Love many, trust few, and paddle your own canoe.
“You have to sign this release and watch the safety video, and then will be on our way, and make sure you check the box that says ‘no guide’.” I looked at my friend Greg, and said ‘No guide?’ and he said ‘Yep, no guide.’ I wasn’t so sure. I probably needed a guide, and extra time with that safety video, if I’m being honest.
I always feel apprehension and anxiety before any new adventure because let’s be honest, I’m not the most graceful person in the world. There’s always the chance that the boat I’m in will capsize, the equipment I’m using will malfunction, or I’ll trip, fall, and break something. Usually once I get started, I’m fine, but those moments before, I’m a giant scared-y cat.
I took some solace in the fact that the Nantahala is one of the easier whitewater rivers to raft in the eastern US. It’s great for beginners [like me!]. The run is 8 miles of Class II rapids with one tiny little bit of Class III rapids right at the end.
The water was fast and mostly flat. I am not a good front boat paddler. I’d probably be a worse rear paddler. I got yelled at several times… “paddle harder, paddle harder”. I paddled harder; I paddled my little heart out. I don’t think anything I did mattered. We made it 8 miles down the river without anyone falling out.
I suck at paddling a raft. I’m decent in a kayak, but rafting, I completely suck. But every adventure isn’t always about experiencing the biggest adrenaline rush or taking it to the edge. I don’t have to be the best at everything or have the greatest story to tell. Sometimes doing something I’ve never done before allows me to challenge myself. It allows me to let go a fear… Fear that plagues everyone at some point in life. Sometimes it allow me a chance to be humble and reconnect with my inner self.
Life isn’t always a contest.