At first I just really liked kayaking. We hung out a lot one summer, and it was great but I really didn’t see it going any further than that. I mean, it was just bad timing. I had school that fall and wouldn’t have been able to see my kayak anyway. Sure I missed it, but that’s life. By the winter, I hardly thought about kayaking at all. The next summer I got a job rafting and was happy. Rafting and I never got much time to ourselves, but I had a roof over my head. I thought I wanted the stability. Sure, I missed all the traveling and adventures I had with kayaking, but people change. I had a life with rafting. Even my friends liked rafting. None of them had ever even gone kayaking. They said it was too crazy and were glad that I didn’t do it any more.
Behind the scenes though, rafting and I began to grow apart. For a while I tried to make it work. We went down some new rivers, I even learned to row instead of just paddling all time. It went on like that for a while, and then one afternoon, that one crazy afternoon…I ran into my old kayak. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time, but somehow the kayak was just the way I remembered it. A little scratched up maybe, but it had gotten those scratches doing rock spins with me. I never showed up for my rafting trip that afternoon. By the time anybody noticed, I was already floating down another river in my kayak, a river too steep and rocky for a raft to ever go down. I made three runs with my kayak that afternoon and then camped out right on the river bank. For the first time in a while, I felt alive again.
I knew then, that I loved kayaking. All that happened years ago, and much of what has happened since is a blur. In that time, my kayak and I have traveled from Alaska to the Carolinas. its been the kind of life I always dreamed of, the kind of life I could only have with kayaking. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I still do work with rafts, but its strictly professional. All my free time goes to my kayak now. I don’t know what my future might be, but as long a kayaking is a part of it, I’m excited about the possibilities.