Monday, May 18, 2009

Canoe U...The First Weekend

Wow! It's never done that before! Sunshine and warm on the first weekend of Canoe U?? The weather was spectacular for taking our group of newbies out. This is my first year as an instructor and I was happy to be paired up with Mike Manger. Mike's wife Melissa and Bryan and Sara Koop were our safety boaters. Our group dynamics was great! We started out on the lower Kettle working the basics and eddys in a wind that bordered on straight line winds at times. Our students worked hard and at the end of the day it was very apparent that they had made great strides. Mike and I decided to take them on the upper Kettle the next day as it was at 400cfs...bunny level but a jump up from the lower Kettle. When we arrived there the next morning we found that the river had doubled in size over night. Ah well, Mike and I picked our rapids portaging Blueberry, Teachers and Pet, Mother's Delight, and Dragon's Tooth but using them as visuals to explain rapids. We put in by throwing them off the Launch Rock...they loved it...and then eddy hopped and ran Little Banning with great success and lots of fun. Then the flat water and the approach to "Hell's Gate". We pulled out and scouted giving them the option of running this substantial rapid or not. Whoo Hoo! Everyone was in! Ducks in a row I led off. Students alternated with instructors and safety boaters we ran it down. Every one of the students styling the river and making the eddy at the bottom. Yeah, this is what it's all about...the smiles and excitement after a successful run of a rapid. We paddled to the take out and bade our good byes...until the second weekend. A few of us headed to the Gaslight for Bloody Marys and pizza. Ok that was the best Bloody Mary I've had! You even get four large shrimp! Pizza was good also. Great ending to a great weekend. Personally I'm excited to see what the second weekend will bring for our fledgling kayakers!

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