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Old 07-20-2009   #11
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 127
I had this conversation with my Wife yesterday while floating the Ark. She's anxious to get the kids on the water (age 4 and 6), and I'm just anxious. While I'd love get them on the water this year, I want to wait until they can swim a little better. I also need a little bit bigger boat..

Ya know what scares me? If anything happened to them I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

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Old 07-20-2009   #12
NolsGuy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 109
Originally Posted by kevdog View Post
I had this conversation with my Wife yesterday while floating the Ark. She's anxious to get the kids on the water (age 4 and 6), and I'm just anxious. While I'd love get them on the water this year, I want to wait until they can swim a little better. I also need a little bit bigger boat..

Ya know what scares me? If anything happened to them I wouldn't be able to live with myself.
I'm not sure what boat you have, but I was taking my kids from age two on down the Upper CO from Pumphouse to Rancho...there's some fun water, nothing to difficult, and some fun places to camp.

Have fun!


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Old 07-20-2009   #13
paulie's Avatar
Rotorua, NZ
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 165
This question always seems to come up on the heels of tragedy and rightly so.
I cannot speak as a family man as I do not have a wife and children to go home to, someday maybe, but I sure as hell do not want to leave those that I love dearly brokenhearted and aching.
But is it worth it? I think so, the river is the most amazing place on earth no matter where it is, the experience is unmatched and nothing else comes close.
A friend of mine and myself were talking last year after running a heavily trafficked class V run when we started talking about our friend who had died kayaking a couple years ago. We asked, would he still want us paddling the hard stuff? We paused and thought about it, and the answer was a unanimous HELL YEAH.
I think that those who we have lost to the river want us to keep paddling, keep pushing ourselves and getting after it, they did not get the chance, so it is our duty to fire it up even harder. I know my opinion may change over time as my life evolves, but until then I will paddle even harder and have as much fun as I can while I am out there.
My deepest sympathies to those who have lost their loved ones now and times past, but as those of us left behind we need to keep charging and live the lives we are so fortunate to experience
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Old 07-20-2009   #14
Mt Hood, Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
The game does change. The great thing is, that's not bad. Kids change how we do lots of things. Just one step in our adulthood

Our kids have been on the water since they were 2 (now 15 and 12). We choose our boating partners, rivers, trips and flows carefully. We would rather have our kids being kids on the San Juan for a week than too scared because of a big swim or flip to ever go again. Frankly, the same holds for me.

They will have lots of time to do BIG water and take more risks after gleaning decision making skills from us and those who are wise on the water. Whether self rescue skills are critical to those decisions....accidents happen. Self rescue will help but may not make a difference.

We want to have our kids love the river as much as we do. Its far better to boat as a family (yes even with teens) than to not know what they are doing or thinking. Having a respect for the water, canyons, and other boaters is what is important.

Its ok to say, class IIIs and IIs are exciting. We want to boat for a really long time, we want to be relaxed and have a great time, we want to be with our kids and want them to be with us.

Our kids can decide what's cool later on. Right now we are "cool" and our kids are already planning our next year's trip down the San Juan and Deso. I think that's what is important.

Having just gotten off the San Juan over Solstice and seeing 10 kids (ages 9-15) in IKs and paddling the rafts, packing boats, setting camp, scouting "rapids", was wonderful. They saw us being kids also. They shared the river with us, talked with us, and we let them be kids.

Better than stressed about the swim or flip.
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Old 07-20-2009   #15
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
I'm starting to think it's not worth it for me anymore. Between having two small kids and starting my own business, I didn't have time to get in Class V shape this year and haven't even touched my creekboat. I spent this whole season trying to learn how to cartwheel (finally), playboating the Ark at high water (which I have always missed because I was always chasing micro creeks around the state) and shredding with my wife. I definitely had more fun doing that than I would have had creekboating. For me the appeal of kayaking has always been about pushing my limits and running something new. Well, now that I'm at the point that pushing my limits means pushing them into areas with deadly consequences, I'm not too interested in it anymore, especially with two small kids. And taking a step back and running my old Class V runs while walking the tough drops that I used to run just doesn't excite me. Luckily for me, there are all kinds of ways to enjoy the river that I haven't tried yet and ways that I can enjoy it with my kids. The Gorge at 4G's is a playboat an absolute low-stress blast. Taking your 9 mo old in a raft and your 2 yr old in a shredder down filter plant for their first river trip is a blast. And I'm looking forward to learning how to raft.

