So where have I been? My last blog post was in 2008, so what’s my excuse?
Well, I have been working for the government in Afghanistan for 10 months plus two winter non-paddling season in Canada. Unfortunately, the whitewater was scarce where I was, and I had no roof racks on my vehicle for boats!
Now that I’ve been back to work for a few months and the weather has warmed up, what a greater weekend to get back on the water than the “Come Hell or High Water” weekend on the Petawawa River. A group of die-hard paddlers in the Petawawa area arranged the first HOHW weekend last year, and participation this year rose from 30 to 200!! They were able to raise money for Whitewater Ontario and Soldier On; two very worthy causes.
I spent the day of the festival taking photos and recording video for a feature on the event, and enjoyed my first day back on the water by braving theUpper Petawawa River. You can read about my last excursion on this run here. Thinking back, perhaps choosing the Upper Pet as my “comeback” river was a bit ambitious, considering the 1 hour hike in, the technical big water creeky rapids, and the amount of flatwater in between, but hey, I always go big or go home!
As the morning after the festival, the turnout was incredible. Perhaps 30 paddlers made it to do the run on Sunday morning. The hike was just as I remembered, and even the games continued. One fun game to play on the hike, is to try to put rocks into someone else’s boat so they wonder why their boat is so heavy and realize once they get to the put in, there are 5 or 6 boulders in their kayak!
It really was just like riding a bike! I was really nervous, not even sure if I could remember how to roll after a year and a half, but I was excited and surprised to find I still had it and could navigate the rapids quite well.
Unfortunately though, as I had lost all those muscles that only appear after months of challenging whitewater, I began to get tired, and some of the rapids became harder as the day went on. I barely had any energy at the end and still had to get my butt back to Ottawa!