We piled into the Tumalo van for the two-hour drive. The lively conversation involved topics like the most magical travel experience you’ve ever had, farmers markets and massage therapy. At the put in, Lauri announced she had forgotten her sprayskirt. Lauren, moments later, couldn’t find the van keys.
Mo set to work building a skirt out of a trashbag and duct tape.
The rest of us hunted for the keys. Lauren felt embarrassed and kept apologizing for putting us out, but we all could relate. This was typical chick M-O. We lose and forget things ALL THE TIME. It was easy to go with the flow, Lauren was with us and not a group of guys.
Twenty minutes later she found her keys- sitting right on top of her boat! We laughed but didn’t scold. With Lauri all taped into her kayak we were ready to roll, so to speak. The weather was perfect, the water chilly but manageable in a drysuit or wetsuit, and spirits high. Until…
We paddled downstream and gathered at the first eddy. I stuck close to Mo hoping to glean some gem that would magically turn me into the kayaker I wanted to be. She looked back and said, “There. That’s it. Now you’re doing it.” But in truth I was still apprehensive about the upcoming whitewater.
The next task was to eddy* behind as many boulders as we could that were strewn throughout the coming stretch. I caught the very first eddy and beamed. I thought eddying was the one skill I did fairly well but there was still lots to learn. My head and self-confidence were a jumble.
That’s when I found myself between a rock and a hard place. Literally.
I went to eddy-out, into the current, but the rock was too close to my paddle and I flipped, then swam. Mo “rescued” me; shouting for me to grab her boat and keep my feet up in the shallow water as I bounced off rocks. I was ok. The only thing bruised was my ego. I caught up with my boat and apologized for the swim. She said no worries but I began to feel like “a girl”. We broke for lunch. I laid in the cool water, wishing for a second wind and a chance at redemption; praying the mood would wash over me.
After wolfing down my turkey sandwich from Bend’s Strictly Organic Café, I still wasn’t ready to get back in my boat. The largest wave train of the day lay ahead. I savored the wild blackberries growing on a nearby bush, wondering where my mojo went. The girls talked excitedly about their morning and their renewed love of kayaking. The SheJumps course was a great idea on so many levels. It brought them together, it developed their skills and it took place in a supportive environment.
It was a glorious afternoon and I wish I could tell you that I rocked the wave train but I’d be lying. I swam that too.
*Definition:A river feature formed when the current flows around an obstacle and water flows back upstream to fill in the space left by the deflected current. The current inside of eddies flows upstream. Eddies are great for resting, getting out of the current, getting out of the river and scouting.