More Gore...

Cody suggested the 4am crew attend the Gore Fest, and I gotta say it was highly entertaining. From watching the kayaks and rafts during the day, to partying through the night... a good time was had by all. (I'll try to post some party pics later, if possible).

Later in the day, slightly before the sunset, Cody took the rest of us down the lower section of the Gore, each of us in a Kayak of our own. Although the rapids were nothing like the Class V he encountered earlier, they would eventually frighten the living ba-jesus out of me.

I had never even sat in a Kayak before, let alone paddle one. Likewise, I had never been upside down or attempted a roll. Rom was in the same boat, figuratively speaking. So Cody and Josh gave both of us the 30 second lesson. Then we were off.

For the first mile or so the river was calm and I felt confident. Paddling seemed easy, even though sitting in the Kayak was extremely uncomfortable. Then we hit a section of rapids (I think Cody referred to it as "bumpy water") and, without warning, the boat just flipped.

My first time upside down was in rapids.

Cody was correct in the advice he gave earlier... I managed to pull the handle on the skirt and escape very quickly. Unfortunately, as I went over I swallowed a healthy gulp of water, so when I bobbed to the surface I was choking and gasping for air.

It took a while for me to get to shore, and for Cody and Josh to chase down my gear (thanks guys). I belched out the water and could breath normal once more, then Cody helped me back into the Kayak.

Eventually we were floating again. I made it down a couple other sections of "bumpy water" before coming to a bend in the river where the rapids swelled up against a rock cliff.

My efforts to stay away from the cliff failed -- mainly because I sucked and didn't follow Cody's instructions AND I panicked. The result: I bounced off of the rock wall a couple times, then spun around backwards.

Oddly, the kayak felt far more stable going in reverse. And of course I couldn’t see what was coming, and therefore wasn't freaked out by it. (ignorance is bliss, eh?)

So I managed to get through this section without flipping the boat.

But then, as I floated into the nice calm eddy where everyone waited for me, WHAMO! The boat suddenly capsized for no particular reason.

After another long ordeal pulling the waterlogged boat from the eddy, and help by Cody to empty the water, I was officially jittery. Calm water or bumpy water, it felt like the slightest breath would flip the damn thing. No joke-- I was terrified. In my mind I was convinced this unstable craft was going to drown me one way or another.

For the next eternity, we floated down the river. I tried not to make any agressive moves. I tried not to breathe heavy.

Cody was cool, helping me through sections of bumpy water by locking kayaks together. All of his advice had helped, but now my nerves were shattered. It was growing dark, and all I could think of was getting the hell out of this so-called boat.

The moment we finally landed, I think I was the happiest person on Earth.

Today, I have the uttmost respect for guys like Cody, Josh and the other racers, who make Kayaking look easy. Thanks guys, but I think I'll stick to hucking myself down mountain sides on two wheels!