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March 8, 2005

Memories flood in as I slide
my new All-Star onto my shoulder: that first plastic boat – a yellow Mirage
from ‘The Watershed’ on a cold Tellico morning. The smell
of freshly-cooked crosslink is unmistakable, and takes me on a quick trip
down memory lane:

Having to drag that Mirage (with a rolled-up backpacking
mat duct-taped in for hip pads) down the chairlift into Little River Canyon;
the Dancer delivered to the Caney Fork put-in that came with a tin of
Perception glue and pads ready-to-fit (!): the bubble-topped Response
with it’s own water-bottle, and the rainbow of Crossfires I went
through in my quest to run every creek in the Southeast . . .

That ‘new kayak smell’ is just like that
of a car – potentially toxic but clearly intoxicating given the
strong, primal association with the ‘freshness’ of a brand
new toy.

Surely the 50+ kayaks as I’ve broken in over
the last 30 years would damper the flood of endorphins I get from picking
up another new boat?

Guess again! One whiff and I was in love; I even had
to resist the urge to bring her in out of the rain last night . .

A new kayak is ALWAYS something to get excited about
. . .and so were my rides – just had my best session of the new

Clay Wright