The skies wrath came like a thief in the night and while I slumbered I heard the rain knocking on the windows of my dreams. I woke to an angry wind pressing and newspapers headlining reports of 5 inches of snow in the heights of Duluth. Steadfast I declared to myself I would and could not go paddling as my exam was but two days into the future. But with each text message of another paddler asking if I could paddle my will was being eroded. By the afternoon word came that Lester River was running high and I could no longer say no. I rushed to the river and met with a sizable crew including Anthony, Andy S, Scott, Brian, and T2.
Gearing up it was clear the levels where high but not of an uncanny nature and I had paddled it higher. We put on as temps dipped into the low 30s. Out of the gates I felt confident and boofed into the right hand line of Limbo Falls tangling with the multi-tiered hole laden goodness emerging unscathed with a smile. The entire run went equally smooth as my old friend the Lester river didn't fail to please. We inevitably arrived at Almost Always and getting out the boat for a quick peak I knew I would run it. T2 with his abundance of gusto fired it up first with success. Myself and Andy S. saddled up and fired it off. I watch Andy S. blue boat be lost to the horizon.
Looking back at Almost Always after running it
I lined up focusing on the narrow line conscious my speed and position. I made the right hand slow moving tangled water pouring the lip of drop. Eyes wide I armed my left boof stroke and viewing the vertical let the stroke loose as my boat left the water for the air. In the world of vertical I landed atop the opposing tongue of water mid way down the drop. Conscious instinct took hold as the world went in a split second from vertical and horizontal in gnashing of explosion of white washing water. Amidst it I stayed strong and emerged to the scene shocked that I had no need for a roll! I was elated and my confidence bolstered for the day ahead. I left the river begrudgingly and only because the darkness had begun to descend. I went home with a fulfillment enough to continue my studies. I thanked the river for the gift of the humanity it had returned to me and strength to carry on with the studies ahead of me.