Tales from the Road from your Favorite Red-headed Stepchild
How is every one doing? I’m doing quite well……right now I’m sitting in a McDonalds in Nashville, TN (they truly do have every thing here; Big Mac’s and Wifi, what else could you need! lol. I just wanted to send an update to you guys and let you know what sort of shenanigans I’ve been up to.
Where to begin? The last update I sent out I had just completed my 500 mile bike ride from SLC to Reno. After that, I got to spend two memorable months out in California Creeking. Here are some highlights: Ran Brush Creek 10 times in a day (dropping a vertical mile), Ran Dry Meadow at super high water and got a huge beat down in the crack drop (45 sec underwater and death if I swam), First Descent of Chamber Creek Falls, I also re-landscaped the Green”s back yard (rent for 2 months)….. (Amy’s a slave driver jk) Then came the Reno River Fest……This is a great event; very fun but tough on the liver. I didn’t receive an Invite, so I had to compete in the open class. After the semi finals, I was in first place by over 90 points…..I was stoked because getting in the top three meant that I got to compete in the big show. I ended up 2nd in the open after six 1 minute rides. I was spent, but there was still some party left in me. The next day was the invite, where I won my heat, but it wasn’t enough to move me on to the next round…….so I went go cart racing with Amy and Nova. It was a good time……..If I ever get bored of kayaking, I might try my luck with go cart racing.
After Reno I hitched a ride with Christy Glissmeyer to SLC to visit my family for a bit. Then I headed out to Colorado for what was supposed to be a month. The trip was cut short by an injury received in a creek race in Vail. Here’s a little bit of what I did before I got hurt: We drove out to Buena Vista for the CKS paddle swap and Paddle with the Pros. Then I headed over to Crested Butte to paddle OBJ creek for a couple days. Then headed to Steamboat for the Paddler Pro Inventaional where I ended up 4th, then it back to Buena Vista for the Pimp and Ho party…….What a great time!
After I hurt my knee in Colorado, I headed home to Utah for what I had planned on being a two week stint of rest for my knee. The night I got home I got an invite to go down the Middle Fork of the Salmon (the river of no return) and there was no way I could pass on that…….plus, who could think of a better way of rehabbing my knee; relaxing on a river in the middle of nowhere with some great friends and lots of hot springs. I had a great trip with a bunch of guys that taught me how to paddle. And the knee was back to 100% after the trip.
Once I got back from that trip I started to get wanderlust. After about two weeks at home I had to find a way out of there so I started scheming a way out……Since I was broke……just like always, I came up with a plan……….I would remodel my parents bathroom for a plane ticket to the Ottawa River where I had a job lined up as an kayak instructor for the summer. After about a week of manual labor, my parents caved in and bought the ticket.
So that brings me up to the Ottawa, so many things that could be said about this place a truly magical place of warm water, big waves, and great people. I was lucky enough to instruct for most of the summer where I met and taught some truly amazing people. I love teaching kayaking because it reminds me of the joy I had when I first started. The smiles on their faces when they finally figure it out are truly rewarding.
Other than instructing, the Ottawa is home to some truly amazing people. People from all walks of life are drawn there by their desire to be by the river. There are a couple people up there that I’d like to give a special thanks to for making a lasting impression on me. First, Emily Carty: you have truly opened my eyes to the impact I have on others, and for that I’m forever indebted to you. The next would be Blaine (this guy was doing a cross Canadian bike ride raising money for a great cause, and took a lay over on the ottawa for 3 days) There are tons of others that I’d like to thank, but there’s not enough time in the day or this letter for that.
After I was done instructing, I started my competition session back up. I started out with the US team trials, where I placed 14th.. The competion was held at the Garberator wave on the Ottawa . The wave was a little flushy but still a ton of fun. They let m MC the event again which is always a fun time. Its always a fun time talking your friends up on the wave.
The next comp was the first stop of the world cup also held up on Garb. I felt a lot better about my performance on the wave this time. Using my ”go big or go home” attitude, I went big with 3 tricks in each ride I ended up 20th out of 50 competitors.
For the next stop we headed down to Watertown, NY. We trained on the Route 3 wave for several days until the day before the event. They switched locations due to too much water flowing thru the event sight. They moved it down stream to Hole Brothers. I was happy with that because the hole reminds me a lot of the features that I play on out west…..i.e. Shallow. After prelims I was sitting happy in 4th place. Unfortunately I couldn’t hold on to that position long and wound up in 12th place. It was still a great time. My Aunt and Uncle came down to see me which was really cool……I hadn’t seen them for a long time.
After NY I flew to Sioux Falls, SD to pick up a Dagger Subaru which I’ll be using the next couple of months for my new job with Dagger.
Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Rock Island for the third and final stop of the world cup tour. After Rock Island, I will be heading to Gauly fest. I will be hanging out on the East Coast for most of the winter……I should be at Moose fest and the Ottawa a bit in October and at most of the Tallulah releases. I’m not really sure where I’ll be living for the winter……I’m toying with the idea of heading somewhere warm, but we will see what happens.
That’s about all I’ve been up to. Sorry about the length…..I’ll try and send out shorter/more updates from now on.
You should let me know what you’ve been up to!
Your favorite Red Headed-Stepchild
Extra Bonus Ramblings!
