous since I’ve never been kayaking so god knows what was going to happen to me the next four hours.

Look, I actually look triumphant and sort of like I know what I’m doing!

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After we got going it was pretty fun though. The water was deep the first half of the trip. I was able to figure out my oar so that I could move fast. It was awesome! I was having the best time ever. The boys were having a fight in their kayaks and a couple toppled but since the water was slow and deep it was fine, they just swam to shore with their boats in tow and got back on. The weather was absolutely fantastic. Beautiful clouds with lush tall greenery on either side. We came across a stretch of the river which was flanked with beautiful homes. Some very modern, some very traditional. We waved at the people on the bank and just took it all in. Once we passed the Johnsons Ferry Bridge and the I-285 bridge, which took about two and a half hours, the river changed. There were stretches of rocky shelves with huge rocks just barely under the surface, which would stick your kayak and topple you. They were dark and creepy under the water.

I hit one of these rock shelves. Since the water was more shallow but the same fluid volume as before, it was way faster. I was propelled into a rock straight on and was pushed by the water behind me until I flipped over. I had a moment of panic and that was all that was needed for me to completely lose my boat to the rushing river. I swam to a rock and pulled myself up, just me and my oar. Ever heard of “Up the creek without a paddle”? Well up the creek with a paddle but no boat is even worse. This old white guy in a tube managed to grab my boat downriver and another young white guy really helped me out. He asked me to throw my oar at him and he would kayak my boat back upriver. So that’s what we did. I was smack in the middle of the river with a bunch of rocks on either side so I really wasn’t going to go anywhere fast. He kayaked it back up and I got in. It was so awesome of him!!!

Look at my sorry butt in the middle of the water with just my oar. The picture is a little misguiding as I was nowhere near the shore. I’m in the middle of the river.

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Sana and Mohammed hung around in their two-person kayak until they thought I was safe. They were panicking at least 2 or 3 times as much as I was. I kept having to tell them it was going to be okay, the water’s shallow, I’m fine, while they looked at me like I had two heads. Once I was back in the kayak, we three tried to catch up to the other kayakers. We did eventually catch up with them but the rest of the river trip was full of rocks and tough maneuvering.

I toppled a second time when my kayak lodged into a rock sideways and rolled over. This time, since I had done it once, I wasn’t panicking about the fall, and freed myself from the boat, without letting go of either my oar or my boat. The unfortunate thing was that I didn’t flip my kayak back quickly and the river current started filling it with water and it was so hard to keep a hold on it. I didn’t let it go though and instead wedged it in between two rocks before my arm gave out. Paz floated back towards me and wedged his kayak before getting out and then helping me pick up the kayak and tip it horizontally on the slippery rock. Kayaks are heavy! Once it was empty I plugged it again and got back in. I scraped up my legs on the rocks when the water threw me into them but thankfully they were covered with thick river vegetation which helped keep the damage level on my legs low. If we had been on the river before the vegetation had the chance to get nice and thick like it does in the summer, I would have had deeper gashes in my legs. That was the last time I fell out. I learned a little more about how to handle falling the second time and I only had a few close calls. By this time four and a half hours have passed and we’re rushing to make the 6pm pickup. Each time I fell we wasted at least 20 minutes. Same for every time everyone else capsized. Once we passed the 75 bridge we had made it to the takeout. My muscles felt really weird. Numb and mild pain in my right forearm, where I had strained fighting the river to keep my boat.

Anyway. I didn’t die, and I feel awesome! Sore as hell but awesome!

I’m looking forward to at least one more trip this summer in a Kayak. Maybe this time, I’ll leave my GT pride behind and just pick a stable boat.

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