Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
The weather is finally breaking and I recently got out for my first bout of kayak fishing. I took Jackson Kayak Coosa out on a private lake, outside of Farmville, and I have been anxious to get back out ever since. I currently have kayak, pfd, rod, tackle and a change of clothes in my truck at all times, just in case I can sneak in a quick mission. The obsession has begun and I'm ready to get after it.
After a long cold winter, it's important to get out there while the getting is good. This morning I went for a trail run before work, and I plan on fishing after I get off. As the days get longer, my psyche gets stronger, and the prospect of a two-sport day has me reminiscing about past multi-sport adventures.........
When my wife and I first started dating, we celebrated with a few multi-sport days in WV. I remember one of my fondest was a trail running, rock climbing and kayaking trifecta in the New River Gorge. I was the better rock climber and my wife the better kayaker with both of us being average trail runners. Some of the following photos are from that day, others, are from other, similar days.
On one particular occasion, after a quick trail run through the gorge, we headed out to a rock climbing crag called Bridge Buttress. Climbing affords me the rare opportunity to be the expert in my relationship. ;) As you all know, my wife is a far greater paddler.
After climbing a few routes we headed home, grabbed the kayaks and drove down to Fayette Station for my second time in a kayak.
I had paddled canoes off and on my whole life, but prior to our three sport day, had only sat in a kayak once and that was a week before.
On that day, Harriet, against her better judgement, acquiesced to my urgent desire to paddle on the New River. So we borrowed a friend's Wave Sport Kayak Big E-Z playboat, sprayskirt and AT paddle and went to do the Upper New. The Upper is much tamer than the Lower, consisting of 5 Class II Rapids and 1 Class III, called Surprise.
I survived that day with only one swim, in flat-water, caused by my own paddle stroke. It was a little embarrassing, but I loved the thrill of whitewater.
On the three sport day, Harriet agreed to take me to Fayette Station to work on my roll. After several attempts with only one successful roll, and some practice catching eddies, I decided to run Fayette Station ( American Whitewater lists it at Class IV, but that seems excessive). Once again, my wife relented to my overconfidence and reckless nature, and paddled safety for me. Truth be told, Fayette Station is pretty pedestrian, just big. My wife told me, "there are two holes, when the wave hits you, you hit it back with your paddle and drive through." No problem.
I hit the first hole, punched through and yelled "woohoo", just as the second wave hit and rolled me. I swam and my wife had to retrieve my boat. She still laughs about that.
We finished the day with mojitos and a bbq. That is what spring and summer represent for me. Multi-sport days. Going full tilt, from sun up to sun down. Exhausting myself with the satisfaction of recreation.
The winter can get tough. The days are shorter, the water is colder and it's easy to just settle into a fire and your couch. But when the weather makes that turn, you have to get out! Exercise the demons of those snowy, reclusive months. We only get one spin on this merry-go-round, you better make the most of it. Leave no regrets on the table for your aged ego to feed upon.
I have a lot of things on my recreation list for 2013; kayaking downtown RVA, kayak fishing the upper/middle James to my west, kayak fishing the salt to my east, running and climbing the mountains to my north, and hitting the surf to my south. These are just a few.
My wife thinks my lists are too audacious. I think our sunshine daydreams need to be big. I hope to see some of you out there, appeasing the wild inside, by reveling in the wilderness outside.
*here are a couple more sunshine photos from past adventures: