Monday, November 01, 2010

Return to the Baptism River

My first creek experience was on the Baptism River on the infamous North Shore of Minnesota.  An amazingly beautiful creek with tough portages and fun whitewater.  First time down I was a still new boater with a so so roll and I followed three extremely talented boaters scouting.  I did OK until the very last drop when I flipped and took a couple of hard hits to the face. Ouch.

 Flash forward 3 1/2 years to this weekend.  Much more experienced now with an incredible year of new rivers behind me I returned to my first creek. 

The crew today was solid!  Andy, Bryan, Dan, Dave and I had an early start on a cloudy morning. The level was 12.7 which was much higher than I had run it before.   I approached this day with a bit of a philosophical view.  The mental game is so important in whitewater kayaking and I was doing "checks" to see if my past experience on this river had an influence on my confidence this run.  I won't lie and say no.  Before putting on I had a bit of the jitters but they soon faded after the first rapid.  Most of us had a great day.  One of us had an off day resulting in the demise of his boat.  Not an uncommon occurrence on the North Shore rivers.  Two were retired this weekend on the shore.  Other than bumps and bruises no serious injuries.

We paddled down to Ilgen Falls where our friend Joi and her husband Dwight waited for us.  Joi is a very talented artist and wanted to photograph Bryan and I, as the only kayakers in the group, running Ilgen Falls for our first time.  We looked and both came to the conclusion that it was on the high side and with only the two of us it would be a bit foolish to attempt.  We hung out for awhile and took photos. Joi and Dwight ran our shuttle for us and we enjoyed a bit to drink in the parking lot.  It was a good day.

Looking back on my perception of what was big to me three years ago and what I consider big today  it's interesting how your view changes. But I guess by looking at the photos one thing never changes and that's my smile...I love rivers and always will!


Dave Friend said...

It was a good day despite the fact that it was my ego that was bloodied this time. Better that than a bloody face I suppose. Looking on the bright side I now a legit reason to buy a new boat!

Nora Whitmore said...

See there is always a bright side to every bad day! It could always be worse.
It's always exciting to buy a new boat! I can't wait to see what you get. Good paddling with you!

Danielle said...

Looks like a GREAT weekend. Can't wait until I'm a good enough paddler to get out there with you! YOU INSPIRE ME! :)

PS - That bloody face picture is bad ass!

Nora Whitmore said...

Thanks Danielle...Dennis referred to it as my Braveheart river style look. You should have seen the bruises that came out afterward. Next year is going to be a fantastic year for you...we'll keep upping the'll be fun! I'm looking forward to paddling with you and Jeff next year! And what's left of this year too :)

Joi said...

My husband and I had a fabulous day, we get such a thrill from being included and getting to watch you. I am honored to call myself your friend and would shuttle you anytime...aww heck I'd even carry you...:) which is always nice to know considering some of the places we find to explore