Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-17-2010   #21
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
Magneto, you are not alone in your feelings. Remember death is as much a part of life , as life itself is. Young or old, friend or foe and loved ones leave one last message with their death. Give them the respect they deserve and do them one last favor by living a full life. So the next time you float past that spot on the river, remember you are giving her the respect she deserves by being happy and enjoying yourself on the river.

raymo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2010   #22
West By God, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 289
Time helps tremendously, but you will never forget it. For me, its been eleven years. I don't remember her face so much anymore, but I'll never forget the whites of her eyes, her eyeballs were rolled back in her head. She was gone. I'll never forget the bruising. It was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen. She was 14. 10-15 minutes under an undercut. We got a faint pulse, but we had to breathe for her through a plastic bag. I'll never forget her raft guide screaming at her to make it. She was taken of life support the next day.

It wasn't my company, I only helped carry her for a mile and a half down the railroad tracks. I was 19, and I commercially guided serious whitewater for a number of years thereafter. I still run several hundred miles of rivers every year as a private boater, but the innocence of the excitement of running rivers was lost that day. You will never be the same.

Paddle Iraq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2010   #23
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062

When I was a first year guide back in PA in 95 my TL told us that:

Year # 1 you don't know shit.
Year # 2 you start to fingure it out.
Year # 3 you think you have it all figured out.
And, something big will happen before you reach year # 10 that will change you forever. Then you start all over again.

My first season I was called in after running my trip to return to the river an aid in a body recovery. Paddling down that river in my kayak with the rest of the area guides to search the area was grim. No one spoke the whole paddle in. Searching the deep water looking for a body and not knowing if she would be looking back at me still reminds me that life can flip in the drop of a hat. The body of a 15 yr girl was pulled out the next morning while we were returning to paddle down during the daylight to search again. Again no one spoke.

Everyone deals differently. Just like we all size up fear in a different way. For some it's a gut feeling and for others it's faith, self belief or even maybe a bit of peer preasure.

I don't have an answer for you. But, some words I live by: "If you're going to fall down... fall forward." Respect the river she can give and she can take away. No one is lost forever if you keep them in your heart and soul.

I hope to see you on the river someday.
I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
Don is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2010   #24
Have paddled a Quest
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 102
Originally Posted by hojo View Post
It's good that you are engaging a form of peer counseling. This type of dialogue helps us all cope with accidents on the river and it's good you are sharing. You may also want to engage formal counseling as well. There is no shame in getting help from a medical professional.
I want to second that advice. Have you asked the owner of the company you work for if help is available?
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Marco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2010   #25
Blue Ridge Mtns, Virginia
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 16
This happened to me on 3/29/09, down my local III-IV roadside run. thrust into a horrific situation that i will never forget it took me the better part of a year to boat anything without thinking of him and the situation that took place, i looked at the rivers and creeks differently, i worried for others, i struggled to enjoy the activity that takes me away from all the crap of life and makes me feel most alive. With time the faces and sounds and details will blur and take the edge off the memories but you will never forget what happened. Take what you learned and pass it on to others, be the one that is an example to others, pass on the story, too many times those of us who were there shut up and keep it to ourselves and our groups. Learn river safety and pressure your friends to learn as well. You now have experience that most on the water do not have, do something with it. If nothing else you now know what can happen out there in a split second.
TrevarB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2010   #26
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7
Thank you all for your wise words and perspective. I really appreciate the support and sharing of stories that is going on here. It's hard to talk about because you don't want to be a downer, kill the buzz, etc, but it's good to hear from all of you. I know that what I'm feeling is completely normal, and I have learned a lot from this experience. Facing death is not something we necessarily get to do often, but I believe is good for the human soul to contemplate. However, it is also important to recognize the flip side, that every day we have breath in our lungs is a gift, something to be eternally grateful for. I thank you all again for sharing painful memories and life lessons, and I wish you many many years of safe and happy boating.

