up down and all around

today was the best day so far. it was the worst day so far. it was an up down and all around day.

I paddled my first creek, first canyon first double drop, first 16 footer and first 20 footer.

David was a flawless leader. My heart only beat faster than usual at one point on the whole river. He knows when to point, when to speak, when to smile, when to scout.

The first rapid was a double drop. I was flipped inbetween the two and got worked. I thought about swimming. I let go of my paddle with one hand. I reached for my skirt. Then i thought wait a second, i don't know where I am, I think there is another drop a foot from me and I don't want to swim the drop, woman up, so I reached back up, grabbed the paddle and gave it one last heave ho and rolled up to hear Coach Tino and David shouting PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE GO LEFT! And I went left and plugged the drop, came up and that is when my heart beat was elevated, and Palmer, this brave 11th grader who went before me, also on her head, and came up totally unphased, asked are you okay? I nodded and breathed. She said are you hyperventilating? I nodded and breathed.

Then came the 16 footer, I hit the eddy right in front of it. Now this is a boxy canyon of smooth stone, shadowy and creeky. The eddies are tough to catch. David is nearby trying to give me some beta but I start getting pulled out of the eddy, the creek is flowing slowly but I lose my stuff when I hear the sound of a paddle blade scrapinga against canyon wall and I'm suddenly heading backwards to the drop. I'm not ready to run the drop but it's now and it's either backwards or forwards, so I turn around and BANG!

I'm over and at the bottom, deep deep deep, getting thrashed and trashed and I hold on for dear life and think wait it out lady wait it out. I wait it out. I roll up. David is hollering at me from up above to see if I'm okay but I'm too out of breath to holler back, so he comes rolling over the falls, looks at me, and laughs.

Next up is some boogy water, some class 3, fun stuff, a piton or two and then the 20 footer. David said, You run this and I' gaurantee I'll be cheering for you when you roll up.

The 20 footer is the most beautiful thing I have ever done. I tiptoed up to the lip, set up, tucked, and FELL. I had my eyes open. My mouth shut. I saw it all. It looked wett. A nice soft DOINK! landing and then I rise up and sure enough lo and behold he is cheering at me. "Perfect line coogan." he said. "That was a PERFECT Line."

There are pictures, they are coming soon.

So, that was the up, that was the all around. but where does the down come in? because when we drove home we were all laughing, exhilerated, shouting, happy, wet, proud....

....and then we got back to the base. And we looked around. And then we weren't any of those things any more.

But that's a story for the next time.