I hadn't been out on the river since paddling the Penobscot the previous Sunday, so I was going paddling Friday, no matter what. In the morning, I did a dump run in West Forks. On my way back through town I saw a paddling buddy with his boat on his truck. "Yup, let's go boating." We immediately headed for Carry Brook to set up shuttle. I quickly changed into my paddling gear in the rain and we headed up to Harris. I like the rain. For some reason, people like to be lazy in the rain. Not me. Rainy days are a great time to gain ground on all those things you've been meaning to do. On Friday, that was paddling. I'm still running my old Wave Sport X. It's a fine boat. Long, fast, easy to roll ... and I own it. I probably wouldn't even be tempted to buy a new one, if I wasn't confronted with so many paddlers pulling off crazy moves in small boats every time I go paddling on a weekend. Nevertheless, I still haven't invested in a new kayak, so it's the X for the time being. Now, on sunny days, I enjoy entertaining the notion that as I am kayaking I am playing in the flux of two worlds: the underwater world and the air world. At the beginning of every river trip, I like to go upside down to feel the current against my face, in the quiet, dense underwater world. This is a far cry from the sights, sounds and wind in the world above. Two totally different realities.
It's wonderful how you can travel from one world to the other just by flipping over or rolling up. This is one of my favorite things about kayaking.
However, when it's raining like it was on Friday, the two realities don't seem as foreign. The rain was literally pouring out of the sky. If you were outside, you were
soaked. There was rain, man.
I think a good thing to keep in mind while learning to kayak is if you're spending time on the river worrying about whether or not you're going to get flipped over, you are working against yourself. You could be using that brainpower and energy to kayak better. Somehow, rainy days always given me a boost toward a head free of worrying about getting worked. Getting worked by the river doesn't seem as bad when you're also getting worked by the sky.
With that in mind, I tend to paddle with a bit more curiosity and go-get-'um on rainy days.
So Friday morning we had a fantastic river trip. We had one raft pass us at the Marina (eddy river right above Big Mamma rapid) and didn't see another soul in our three-hour trip. There's another good thing about rainy day paddling ... no people.
Later that night (still raining), I worked on another rainy day project: I re-did all the foam in my old X. I removed the foam blocks that push the boat out to its full exterior, and following advice from an accomplished squirter, I shaved a couple inches off the foam in hopes of making the boat a bit more slicier. After re-attaching the foam, I also finally fixed my back band straps which had been badly twisted. In all, it was an excellent rainy day for me and my kayak. I may be in the market for a new boat, but I am definitely not ready to give up this one. Let it rain. -Nick
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