6 Yrs ago, I was paddling whitewater as much as I now ride a bike. I was an American Canoe Association certified instructor in Canoe and Kayak as well as Swift Water Rescue certified. I was at a point in my "career" where I had run the Chattooga, Noli, Wilson's Creek, Rocky Broad, Tallulah, N Fork of the French Broad... and then some. I was gearing up to run the Narrows of the Green one day, but just never felt the confidence. Then gas prices went up and the kid was older and I couldn't be gone all day. So I sold the boats and bought bikes, started racing endurance mountain bike.
Before I sold my Mad River Outrage open canoe (that I could roll), the kid was about 3, I took him down the ledges on the French Broad River in Asheville. He cried almost the whole way. My singing silly songs did little to calm him.
And so, my career ended. I often reminisce about the friends and fun times I had. There is something about water, that runs in my blood and makes me happy.
When we decided to skip the myriad of bike event options in Asheville and head to the NOC for the day, we figured with the great weather forecast, we should rent a boat.
We got on the river before 1pm and headed downstream. I was in the stern as the guide, the kid in the middle and the wife up front. After Patton's run, the kid stowed the paddle and enjoyed the ride.
While the raft floated downstream, so many memories washed back. The flood, the swims, the rolls, the surfing, the classes. All fun times.
Except for the first time I joined the Carolina Canoe Club. I was new to the sport and did not know how to use the river to it's fullest potential. I had enough food and water for a 2 hr max, point to point run. The club members planned to be on the river all day, surfing, eddying, playing, chatting etc. I was starving 5 hrs later, but learned a lot that day.
We floated down, hit the first wave, the kid shifted/ slipped into the bottom of the boat, I yelled at the wife to paddle forward, straightened the boat, skirted the first hole of the falls, rode the tongue, punched through the bottom wave and we were through.
And then it was history, the kid's first major whitewater trip. He loved it.