It is ironic that in Golden, where I live, the advent of paddling season is marked by the closure of Clear Creek, which bisects the town from west to east. Sometime near the end of June, whenever snowmelt has caused water levels to rise to 1,000cfs or so (cubic feet per second—picture, if you stood at any given point on the banks of the narrow creek, a thousand basketballs streaming past you each second), the Sheriff restricts the section of the creek that runs through Golden. Depending on your vessel (kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and multi-chambered boats are still allowed; tubes and the odd inflatable mattress are nixed), you enter the creek only at your own risk. Continue reading “It’s paddling season again”
It’s an uncharacteristically rainy May afternoon in Colorado, and I’m gasping for breath in the deep end of the Evergreen Rec Center pool.
What the hell am I doing here? I wonder, but I don’t have much time to rethink my life choices.
“Again!” the head boatman cries, and I do my best to hoist my slippery carcass onto the upside-down raft for what feels like the hundredth time. I wedge the t-grip of my paddle into one of the boat’s self-bailing holes, shakily rise to my feet, and flip the beast onto its back.
It is my first day of raft guide training, and right now, I’m pretty sure it will be my last.
I like to think of the great explorers of our age whenever I’m out in the wilderness. I’m certainly a weenie compared to Teddy Roosevelt, but his adventures are perhaps the most inspiring to me. After sorely losing the 1912 presidential election, Roosevelt, his son Kermit, a Brazilian Colonel, and a troop of assorted adventurers set out to chart the River of Doubt, a tributary of the Amazon flanked on all sides by dangerous flora and fauna and choked with impassable rapids. Roosevelt nearly lost his life, and the story of his expedition to the River of Doubt is one that will render your most gut-wrenching outing completely moot. You could argue that Roosevelt was the last great all-around adventurer of our time, and you might very well be right. Adventurers today aren’t nearly so versatile.