Diane Gaydos 13/11/2018 | Posted in Creeking, Internationalisation, Nirvana, rivers, Trip Reports, Trips, United States, Whitewater, WW Disciplines
To some, a summer without work sounds normal. To others, a summer without work sounds impossible. To me, it was the light at the end of a long and dark tunnel.
Whitewater kayaking has always been my passion, but never been my career. A few people are fortunate enough for their hobby to be both. However, the majority of kayakers are like me; working professionals by day and kayakers on weekends and days off.
My off-water career has been a long journey. I currently am working as an emergency medicine physician. After high school I spent 4 years completing my undergraduate degree, 4 years completing my medical degree, 3 years of residency training, and 1 year of fellowship training. 12 years later I’m finally ready to start my career. For those without personal experience, medical school and residency training is a long grueling process where you are generally overworked and underpaid for 8 years straight or more. As you can imagine, I was very excited to be done with this part of my life this past June.
My fellowship finished at the end of June, and my first job didn’t start until August. What would I do with an entire summer off? Go kayaking of course! The problem was that my husband Daniel, who I’d neglected more than I’d like to admit during these past years still had to work. He decided to solve that problem for me by quitting his job. And just like that, we were on a summer road trip!
We started in Knoxville, TN and quickly made our way across the non-whitewater states. In order to save time, we even camped in a random cornfield one night. Our first real stop was in Colorado, where we kayaked the Poudre, the Arkansas, and went for a mountain bike ride at our campsite. Next, we went to Salt Lake City, where we spent several days hiking and exploring the mountains with good friends that had moved there.
After Salt Lake City, it was time to head further west. We were on a schedule to get to Portland, where Daniel’s cousin was getting married. On the way, we paddled the Snake River in Idaho. After several days with Daniel’s family in Portland, we started heading north towards Seattle, where my sister lives. On the way, we paddled several sections of the White Salmon River, the Ohanapecosh, the Wenatchee, Cooper Creek, and the Skykomish, and also explored Mt. Rainier.
We then met up with my sister and mom in Seattle, and we all drove up to the North Cascades for a four day hiking trip. We went on some beautiful hikes mixed with swimming in rivers and a little biking. At that point, we said goodbye to my family, kayaked the Cascade River and the North Nooksack, and then crossed the border to Canada.
Daniel and I had already paddled in western BC on a different trip, so we headed to eastern BC and went straight to Revelstoke. We stayed in this area for several days and paddled St. Leon, Pingston River, Wilson Creek, Upper Perry, and the Jordan River. We also crammed in some mountain biking and briefly explored Revelstoke National Park.
Next, we continued to drive east towards Banff and Jasper National Parks. On the way, we paddled multiple sections of the Kicking Horse River, the Horsethief, and Lower Astoria. We spent several days exploring the beautiful Banff and Jasper and also paddled the Fraser, the Canoe River, Maligne Canyon, Upper Bow River, Mistaya Canyon, and the Kananaskis, and also several mountain bike trails.
Sadly, at this point it was time to head home. We drove to Calgary, where I flew home to get back to work, and Daniel continued the rest of the drive solo. Overall, our trip lasted 5 weeks and we paddled over 40 sections of whitewater that neither Daniel nor I had ever paddled before. We visited many beautiful areas, made countless new friends, and hiked/biked/and paddled to our hearts content. I do not know when we’ll next be able to get a summer without work, but this was certainly a summer to remember! I hope everyone gets and makes the opportunity to get some quality kayaking and exploring time in this year!
~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)