Monday, February 28, 2011

Mission: Fear understanding and pics from the top of the world.

Mission:  Fear understanding and pics from the top of the world.
Carly on top of the volcano.

I can’t help it but I am a teacher.  I have been teaching kayaking for the last 15 years and I love it.  Like most things in kayaking, not all, it makes little money but provides a lifestyle only some people can boast living.  Fear has always been present in teaching, from people learning, to my place in the sport, fear is alive and well.  Controlling that fear, containing the thought process of the flight or fight I have found, is the essential.  I have often found that if I can control the quality of my communication.  The quality of my self-communication rather, I can control the complex release of chemicals that produce the flight or fight response within my body.  
My friend, a guy I have paddled with for a long time, has a great roll.  He can roll for the most part every time.  He has a back up roll I call the Pallada, or extended roll that he uses as his back up incase the first roll fails him.  The problem is his self talk before the trip, during the rapid and after.  He finds demons where there are none.  He experiences an entirely different river trip than others without the same fear.  

My struggle has been how to control that.  Fear itself is the biggest explosion of chemicals your body can produce, it’s not something that you can just teach away or explain to yourself, “slow down” or relax too.  In my teaching time I have found, that the emotions that lead to the explosion of chemicals.  Such as fear, anxiety, alarm, are within your conscious thoughts and thus can be controlled to some extent.  The Delivery of this to a student unfortunately doesn’t have the same delivery for every person.  My friend for instance, I climb up on him about seeing monsters at every bend in the river, and he’s so transfixed by them that he does indeed find them.  I would like to say to everyone I have a way to solve that.  I really don’t.  I want his experience to be much like mine but I can’t make that happen.  Each one of us has to make the decision, each one of us has to say, “there are not monsters around the next bend”.  I can do this, I am in control of my own fear.  Easy to say as a teacher standing where I am, harder to accomplish when you are alone with your thoughts and a wild river in front of you.  

I took a crazy hike yesterday, some time away from the river.  Here are the photos.

Volcano Hike (from hell)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mission: People Noises and Patagonia

Mission:  People Noises and Patagonia

Huilo Huilo National Park.
I am sitting in the nicest hotel I have ever been in, or pretty close.  I am parked right in the heart of Patagonia Argentina.  This place is a pure, clean, friendly and amazing place.  Carly and I came up over the divide between Chile, and Argentina in a rented 4x4.  Green and lush at first, and into what looks like the arid dry landscape of Reno Nevada.  I was looking back at the trip for the second time with a fresh eye during my drive.  I was, and have always been a very lucky guy not for me but the people I collect around me.  The people on my trip were the kind of people you want on any trip. The only somewhat disturbing part of the trip was staying with Chuck my father in law.  Even being in the same building with him during his “morning constitution” was terrifying.  Something about the cheese I think.  It was kind of a horrible bonding experience I would wish on no son in law.  You never know what your relationship with your in-law’s is going to be like until you see each other out of their element.  Or worse, share a bathroom with them.  A better example was when, we came around the corner on the Trufel Trufel Rio and I saw the take out eddy above a heinous drop.   Super stressful day, hiked a person out with the guy who knew the run well and anyway,  I pointed move left with my paddle, and my hand.  Chuck just sauntered along smiling away….  I snapped at him, “get your ass over there”.  It was not my best moment; he scuttled toward the shore to my left. I am like everyone I want to be the cool headed guy in every situation, calm, collected, head on straight.  But sometimes the stress gets to you and you crack.   Its one of the reasons I am so happy with the people around me on this trip.  I learned a lot about myself under stress.  The people around me learned about me too I think.  I am like everyone else imperfect and fallible .  But with a little help from my friends I got to grow.  I got to become better and for that minus the noises from the bathroom I did get better and I did get to grow.   

Special thanks to:

Jackson Kayaks for Putting money toward my trip.
Level Six for supplying me my gear and clothing.
Core Paddles for supplying me with my Amazing new paddle. (father in law too)
Salus for my PFD and Rescue Gear
Smith Optics for my eyes.

LT to right.  Chuck, Billy, Christo, Marie-Eve and a bit of Sandra.

David Owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel in his "Quincho"

Christo Greyling Huilo Huilo

Running the first drop on Upper Palguin (me) Billy

Lenny in the Cattle Truck, just smiling away as usual.

Wayne and Leah, Upper Palguin Run Last day.

The Indispensable Kurt Casey and the Dispensable Sandra the pain in my ass...

Another Fuy Valley Photo. 

Louis being Louis....

Thanks To Everyone. Billy Harris


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mission: Scared, Happy, Sad TRIP OVER.

