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 down...no 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.