I came to the same point with skiing a year or so ago. I was at the point where pushing my limits simply meant going bigger and faster. That's fine if you live in Utah or Whistler, but in Colorado snowpack, that simply adds up to more and more pain. So now I'm teleing, and pushing myself on runs that I use to staightline on alpines and having a great time doing it.
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Old 07-20-2009   #16
GAtoCSU's Avatar
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 696
Originally Posted by doublet View Post

Derk's accident is heart-breaking and terrible but we need to remember it was an accident. That drop was WELL within his skillset and it was just some terrible luck.

We lost Daniel DeLaVergne, Charlie Beavers, Russell Kelly, Damon Miller and tons of other talented, bold kayakers to non-kayaking accidents. Accidents happen on the river and they also happen elsewhere.
I have to agree here. I started kayaking with my father at the age of 12. It's a sport like no other, and it has shaped me into who I have become today.
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Old 07-20-2009   #17
Oak Creek, CO (noon bell, bitches), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 83
My fiance and I had this same conversation on Saturday night. We hiked into King Solomon Falls in north routt and witnessed a young woman (unknown to us) make the decisions that lead to her ultimately jumping a 65 foot cliff into the pool below. All the decisions we witnessed, our and her friends shouts and hand signals to not jump and then the jump... ending in a back flop into a 40 foot deep pool where our brave and amazing friend pulled her from, into the hands of two EMT trained onlookers (the luck!) and we wait to hear some public news of her status. It took 22 people and 4 hours to get her out of the ravene on a back board. I heard yesterday that her Dad is a member of S&R (don't know that for sure).
That night we talked about how that girl's life will change forever after her choice. We talked about unnecessary risks and our love of river-running, the pact that we made while we had our long distance relationship to drive the speed limit the 500 miles between us... having kids, getting older, realizing the risks... it is all so present when you live the good life. I feel lucky that we see eye to eye on our lifestyles (even though I saw him consider that cliff jump in the back of his mind before this girl ever stepped up, mouthing "NO" from across the pool at the same moment).

Finally, DoubleT, Charlie Beavers was one of my best friends for many years growing up. He was a trip. Charlie wore a dress at our 8th grade graduation- red f-ing polka dot. miss him often as the years pass. RIP all good people who have passed before us. Be safe and sound in all facets of your lives. Big love.
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Old 07-20-2009   #18
Mt Hood, Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
Priorities change how we do the things we love and who we love.
With young children skiing is about runny noses and snacks and missing the steeps and deeps. As the kids get older, skiing all day returns, just different. I still ski in goggles that need to be replaced.

Understanding selflessness is key. You are their world and they need to be yours.

Finding balance is the call. Talking with your spouse as you float all day is wonderful, having kids fall asleep on your lap on the raft is amazing, getting away from your daily life is important.

However, it is not necessarily easier. Being exhausted is ok and it gets less tiring. It is alot of work to take kids skiing and rafting and hiking and biking. Start slow. Two hours on a raft for a little one is plenty. Flat water is OK. Paved trails acceptable. IT is not your exercise time or adrenaline rush here. Lots of snacks and books help!!

Finding what both you and your spouse enjoy doing together is key and then how you can enjoy sharing that with your children.

kindness to yourself
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Old 07-20-2009   #19
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
Here I sit with a decent skillset but a screwed up head. We just had a baby the day before I decided to go run Esca this year. That was me upside down in the gorge and it hasn't gotten any easier since...

Now I get a feeling of relief when I stomp a big one, not exhilaration. That my friends is NOT WORTH IT.

I will continue to be humble till the day returns that I will get seriously pumped about sticking that line again. I can say teaching others to kayak helps a lot cause it slows my own pace to a manageable risk (Durango cold ass playpark instead of Embudo HOT)

Ohh, and little boy Orin cannot come out to play, his ass is grounded so don't even call.
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I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 07-20-2009   #20
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 32
I, too have often wondered if all the things I do are stupid, and if I was just pushing my luck. But then I think what a waste my life would be if I just stayed home and ended up dying of cancer, or got killed in a car wreck on the way to a desk job. It happens. I figure I will just weigh the risks and try to do it all as safe as possible. Even with the right routes, planning, people, and gear, I know there is no guarantee. Still, I would rather live life and go out doing what I love than sit back and wait for life to pass by.

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