Flatwater Therapy

We all get injured once in awhile. Unfortunately recovering from an injury can be both painful and mentally challenging. I should know; I’ve had my share of injuries over the years.

So there I was on a beautiful sunny day in June, with the river running at an optimal level. There were five of us and 12 miles of awesome class V whitewater nestled in the heart of the Colorado’s alpine wilderness. Everything was perfect. That is, until I caught the edge of my kayak on a submerged rock and flipped. On my roll attempt, the inside of my elbow met a rock which pulled my arm out of its socket. And just like that, my whitewater kayaking season was over.

As I dragged my boat and gear with my one good arm up and over the hill, across the lake, and through 5 miles of thick forest, I wondered how quickly I would recover and how I would manage to salvage the kayak season. I mulled over that for weeks. The answer came after talking to my Orthopedic surgeon and Physical Therapist, realizing that my creeking season was over, but that I could eventually paddle easy water and make the best of my boating season that never was.

Earlier in the year I purchased a Jackson Rogue kayak with plans to self-support the popular and not so popular multi-day runs in and around the 4 corners area (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico). I chose the Rogue because I wanted a boat that would travel more efficiently and offer greater comfort than my creekboat, while offering better stability and maneuverability than a traditional touring/sea kayak. The Rogue seemed like the perfect combination of hull speed, comfort, and convenience for anything from an overnighter to a week-long self-support trip.

I’ve never been much for paddling mellow whitewater or flatwater. But, three months after the crash I packed up the Rogue and spent the weekend floating and camping along the Colorado River. I didn’t expect to enjoy a flatwater paddle so much, but the incredible scenery made up for the lack of rapids. It just felt great to be out paddling again. Physically I felt my shoulder get stronger, mentally my head was back where it needed to be – on the water. Finally, I started to feel like myself again and I was already planning my next trip.

Thanks to Jackson Kayak for making the most comfortable kayak I’ve ever had the pleasure to paddle. The Rogue enabled me to explore countless new multi-day sections of rivers while recovering from a shoulder injury, and ultimately helped salvage my 2012 kayak season. I can’t wait to take it out again on another river camping trip!

Comments on “Flatwater Therapy”

  1. Mick Castillo
    May 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Frenchy – I like your post! Hope your GC trip was a good one. Lost your number. Got a San Juan permit for this summer like we talked about. Pls give a call to discuss.

    Mick

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