Paddling with New River Academy has completely redefined how I think about river running. My worries are no longer my own, photos are a last thought, and rapids are no longer a way to express my skill but a way to demonstrate a technique or a venue for students to express their skill. I come last now. I am always sweeping, with the pin kit, first aid kit, and break down paddle neatly tucked away in my stern. It is a rare day that I get to pop out and take some photos. This is how I imagine it is to have kids. It is no longer for you, it is for them, what they want, but you are there to help guide them for what you believe to be what is best for them. You fight with them, you love them, you lose your logic, you lose your temper, you learn from them. I wish I could understand them. It is an endless cycle of mistakes and recoveries, learning what a teenager thinks is "fair", which apparently is different for each of them, but we have to figure out what rules apply to everyone.
Head Coach Craig Kleckner showing a different line down the Watauga.
Hunt "styling stouts with authority".
The biggest lesson this year? Don't take things so seriously. Nobody is dead or pregnant, and the sun is going to rise in the east and settle in the west, and we are going kayaking.