I look up to the sky and notice the geese are starting to fly south for the winter, yet I look at the compass in my car and its pointing to the north. As I’m driving along, I see one of the many beautiful pictures being painted by the fall colors in the trees on the east coast. I continue to drive north into upstate New York, where I’m to meet up with my aunt and uncle to catch up on time. When I get to their house, my uncle says, “How you would like to go look at that waterfall I’ve been telling you about for years?” Saying that to me is like asking a kid if they want candy. So off we went. When we got there, the sun was getting ready to set so I did a quick scout and ran back to the car to gear up for a twilight run of this 2-tier waterfall. It was a lot of fun, but a pretty hard hit……. i.e., I was boofing 9’ onto a flat shelf of rock.
After visiting with my family for a couple days, it was time to head up even further north to the Moose River Festival, in Old Forge, NY. This was a very fun event. I showed up Friday to help set up the party. After a very memorable party, it was out to the streets where we had a 3 am snowball fight through the town. The next day we woke up to snow covered boats and gear, but the down river race was still going to happen, so we all made our way down to Agers Falls. After one look at the falls, I decided I wasn’t going to race; rather, I was just going to session the falls and get some freewheel practice. I ended up running the falls 10 times, then ran down the river with Shane Benedict for my first run down the bottom Moose – there are some really fun rapids. Shane was a good guide, showing me the alpine line at Crystal and setting up safety at Magalia. After nearly catching hypothermia…. we all warmed up and went to the big party at Moose Fest, where we showed boats until 10 at night before heading over to the pub for some late night debauchery.
After Moose Fest, I was only about 3 hrs away from a place that I have become very close to, having spent my whole summer there – the Ottawa River. I set my sights yet even further north and took off. When I got there, I got the opportunity to expand my resume to include “College Professor”(There is an outdoor adventure college in Canada which has Kayaking as a course), which looks good. Here is what a list of past work experiences would look like if I were to ever make a resume.
1. Lawn Care Technician
2. Line Cook
3. Dish-Washing Technician
7. Cow Castrator
9. MC/Event Host
12. Kayak Instructor
13. Professional Athlete
14. College Professor
15. Driver- Delevering Cars
16. Tech rep
18. Adult Entertainer
19. Security Guard
20. Water Boy
21. Salesman (Sales Representative)
22. Snowboard technician
These are just a few of the jobs that I have done to keep me out on the road paddling.
When I got up to the Ottawa, I expected to be surfing Garberator, but the river was about 8’ higher than I had ever seen it and it was on the rise. It’s amazing how different that river can be. I was only going to sick around for 4 days, but the river kept creeping up every day so the hope that Mini Bus would come in kept me sticking around. While I was waiting on the river to hit 14.5’ I was able to catch up with some of my old friends in the valley, which was a lot of fun. I woke up on Friday morning to find blue bird skies and the river was at 14.5’ – I about lost my mind. We made coffee and headed out to the river to find a crowded parking lot with people from all over the world. Paddling out to the wave, my heart was going about a million miles a min. Sitting in the eddy looking out across the wave that stands about 8’ taller than the eddy then has a trough that is about 4’ bellow the eddy was awesome……. That’s right about a 12’ tall wave.
To get out to this wave, you either have to drop in from above or you can grab onto a water-ski rope that they have set up to tow you out onto the wave, it’s a really cool system. It was designed by “Sharky”, the founder of Ottawa Kayak School. After surfing the wave for the first time there was nothing that could have wiped the smile off of my face. I was all tingly inside. Until just then, I had never understood why people would fight off icebergs to surf a wave, but now I know . In fact, on Sunday when we headed out to the wave it started to snow…….. it snowed about 3” while we were surfing but it didn’t matter because the wave was just that good.
After a couple more days on the wave, I had to leave the Ottawa for the last time for the year. So I again looked to the sky to see the geese flying south and this time I decided to follow them south. I have wanted to go to Washington, DC, for a long time to check out all of the sites. I set my sites on our nation’s Capitol and set the cruise control. One the way down, I saw a “shiny thing”. It was a reptile zoo. I pulled in just in time to watch a King Cobra eat a rat…..quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Once I got into the city, I started to second guess my decision – Holy Crap – there are a lot of people and they all are really aggressive drivers. After being lost and scared to death for about 3 hrs, I finally found the National Park where all of the monuments are. It was kind of fun to be a tourist for the day. I got to check out all of the monuments and buy a couple hot dogs from street vendors for the veterans that were homeless around the monuments. It sucks that they serve our country and then are forgotten.
After being a tourist, I had to jump back on the road to make it to the US National White Water Training Center in Charlotte, NC, for the grand opening. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the Green Race, but I had a great time announcing the event with Hobie There was close to 4,000 people in attendance, which is by far the largest crowd I’ve ever announced to. After the grand opening I took off to Ashville, where I am now writing you this email from the same parking lot that I sent you my last email from. That’s right – I’m back in the Cracker Barrel parking lot waiting on the Green to run.
I’m not really sure what Ill be up to for the next month….. It all kind of depends on if I can find a job…….. my summer funds have dwindled…… I guess being a young kayaker I want to try and live like a rock star and I can make a good go of it when I have money, but it looks like its back to eating peanut butter burritos for me.
I hope this finds you all in good health. Shoot me and email and I can fill you in with a more personal email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Your Favorite Red Headed Stepchild,