Magneto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2010   #27
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,911

There's a lot of good advice above. One thing to remember is that its perfectly natural to be shaken up - traumatized, actually - after an experience like you've had. Its not like in the movies where the hero casually goes on her way after dealing with a life and death situation. Like Marco, Hojo, and some others have suggested, this is the time for professional counseling if there ever was one. Check with your company about whether counseling is available. If not, a few hundred bucks is a small price to pay for the benefit of working with a therapist to come to terms with this experience.

Good luck working this out,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
Andy H. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2010   #28
Arvada, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 29
I was actually part of that training and was on the boat the day of the accident. Coming from my experience, you could only imagine how difficult it has been for me to move on, and I still haven't moved on completely 3 months later. I still am afraid to swim and am terrified of rocks that looked like the one she went over and got stuck on. However, I have accepted the fact that our sport is dangerous and death lurks at every corner, and with that I believe I have a better understanding of the river and have a lot more respect for it's power and beauty.

As far as how I moved on I'm not exactly sure. I accepted the fact that there was nothing that anyone could have done to prevent the death from happening and that it just happened and that there was nothing to do but move on. I have talked about it to family friends and I believe that has helped a ton. I would say talk about it, recount the whole trip, and go from there. It's very dangerous to keep it bottled up and tight lipped because that leads to bigger and worse problems.

Start with others who were on the trip with you that day, reach out to other guides who have experienced a death on the river, even talking to others who have experienced a death doing something else might help.
extremekevin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2010   #29
Hawkeye, Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 76
Thanks for sharing these negative experiences. It is really opening my eyes to the potential dangers. I really never even thought about the possibility of someone dying on one of our trips. Especially hearing how it can happen in calm parts etc. I am going to be doing a lot of reading on here and hopefully can learn enough about the river before we make our trip to Colorado. Best of luck in dealing with your personal tragedies
hawkiirock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2010   #30
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7
@Kevin-I know that what you have been thru/are going thru is 100 times harder than what I'm dealing with because you knew her, you were there, and undoubtedly took the same swim as she did. You are absolutely right there was nothing that any of us could have done differently to change the outcome--this was a freak accident. I look at that rock every time I'm on the water and still cannot figure out how it trapped her. It blows my mind. Anyway, I'm glad to hear you are healing as well. I hope everyone at your company is as well.

As an aside, someone sent me a private message mentioning a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming, said there was a lot of research and good results behind it. And that it doesn't take many sessions. Just throwing it out there for anyone affected by this (or any) type of post traumatic stress.

Again, thanks to all who have shared stories and/or advice. Even though you all are strangers, I feel it's easier to bring it up and talk it over than to bring it up again with those who were there. Perhaps the right time will come though. I never told my parents because I didn't want them to worry anymore then they already do (neither are paddlers or live in CO) but maybe someday I will reach for their support too.

This experience has taught me to be grateful for being alive, that even if I'm not feeling great or having a good day, just the feeling of being alive is something to appreciate and recognize as precious. It has also taught me to never stop paying attention, and to never stop learning from the river and my river running peers.

To healing, learning, and living each day to the fullest!

Magneto is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tragedy on Dry Meadow Smokey Carter Whitewater Kayaking 5 04-21-2009 10:14 AM
MONTANA TRAGEDY montanamusher Whitewater Kayaking 10 09-25-2008 10:29 PM
devastated to hear of the tragedy on the Fu hp1cart Whitewater Kayaking 2 05-15-2008 12:55 PM
tragedy in Glenwood Canyon cayo 2 Whitewater Kayaking 20 01-30-2008 07:02 PM
Tragedy in Vallecito?! mania Whitewater Kayaking 1 05-27-2006 08:46 PM

» Classified Ads
AT Geronimo Glass Paddle...

posted by MaxInTexas

AT Geronimo straight shaft paddle with 30 degree offset. ...

Fiberglass Slalom boat

posted by Krynn

Glass Slalom Boat. Great edges. Fast boat. Snapdragon...

Gear Sale

posted by tskoe23

Selling off a few things that I'm no longer using. 1....

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:37 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.