I recently posted an article that was a repost of something a good friend of mine had written about why we seek out challenges on the river and what it means to manage our fear on the water. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that I posted a link to an article about just the opposite a few days ago. It talks about how we get caught up in the hype from our sport and how that can cause us to feel inadequate if we are just having a mellow day on an easy river. (There is a link to this article at the end of this post. It is well worth a read.) It is this idea I want to expand upon in today’s post.
If you know me or are familiar with my writing, then you know that I am a native of the South Fork of the American River (SFA) in California. This river is the state’s quintessential class II – III play run. It is home to two kayaking schools and about 50 rafting companies. The river offers three sections. The upper class III, the middle class II (C to G), and the lower class III.
During the heart of the season here I am at The River Store at some point almost everyday and at the CCK outpost a couple times a week. I run into other paddlers at these stores as well as at the access points along the river and at the restaurants and other hang outs. One of the things I love about this sport is meeting other paddlers and sharing our stories and experiences. I love to chat with other boaters, and an easy opener for a conversation is to ask someone, “where are you (or were you) paddling today?” Nearly all of the time people answer me with “just C to G” or “just the gorge.” Why the “just?”
When answering this question do people feel like they are inadequate? Do they think that they are being judged or looked down upon because they didn’t run the hardest run in California today? Am I causing them to feel this way? I hope not. If I’m asking you the question of where you went boating today at a hang out near the SFA, odds are I was “just” on the South Fork too. I very well may have “just” paddled c to g. Only I didn’t “just” paddle it. I paddled the shit out of it. No matter what stretch I was on or which boat I was in, you can rest assured that I enjoyed my day on the river. I had exactly the kind of river day that I was looking for today, and I hope you did too.
From here on let’s agree to drop the “just.” Let’s be proud that we packed up our gear, and we got out there today and that we had exactly the type of day we were looking for. Let’s celebrate that we had our own adventure, or that we had our own mellow day with our friends. If you went on the water and had fun then you won today and that is worth celebrating. Other people might have been looking for a different kind of day today than we were and that is ok. I hope they found what they were after, but that doesn’t take anything away from our success.
The bottom line is, get out there and have fun and stop comparing your day to other people’s. Stop thinking that you have to do the most epic thing ever to have a day worth sharing with others. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, make you think that your adventures are any less real than anyone else’s.
Read the article from Rapid Media here: