Thursday, January 6, 2011


I usually handle things pretty well. I'm not a big panicker or one to lash out. I attribute this to being mostly mentally stable and prepared for outcomes. It's not just having a knowledge of what to do in situations, but also realizing the chance of it happening. So, for example, when I'm out on a trail and come upon a snake or take a hard fall, I just deal with it.

I like to get in a kayak or raft and go down the river. Of course, I've only ever done this with people I consider to be "experts" and trust to be able to take over when my skills are insufficient.

My friend was once teaching me to roll in a kayak in his pool (since learning, I actually haven't had a chance to test it out on the river. my last trip's runs were too advanced for me to try on my own, and we only had one kayak in the group, or were runs I had no danger of rolling.). As we were joking/flirting once, he pushed me out into the water and I flipped.

I immediately began panicking. I didn't have a paddle. It did not enter my head to pull the chicken strap. I didn't consider calming myself to a point where I could attempt to roll without a paddle. All thought was that I was stuck under water and I needed to get air.

I started using all my energy and air to claw my way up the side of the kayak, which is impossible and just silly with the spray skirt on. My friend realized after a while that I was not going to consider the chicken strap, so he jumped in, propelled himself to lift the kayak some to give me a moment of air, and then went under to find the strap and released me.

What is funny is that I knew how to help myself. I had numerous times, and without any thought, pulled the chicken strap after flipping in real rapids. I had repeatedly righted myself in the pool over the weeks. That was the time I panicked. That was the scariest time I ever had in a kayak. It wasn't trying out a fall. It wasn't getting stuck in a hole or caught in brush. It wasn't in a rapid of any kind.

It was at home.