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It was the spring of 2017. I knew it was going to be a big one before the season had even arrived. We had a pretty insane winter with lots of snowfall which led to a really plentiful runoff in the rivers of Idaho.

I knew two things – that I may not see another year like this anytime soon and that if I did, I may not be able to enjoy it as much as I would be able to this year. It was an event that I needed to take advantage of. Whitewater kayaking became a very high priority for me.

The season started off kind of rough – out of shape and heavy, weak, a persistent cough, and snow everywhere. I started the year with high water on Succor Creek in February. March, April, and May I paddled almost as many days as I didn’t. The Barber Wave in Boise, Idaho was a good place to get warmed up for the season. One day I even had the privilege to paddle there with Nick and Emily Troutman!

I received my Antix in early March and started making a lot of laps down the South Fork of the Payette. The Antix was so fun to paddle and was the boat I paddled most this spring – lots of squirts, rocket moves, and kickflips. Around this time, the North Fork also went crazy, and I had a couple of wild days on it as the river approached 6,000 CFS!

But I also dealt with a little more fear and apprehension this year. I went out to the Snake River with plans to run the Milner and Murtaugh sections but chose to walk away from the Milner. My time spent on the North Fork of the Payette was also with extra caution, aforethought, and scouting. I’m 35 years old now and I have a lot of reasons to stay healthy and alive. I guess part of aging gracefully is coming to terms with what limitations you might have as you grow a little older.

A day on the Malad River, an unforgettable trip to the Kern River and Brush Creek in California, six absolutely unbeatable days at the Bladder Wave, perhaps the record high descent of the South Fork of the Boise River, a self-support trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon, lots of laps on the South Fork of the Payette River at peak flows, and a couple days at the pond with my son in his Fun1 — I’d call it a very good spring.

The high water and spring season came to a close about the same time as all the epicness that is the North Fork Championship. I woke up that Thursday morning and decided to participate in the expert race (the qualifier for the main event.) This is the best weekend of the year for me because I get to paddle and socialize with many of my best friends all gathered in the same place, my favorite place. For me there is no better way to complete an amazing spring than to do so at the NFC.

Summer is here now where I’ll enjoy watching other people get stoked on kayaking. And maybe one day they’ll get to have a spring like the one I just had.

Have a great summer everybody!

-Micah Kneidl