Day 4: Lava Chuar to Rattlesnake Camp is only 9 or 10 miles on the river so it wasn’t the paddling that was daunting. We got to camp early so we could take part in the yearly tradition of “Mike Hikes”. He pointed up to a peak that looked to be beyond not just the first wall behind camp but over another and then one more. That was a daunting visual. I was thinking to myself, really?
2012… What a year. When I look back I see thousands of flashes from my various adventures, so much stands out I’m hard pressed to choose what few things could sum up the year best. The competitions, road trips, rivers, parties, and lets not forget, people, have helped not just define me as a kayaker but as an adult as well . I’ve got to say… 2012 has, to date, been the best year of my life.
I remember last new years looking at what I had planned, nervous and apprehensive at what was come. This was, after all, my first real year on my own. Well, to be fair, I wasn’t completely by myself, there is nothing like traveling the world to put in perspective how useful a social network can be.
My first big step was interning with the Mcglaughlin Whitewater Engineering firm in Denver, Colorado. I spent two months 2000 miles from home, shacked up in the basement of some obscure family friend spending every moment soaking up as much as I could about not just what it takes to be an engineer, but what it takes to build a whitewater park from the ground down. Couple that with about 20 days of intense snowboarding in the rockies and you could say I was living the life.
After those two months and a 30 hour drive to the East Coast it was finally time to get myself back in the water. I spent the next four months split between the freestyle and slalom circuits, throwing myself at every competition. Between March and July I traveled through more than 26 States, paddling in over 12. The results from the competitions are as follows:
- 6th at the 2012 US Slalom Olympic Trials in C-1
- 2nd at the 2012 US Junior Slalom Team Trials in C-1
- 27th at the 2012 Junior Slalom World Championships in C-1
- 1st in the 2012 US Freestyle National Point Series in K-1 Juniors
- 2nd in the 2012 US Freestyle National Point Series in C-1
- 3rd in the 2012 US Freestyle National Point Series in Oc-1
- 19th at the 2012 Teva Mountain Games Steep Creek Championships in C-1 v.s. K-1ers
The next two months were spent with my eye on the 2012 Freestyle World Cup. Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, it’s hard not to be proud of what I did achieve. I succeeded in medaling in all three classes I competed in.
- 2nd in C-1
- 2nd in Oc-1
- 3rd in K-1 Juniors.
After the Freestyle World Cup I felt some focus on a different side of the sport was needed- it was time for some creek race training! I spent a ton of time on the Green River Narrows and the Russell Fork tuning up my skills. Oddly enough, I spent hardly any time in a normal creek boat. My attention between Long boat C-1 in the LL Stinger and OC-1 in the Blackfly Ion; both very scary boats to paddle down challenging whitewater, let alone race with. The Lord of the Fork Race was a great warm up, I managed to come in 2nd in the C-1 stinger even though I only had a couple days in the boat under my skirt. One week later it was time for the big one, the mighty Green River Narrows Race. Both of my runs were absolutely terrifying but I did my best to keep my head above water. I had a fairly good run in the Stinger, excluding the minor flip between the Notch and Gorrilla; the Oc-1 run went just about as perfectly as an oc-1er could hope for. I managed to come out:
- 1st in C-1 Long boat with a 5:02
- 1st in OC-1 with a 7:06 Breaking the previous Oc-1 record which was around 8:30
I wrapped up my odyssey on the glacial melt of Chile. I could type for days about about how it felt to be away from home, accelerating over the horizon line of a 70 foot waterfall, not wondering if I can make it but rather how I would better my next decent. Or the defeated feeling of walking away from what could be the waterfall of my dreams.
If I had to pick a word to define 2012 it would be opportunity. 2012 was full of both risks and rewards and if It wasn’t for the support of my sponsors, parents, and friends, that opportunity would have been wasted. Thank you, everyone who supported me this year, I promise there will be more to come.
Here’s to 2013,
Stay tuned for a 2012 Highlight Video!
Day 1. Day one was a big one for me because I just don’t get to go on trips where everyone is paddling one of our boats let alone everyone was paddling the same boat. It was also a really cool experience to see how well the Remix XP performed for everyone and how perfect it is for this type of trip through rapids and long stretches of flat water. Pushing off from shore and feeling the stability that the boat had with 100+ pounds of gear loaded into it felt great. Yes it was another proud designer moment.
Day 1. ”Clean up your stuff before you go on to do something else!” My mom told me that when I was a kid and I am still paying the price for not learning that lesson. Piles of dishes still show up in my kitchen sink at home but when you are camping in the cold it is much harder to clean your dishes after they have frozen over night and that will piss you off because then its much harder to make coffee since you only have a few pots to start with unlike my collection at home so that I can go a week without cleaning.