Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I feel like I'm surfacing toward "normal" with the completion of my class. If you can call it that when you're heading to Liberia in 2 1/2 weeks. EEEEP! I spent an hour talking to a Very Cool Person who's lived in Liberia last night. Her name is Joy, and I found her by wandering across her blog, Finding Joy in Liberia! She was amazingly patient with a-thousand-and-one clueless questions, and I'm starting to feel less prepared than ever for this trip!
In the meantime (and to get my mind off it for a few moments) , my kayaking class just wrapped up. There have been seven sessions over the past 2 months or so (well, I missed one b/c of the Colorado trip), and they've been such fun. Did I ever mention that I love kayaking? I do. It's true. I will tell you why.
  • You get to go places just not accessible in other ways. Sea caves & stuff like that. There's just nothin' like exploring nooks and crannies that are otherwise inaccessible.
  • You're down low to - and almost in - the water, rather than on top of it. You're constantly aware of what it's doing, so it forces you to slow down and pay attention.
  • It's efficient: you have a paddle on each end - so you can go nearly straight, which isn't really possible in a canoe unless you're an incredibly skilled paddler.
  • You have direct, immediate control of the boat - and you can learn to do amazing things just by tilting your hips, keeping your head positioned just so, angling your paddle a certain way, and so on.
  • It's an art as well as a sport - there's always more to learn, more to master, though you don't have to know too terribly much to just get out and get started. I think finesse is the word I'm looking for.
  • It's beautiful and peaceful.
  • You can roll! (or not - but it's technically possible!)
  • You can camp - you can pack quite a bit more in a kayak than you can in a backpack > more food > longer trips. Or just more comfy things!
The classes were great because they covered all sorts of stuff that's good to keep learning - safety stuff, planning group trips, learning rescues and rolls, playing with different kinds of boats. I did get to the point where I can roll - it ain't pretty nor consistent, but it was fun to get a few decent ones in. I wore my scuba mask, which was highly unattractive, but awesome because I could see and it kept water out of my eyes and nose. When you're repeatedly submerging yourself for an hour or two at a time, that starts to be signficant. The other great thing about the class is the kayaking community; it's great to get to know others who love the sport, who are free in sharing their expertise, who invite you on expeditions (and might even lend you a boat if you don't have one), and who invite you after every class to hang out for pizza and beer. What's not to love?!

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