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Let’s face it, kayaking is time consuming and sometimes brutal. My acquaitances often see this pastime of mine as more of an addiction than an innocent pastime. But we still insist on cutting class, work, obligations every time a big rain storm or melt-off hits potentially to the detriment of our “day jobs.” While most people watch football on Saturday and Sunday, we are off playing in the woods. We are not “most people.”

Of recent I have been splitting time kayaking with distance running. In becoming a runner I have read-up on the quite popular tactics and the lifes of elite ultramarathon runners (essentially the pro-circuit creekboaters of running). In doing so, I have found many similarities of kayakers to these “maniacs.”

  • Starting out is not necessarily enjoyable until you get that “feeling.” The feeling is hard to explain, but it is what keeps us coming back for more.
  • Being cold and wet is not enjoyable just as being hot and sweaty is not enjoyable. But we still roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and put on frozen kayaking gear or soaked shoes.
  • Goal-based: everyone has the next river they want to run in mind. Just as right after the last race you ran that you are still limping from you are signing up for your next race.

The happiest people I know have pastimes of some similar variations to the mania of kayakers and runners. Enthusiastic about their life because they are “feeling” their void rather than filling their voids with meaningless mundane activities. This passion is what keeps us kayakers content with our lives. Memories accumulate and friendships build every time we set out for the rivers.

Regardless of how cool kayaking may make you feel… Essentially, we are the nerds. A counterculture. We decide to spend time away from cities and big crowds to the confines of gorges. Embrace your nerdiness, because you are different and more than likely happier than the average Joe/Jane living for the next football game to come on Television or Shopping Spree. Enjoy the pains, contentment, low-times, high-on-life times. Remember they all make for better memories, stories, experiences.

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” -Andre Gide

Here is video of my friends (Andy, Jiri, Jordan, Burton) and me getting nerdy at the Thompson River. The last of the Jocassee Watershed on my tick list…