Mission: Scared, Happy, Sad TRIP OVER.
Kurt Casey at Huilo Huilo falls hike day

Any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a dam thing at all. “k’naan”

It was a great trip for me.  Not just cause our guide Kurt was the fountain of knowledge brillian at every turn, but because of the group. Chuck, my father in law surprising me with his whit and humor, and in so many other ways on the water.  Wayne and Leah solid paddlers, and their own personal team that blended seamlessly with everyone else.  The trip PiƱata, Sandra, sticking in there for the duration, and getting all kinds of flack from me off the river.  Louis a consummate pain in the ass, kept me on schedule and on the program. Every day he would keep the everyone in the group accountable for giving it all they got everyday.   A pain a gift.   Christo, who came on the trip found peace on a big waterfall run, as well as experienced a bit of what his son has come to know as every day life.   Lenny, was just lenny.  Perfectly timed retorts, surprisingly playful demeanor and just the kind of person you want at the end of a rope when the Crap hits the fan.  As for me it was a tough trip in a way.  I find my accountability for a persons experience to be a great weight for me to bear.  Not just in terms of skill vs river.  Any one can figure out what class a trip to run.  I was responsible for finding a balance between pushing and hurting.  Not just the body but the mind.  I found that this is a balance that I can find, a weight that I now know that I can bear.  Made easy with a little help from my friends.

Pictures speak now.  Happy travels  Happy times.
it took 3 hrs to get a pizza here.

Louis, now known as "Swami Sahib"  Check out the budgie smuggler up front!!!!

Waiting for a Sockeye to run..  turns out the frenchy took the dip

Wayne, steady handed throughout the trip. 

Looking back upstream on the upper fuy.  half way.

Kurt, being crazy......  usual.

french canadian boob grab, with scream

french vs english.  don't mess with Princess Leah.......  pipes!

The B-Team

Hot springs day. 

Christo grabbin the Chuck for a cool falls drop at the hotsprings.

Cookin at the springs.

Frenchy.  being french.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Mission: Upper Palguin, fear and consequence

Mission:  Upper Palguin

This Run has scared me for quite some time.   I am not worried about me, but my people.  I have to manage the skills, the desire and the safety.  All things that I find easy to do on a river I know.  But I had not got to run the Palguin before the trip.  I had to trust the word of my Friends, Dave Hughes and Kurt Casey.  I trust them, but perspective has a fickle eye.  We pulled out at 9am for the top of the river and put in on the land bridge.  The Run was “SPORTY”.  That’s my word for tough.  It took them all to the brink.  We didn’t have any swims, we had 3 popped skirts however all paddled to shore.  I am going to let the photos do the talking but hat’s off to Christo for moving from B team to K team and doing it in style.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mission: Loosing is often winning, the rescue And PG 13 required!

Mission: Loosing is often winning, the rescue And PG 13 required.
Princess Leah, stompin it.
Christo, "Logan Greyling" Dad Showing why Logan is the way he is... NUTS...... and yes they are clones.....

Lenny always quiet, always funny.

Christo sporting some Tribe. on a waterfall scout
As a kayak intructor one might think that students getting their butts served to them on a silver platter cordially offered by yours truly would be a bad thing but it was a perfect day.  I remember looking up the river at a series of 25 footers, 10, 8’s, 16’s and more thinking these guys have their hands full today and they did and they  didn’t.  Wayne, Louis, Leah were running the very edge of what they could do and did most of it in style.  We have been going hard, maybe too hard the last 5 days running rivers pretty constantly.  Louis from CDB was the first to break, he broke his paddle at the bigger drop, managed to roll up, Wayne decided to have a creek-boat rodeo in a small but powerful little hole.  As usual looking back upstream at the girl or even the cascading montage of crystal blue water and its raw power.  Leah took a swim about 3 more drops down in a powerful river wide ledge only a big set of arms could propel you over with. Exhausted she carried on, the next rapid Louis turn.  Louis got dragged into boulder hell at high speed and was forced to pull the pin just above another 16 footer.  The bag found its mark and pendulumed him in just above the next falls and his boat tore down stream and got caught in a sive thankfully on the immediate right, within our reach and on our side of the river.  Louis safe and sound, Leah broke out after me hit her boof early and ended up in the curtain of the 16 footer.  Her boat is still behind the curtain as I type this and actually I have to go back and get it right now…… TBC.
Boat helm maybe?  we fit.  look for the Frenchman.

Ok, I could only take a couple people so as not to make a gong show at the waterfall.  I got Christo(ropes), Lenny(power), Kurt(river sage), and the Frenchman all down to the waterfall.  Christo set up the ropes with Lenny, Louis and Kurt sorted out the Inflatable and the plan was to go on line paddle me into the waterfall curtain at its weak spot and pull the boat out of the curtain Kurt on power me on the bow grab at the front of the raft.. 

Kurt Casey Watching my ass. During the Boat recovery.

We couldn’t see the kayak but it was there and we all knew it.  Kurt while scampering about found a little hole behind the waterfall and peered in.   He called me over and said, “ you can get in there”.  I managed to crawl through it Kurt holding me via rope, just between the curtain into the room behind the drop.  I Crawled about 20 feet Kurt feeding me line just in case the Curtain caught me.  I came around the bend just out of sight and there was the boat.  I cracked out our preplan whistle and the boys hauled it out and we were back in Business.

Thermal Springs...  they went forever.

I took a shot of the rescue team all mooning the camera that was in the back of leah’s boat and left it on her camera.  I would show you, but someone, not naming names (starts with chris and ends with toe) might have mooned a bit too much rear end for the interweb to be seeing…….  Happy times, good beer great company and fantastic paddling. 

Havin a mission
EDITED FOR PG13 eyes ONly.