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Old 04-16-2010   #31
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 75
A long time ago, I got invited to kayak The Grand. After a summer of Poudre and Ark boating, I was pretty confident. The whole scale is different in the canyon and it kind of freaked me out. I wasn't willing to talk and I couldn't spit due to nerves. After getting knocked over in House Rock and hitting a great roll, I decided that I'd adapt the philosophy that I'd taken the previous summer where I'd do a practice roll in just about every pool or deep eddy that I'd stop in. If it worked on the Poudre, it'd probably work in the canyon. In short, before every big drop in the canyon, I'd do a roll in the eddy. What happened for me was that I'd start the rapid with success and, as a side benefit, be used to the chilly water. This habit allowed me to focus entirely on what I was doing in the rapids. I still have this habit. Works great.

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Old 04-16-2010   #32
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 403
Originally Posted by swimteam101 View Post
Without the butterflies I wouldn't enjoy the 2 seconds of calm warm silence and peace I feel every time I peel out of the eddy above a scout worthy drop. It's the most peaceful part of my day. Bill
Quoted for truth

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Old 04-16-2010   #33
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
The butterflies are understandable. They probably occur or not depending on: familiarity with a run, conditioning, group, mood, etc. To never have them seems unlikely to me.

However, as far a kayaking goes, I am willing to look at a rapid as long as it takes for me to decide that I either know I can nail a line or decide that it is best left for another day. It is not a decision that I make rashly and I generally hope to run things rather than exert the energy to portage. To me, analyzing it further may reveal the vision and confidence needed. Even once decided to run something difficult I probably have the butterflies, but know that I have thoroughly analyzed expectations for executing plan A ... or B or C if things get derailed.

Even if I've run something 100 times, every rapid has to be respected in that moment each time. Everyday is a new day. If butterflies get stirred up revisiting a place that previously hasn't gone perfect, I think it is important to consider getting back on that horse, overcoming our fears and realizing broadened limits. However, definitely taking the wife and kids boating on something difficult for them adds to my anxiousness some. You want them to progress, but hopefully without getting hurt.

In general terms, I believe we either get busy living or get busy dying. Either get out and live life or live a mundane existance. I consider recreation all PLAY TIME to me. Even if it doesn't go perfect, I feel joy to have been doing it. With that spirit I find the butterflies are less common. "Life is a gas. Hope its gonna last."~ T-Rex
No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 04-16-2010   #34
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 60
Reading material

Someone had posted a link to a couple Doug Ammons articles. He has a great book named whitewater philosophy. Another great book that has several chapters relating to fear and confidence as it relates to adventure sports is Explorers of the Infinite by Maria Coffey. Anybody know any other titles they could add.

I think those butterflies are nice. Someone earlier had mentioned the clear calm feeling when peeling out of the eddy above a scoutable drop. Thats my favorite part of kayaking too. Everything in my mind dissolves away except for the task at hand for those few fleeting moments between the top of the drop and the bottom, right after you peel out. Man... I find myself driving a long ways for that 20 seconds of bliss....
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Old 04-16-2010   #35
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 123
I read most of this before I took the dog out for a walk (he comes with us and is the reason we bought a raft instead of a couple of duckies...not that I want to start another conversation about dogs on rafts!) anyway I had butterflies the entire walk thinking about 3 fords and gunny gorge. But as I was walking and thinking (and no, for those of you that know me, I didn't trip) I still get butterflies when I put in at Pumphouse, after 40 or 50 times down at all water levels, I still get 'em. and more so now that we have a 3 year old. Just to ease fears, he won't go during high water but loved the couple of times he went last fall.
As others have said...butterflies are beautiful
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Old 04-16-2010   #36
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
Scouting takes away the O fuc#k factor of river rafting ( adrenaline rush aka. butterflies ) . I was taught rafting by the follow me method . But I understand when you have loved ones around that is not possible and those butterflies are the worst kind, but are natural feelings also.
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Old 04-17-2010   #37
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
raymo is pretty damn close to my passion... running shit you havent scouted behind someone you trust and just going with the flow drop after drop... has got to be one of the sickest feelings ever. horizon line after horizon line that 2 seconds turns into the entire run. the smiles hoots and hollers never go away.
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Old 04-17-2010   #38
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Wow. Am I agreeing with cm?? I guess so. Raymo too.

And Alex - obviously not saying to run class V blind or take kids down stuff without scouting. You won't see me ever run as conservatively as when my kids are aboard. Well there was once with a full quadriplegic, that was a little nerve racking - even on our local day run.

To me one of the pinnacles of boating is your first time you run a drop. Whether you are following someone or boat scouting on your own, it is just such a rush to see it first from the water.

No time to consider the myriad ways to screw it up. Purity of focus on looking for the most moving water instead of looking for the rocks and holes. Or looking for slack water features to slow down in, play in, use for ferry - whatever. Love that feeling.

It's kind of like riding/skiing the trees in a way. You don't look for all the trees you might hit. You are looking for the white spaces in between. And trying to connect as many as possible.

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