Another summer comes to an end.

So this year has been one amazing summer for sure. I was fortunate enough to head to North Carolina and be a part of some great trips around the south-east. Heading up to West Virginia is always a favourite of mine. The new river has just about everything you could want, and seeing the look on kids faces when they fire up some of the biggest way of trying to have ever head is priceless. The new river does have some consequences so if you are new to the new river be sure to go with someone who knows it well. Double Z is probably the most consequential rapid on the river and requires you to paddle from one side to the river to the other and then head back avoiding undercuts on the side. 
It’s always good to get on summertime green runs and the fact that I was able to finally get back to triple crowning after my shoulder surgery is just fantastic, it’s quite symbolic to be able to fire up the green and mean is it all the rehab has been successful. All paddlers will eventually have some kind of shoulder issues and to be able to have some surgery and get back on the green after surgery and be feeling as good as I do is quite significant. A big milestone. 
 
Now let me make sure to mention that there is quite a process to be able to paddle a green for the first time, it is a great reward for those looking to push their paddling and I always love taking new paddlers down the green. In the summer there always seems to be an influx of paddlers on the green, some style it and some paddle the green who are just not quite ready for their first time on this section of whitewater. It’s great to push your limits, but remember that safety is a big priority when it comes to whitewater so remember to consider the progression of working up to it as part of getting on the Green and paddling rivers such as Wilsons Creek, The Wataga, North fork of the French broad, West fork of the front broad, The Cheoah, The Talulah. Rivers that should be paddled before you think about getting on the Green. 
My time on the Main Salmon was quite fantastic and rewarding at the end of the summer. I have to admit that this river has become one of my favourites and being able to share it with so many young and excited paddlers was quite special. I can not talk enough about this place, the wave trains are just something else, it has spoilt me forever as it is just a fantastic section of whitewater. You have to paddle this section of whitewater if you get a chance. Actually, right now put it on your bucket list. If you are a paddler, you have to do the Main Salmon, you must, you should, you have to do it. If you like it big and juicy then make sure you do it around the 10,000 cfs level. You will not be disappointed. I managed to paddle the new Nirvana and it is one amazingly fast boat. A great bow that goes over everything, this boat is going to be one to watch. I predict it winning quite a few different comps all over. 
 
I had one amazing summer, this one has been one I wont forget. 
 
Here are a few more blogs from the kids trip 
Back together with old friends and new faces over the last few days have caused a swell of memories for me. A blend of the past and the future have created nostalgia and anticipation. The docile Idaho and wilderness has made has not make me feel alone because I am with a group of people that share a common interest with me. That is the beauty of paddling, it brings people together. As I said writing in this circle of chairs on the campground, I can’t help but feel that I am in gods house. This place is untouched and not tainted by the industrialism of modern society. It is as it has been for are you jealous, a free flowing river painted through a valley with its mountains on either side. I am in for when I see this landscape. It is a piece of art! The land is gods canvas with his paintbrush delicately and deliberately dripping his blue watercolour creating the main salmon. Each moment during this trip I feel as though I am finally looking back at memories. Is it possible to experience nostalgia before the trip is even over? I am at home but I still smell the yellow pine, see the massive waves before my eyes, hear the laughter in the circle of brothers, and feel the connection with nature but I actually am kayaking, laughing, hiking and experience thing these little moments that make this trip one of a kind. I am into places at once, I am having the time of my life and looking back on it.
Today marks the end of both an epic expedition and my time at Falling Creek as a camper. I have spent 11 summers in a row at Falling Creek, all of which were amazing. In those 11 years I have discovered my passion and matured remarkably. I started my time at camp as a crazy, wild child and ended it looking over the very same type of kids in cabin 1. I have been incredibly lucky and fortunate to be able to experience all that camp has to offer both in paddling and at camp. Camp gave me the opportunity to go on countless trips around the Southeast and 5 Huck expeditions, during which I pushed myself to be both a better paddler and person. 
 
Huck Idaho was the perfect expedition to be my last because it truly had it all. It was as remote as the Costa Rican rainforest, as exhilarating as flying over humongous 15+ foot waves in Ecuador, and as rewarding as hitting new tricks in Ottawa. However, it was an entirely unique experience for myself and everyone involved. Huck Idaho featured 94 miles of breathtaking views in the middle of nowhere on the Salmon river, 28.6 miles of paddling in one day (the most Falling Creek has ever done in one day), world class playboating features, and seemingly endless wave trains. With world class instruction from Jez and Claire, everyone improved their kayaking skills immensely. 
I am incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to experience the paddling program at Falling Creek. I would like to thank Jez for all he has done for myself and the other paddlers by building this program. He inspires us all and has introduced so many kids to kayaking.
 
Huck Idaho day three by Max R.
 
I woke to Claire shinning her head lamp in my eyes at about 4 in the morning even though my flight is at 7:30. Jez had told us we were on the first shuttle at 4 in the morning but none of us thought it would be this early. I lazily try and roll up my sleeping mat, freezing in my boxers, wishing I could get back into my sleeping back just for five more minutes. I stuff the mat and sleeping bag in my giant blue Patagonia bag. I had to sit on the top to get it to zip up. I haul the blue bag and my backpack to the van and sit with the bag on my lap. I didn’t have my phone so I decided to recollect on the trip. 
My favorite parts were the giant waves, big holes I just barely miss, and all the laughs shared between all my friends on our camp site. The waves were fun because me and My friend Austin de la tori made up a macho move off of a wave on an Antix which is the boat we were both using. The move is a stern stall off of a wave, then you go up another wave and get a lot of air. 
Almost missing a hole can be a dangerous thing. But for some reason I love doing it. You get a sudden burst of speed on the river and get splashed with a lot of water. I did this on about 20 holes on the river and enjoyed every time I did. 
After a long 26 mile day of paddling, most people would just want to go right to bed. But not our group. Right after we got out of our boats, people still had as much energy as they did right before a big rapid. We would have to set up camp and everyone would run to go help the raft guides unpack. I helped them because I wanted them to make dinner sooner, but hey I still helped. 
All around the trip was great. Full of laughs and big fun water. The only parts I didn’t like were the long parts of seemingly endless flat water. As I sit in the airport typing this, I only wish we could have just one more day on the beautiful salmon river. 
Rex
Today was sadly our last day on the Salmon. We all wanted to make the most of our last day on the water and amidst the aching pains running through our bodies from the previous 90 miles of kayaking, everyone was playboating their hearts out and throwing as many flatwater loops as they could. The day was filled with 13 more miles of smaller rapids and flatwater sections followed by a sick cliff jump of a rock about 20 to 30 feet tall. Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves and kayaking is the way we choose to express ourselves. Through kayaking we come to know ourselves better. Kayaking isn’t just about becoming one with the river but also being able to come one with yourself. Through this amazing journey I’m sure everyone was able to find a little piece of themselves that they’d been missing for a while because as a wise man once said; “Sometimes the only way to find yourself is to get lost in nature.”

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