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Old 04-16-2010   #11
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
For me the butterflies have adapted over time. At first it was in any current. Now they show up for class IV-V. It's just a matter of getting more comfortable with water.

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Old 04-16-2010   #12
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
When you stop getting butterflies- that's when you should worry. That feeling after the fact of wondering what the big deal was is normal too. If you hadn't been nervous before the rapid, you might not have been on your game and then the afterthought would be, "why wasn't I paying more attention? I could've avoided that hole/sleeper/flipper wave, etc."

I've been boating about as long as you have, and I always get butterflies, even at high water on my town run that I've done a million times (literally). A healthy respect for the water can be your best friend out there.

And I agree, having my son in the boat raises that awareness exponentially.

"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 04-16-2010   #13
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 175
Its always good to get some butterflies when you're running bigger rapids - lets you know that you're taking it serisokly. also whenever you scout, you should bring a water bottle along because your mouth may get a little dry, and also to wash out the taste of vomit after you puke a couple of times....
I'll boat til the rivers run dry
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Old 04-16-2010   #14
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I always have butterflies when paddling anything I consider to be at my skill level. Before and during. I'm a nervous boater. I try to keep it to myself on the river. You can tell when I'm nervous because I don't say shit.

One of the things that makes me most nervous is people who over-analyze a rapid during a scout. None of the guys I regularly paddle with do that. It is pointless and if it is a scary rapid it drives me insane with anxiety.
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Old 04-16-2010   #15
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 49
I agree, I think everyone gets nervous before a big trip, on rapid days, and when scouting. You always hear people say that you shouldn’t run a rapid you can’t spit in when looking at it. If that were the case I would never run anything. My mouth is always dry before big rapids, but (luckily) my nerves do not dictate my ability.

There will always be nerves on the river. I think it is bad when you go into big rapids without consideration of the consequences.
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Old 04-16-2010   #16
GWS, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 133
I love butterflies. Not only are they beautiful, but they keep you honest. I'll probably get some butterflies today.
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Old 04-16-2010   #17
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
Not too many butterflies anymore. The Selway gets me going a bit though.

Funny what gets to you. I looked at Granite at 25K and wanted a heli ride out of the canyon. Of course I got to watch a good kayaker get violently retendoed for a while before getting a completely airborn ejection from the hole. She didn't swim but it added to the gnar factor.

Looked at Lava and saw the line immediately ( cheese grater side looked ugly we all ran left of the ledge hole into the "mushroom" wave), ran first and nailed it. Not nervous at all.

Oh yeah, I hate to scout. I would shoot nails into my foot than go scout. Read and run baby. Then you don't have time to think about it.
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Old 04-16-2010   #18
Toni's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 169
Originally Posted by Ture View Post
One of the things that makes me most nervous is people who over-analyze a rapid during a scout. None of the guys I regularly paddle with do that. It is pointless and if it is a scary rapid it drives me insane with anxiety.
That is so true. After scouting a variety of rapids with a variety of people, I realized I'm better off looking alone or only with the "reasonably minded" boaters I'm with. I'd end up second guessing my lines, my confidence would tank and the "insane anxiety" would take over.

As far as the butterflies go, I know they'll always be there so I try to do what I tell my son...imagine the little beauties in formation and focus on that energy.
Toni Frank
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Old 04-16-2010   #19
Fallingup's Avatar
Summit County, and Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 261
I agree, that when the butterflies go away, you have a problem! Im at work and wishing I had butterflies right now!
~Happy Friday everyone~
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Old 04-16-2010   #20
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
I don't subscribe to the philosophy of skipping a scout or trying to rush a scout because of nerves. I definitely agree that having someone tell you "enter left and boof right" can be a lot less chilling on the nerves than doing a scout and that scouting for too long can leave you nervous and cold, but that's exactly the reason you should do it.

A valuable skill in kayaking is learning to deal with the fear response in a positive rather than negative way. Part of dealing with that response is practice. Oftentimes it's important to thoroughly scout and analyze a rapid. If you've just had your buddy route you through everything with no scouts your entire kayaking career and suddenly you're in the middle of some gorge on a river you've never run before, looking at the crux rapid, I'll bet you agree some early scouting and experience dealing with the fear response would have been valuable.

I can think of a number of disastrous runs as a neophyte that I had the skills to run but I psyched myself out for. I read somewhere that tests have showed a decrease in physical coordination when somebody is scared. Anyway, over the years I've learned to deal with the fear better. I'm still not a model citizen, but I'm getting better at it.

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