For me, getting as many new runs as possible makes the best season. I've traded quality for quantity over the years, and am finally finding a healthy balance. A few of my favorite times this season. Hard to rank them, but I'll number them for the hell of it.
1) Finishing a book.
2) Taking my 6 yr old daughter on Gates of Lodore for her first raft trip last week. I'm so grateful to the people that helped make it happen.
3) South Fork Salmon. Just Tina and I for 70 miles, big water cruising rapids, and pristine beaches. I watched Tina's confidence soar as she led the biggest rapids.
4) Double Trouble on the Big South. High side of optimal, and most of the boys were there that day, including the FC locals. Best line I could have ever hit. It's an amazing feeling to do something exactly how you imagined doing it. Best boof of the season for me. As far as pushing my personal limits, that was the moment.
5) Floating by the officer at the put-in to Cheeseman with 13 kayakers. Not getting arrested at the takeout.
6) Paddling Clear Creek on peak day. We put-in at Lawson Hole. We arrived in Golden WWP 4 hours and 10 minutes later, and I didn't portage. We passed lines of cars stuck in I-70s sunday traffic. When the five of us finally made it to dinner we had shots of whiskey as an appetizer.
7) First Falls, Bailey. I've had a couple seasons of no scout, no portage runs on Bailey now. Another personal challenge that can only be done on my local creek run. Just when you think you've mastered a drop, it crushes you. The first time I ran it this year I had a slightly sketchy back ender, but no roll. The second run, I back endered, spun while on end, and was slammed into the wall body first. I rolled up dazed and stunned.
Third run, Bailey, solo. I was in a hurry to make dinner plans with the Wigstons. At the boater's dream house a woman was hanging out in a bikini. Figured it was going to be a good day just based on that. Cleaned first falls, finally. Missed my first two eddies in Super Man, but recovered nicely. Come to think of it, Bear Creek with Joe was probably a better day.
9) Gore at 2700ish. Just Fred and I, the day after Cheeseman. Pyrite was HUGE.
10) Just a classic roadtrip. Three of us on the road with six boats for 10 days, and 3500 miles. We paddled in Idaho, Washington, BC, and Montana. I experienced Devils Club first hand while hiking out of a bear infested run, ran tons of class V, and paddled 9 new runs with old and new friends.
Keep the stories coming. See you all at Gorefest!