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I just returned from an adventure with the youth from our church on the Coosa River in Wetumpka Alabama. Due to work I missed the trip last year and was really looking forward to this trip. Our youth pastor Daniel had a rough time on that trip and spent more time out of the kayak than in it. He is a big guy in width and height; I have to look up to have a conversation with him. My theory is that he has to be big to carry the huge heart he has for ministering to our kids.
When this year’s trip was in the planning Daniel explained his concern for running the river again but I had a plan for him. After spending this year running my Big Rig I knew what is was capable of. Even though it is a big boat, it can maneuver and it drafts incredibly shallow. I figured it would be the one boat that could get Daniel down the river with minimal chance of swimming. It was a hoot seeing the trailer full of colorful rental boats and my custom blue-white-black Big Rig sitting in the middle like a giant among them.
When we started paddling down river we had several kids who had never been in kayaks before so I was busy working with them and it was a while before I got to ask what he thought of the ‘Rig. When we stopped to get some water and swim he said he could really feel the difference and loved the Elite seat. The true test was waiting just downriver in a spot called “moccasin gap.” As we got closer and I could hear the rapid roaring I figured there would be some swimming involved. I am a fisherman, not a whitewater guy; I reckon maybe one day Eric Jackson will have to teach me how not to die in whitewater.
I made it through in our Coosa and breathed a sigh of relief. About half of our group made it and half got eaten by the carnage and floated down river. I was downriver trying to assist a lady from another group and missed Daniel running moccasin gap but he made it through without an issue. I was able to get my little point and shoot camera out and get a shot of him coming through the rapid called “pipeline.”
When we reached the end of our run I could see him smiling as he paddled up to the takeout. I asked if he crashed any and he said he made it the entire way without a mishap; then he thanked me for the loan of the Big Rig. For as much as he has done for the families in our church is was great to be able to give back just a little. He is for sure a Big Rig success story. The next time I put him in it will be with fishing rods though, now THAT is one part of kayaking I know something about!