February 1, 2006
A few days ago, Andy took me down the Upper Rio Tena in a Topo Duo. Experiencing class 4 rapids from the front seat of a two person whitewater kayak was nothing short of exhilerating, if not a bit scary at times. To have a successful run, I had to trust him completely to shout commands at me (no time to ask nicely!) as necessary, as well as trust his judgement as he guided the huge craft downstream, weaving through boulders, snaking around tight turns. It was awesome! I think he pulled it off with more finesse than most people would think possible in a boat of its size, on such a technical little river.
Overall, besides being beautiful and peaceful, the experience greatly influenced my solo kayaking abilities, as I got to experience firsthand what class 4 rapids feel like in the seat of a kayak. I think it could have gone either way, either scaring the crap out of me or making me more keen to run rivers just like that one. Thankfully, it did the latter, and I am now more confident and excited when I am in my own boat, and more eager to be a better kayaker.