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February 28, 2005

The Big South Fork was about 3 hours from Lexington,
KY where the NPFF was held. We agreed to meet lots of people there at
11am at the take out and being on central time that meant on the road
by 7am our time. Well, by the time we got to the take out it was noon.
We took the Lotus truck driven by Christie Dobson to the put-in with 10
people in it (Jackson family, Dixie Marie, Clay and more) and the parking
lot was already swarming with kayakers. Kristine ran the Lotus truck back
to the take out and hung out in the RV. I was particularly excited to
get to paddle with Lauren Burgess, the 9 year old that paddles a yellow
Fun 1 and runs class 3 and easy 4. She was already in the eddy waiting
for me when I got to the river. There were at least 50 people in a group
that spread out over time. I was amazed to see the number of Jackson Kayak’s
on the water!

Lauren was fun to paddle with. After a while I had
her tell me where to go on each rapid and she new the river well enough
to lead me down and describe everything. You don’t know how cool
it is to have a 9 year old girl talk about boofing this, or going around
that, until you see it! She was covered in neoprene from head to toe with
only her face sticking out and never got cold. Her roll and brace were
awesome also! She doesn’t do enough ferries or catch enough eddies
yet, so she could use some work on those skills, but hey, she’s
9, and how many 9 year olds can paddle at all?

That, is perhaps, one of the most exciting things for
me, the prospect that parents will start teaching their kids to kayak,
instead of paddling on their own without their kids. I am seeing it happen
and Lauren is a great example. Her dad will have a paddling buddy for
life now! It takes a little step back in your paddling at first while
they are learning, but then it is not long until they are challenging

🙂 EJ



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Emily and Lauren