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Ever since I started kayaking it has been my dream to take off to chase whitewater. This summer that dream came true. I got my license on June 5th, and with my kayak mobile all loaded and ready, I set out the morning of June 6th.

First stop was Vail for the GoPro Mountain games! My family, along with some close friends, came to join in on the fun so we stayed in a hotel in Vail Village. It wasn’t until the following weekend, in Salida, that I actually started crashing in my car.

When I first rolled into town I was super psyched to finally be checking this off bucket list! But the universe didn’t let the hype last long. About a mile from the freestyle feature, I caught a landscaping nail in my tire. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, I knew how to change a flat and I had everything I needed to do it. It just killed my spirits because I had an idealized vision of my trip in my head and, believe it or not, that was not sitting on the side of the road changing a tire.

Despite the hit to my schedule it was all perfectly fine. I threw the spare on and took the popped one in to get patched the next morning. Luckily this incident helped me realize, early on, that I couldn’t rely totally on the plan because stuff happens and things change.

Once I got all of that squared away, I finally got to paddle and the minute I sat down in my Jackson Kayak, all of that built up stress just went away. It was just the river, my boat, and I. After that it was pretty much smooth sailing. Living the rippie (river hippie) lifestyle I learned that, just like the river, I have to go with the flow. Spending 3 weeks in my car, eating sandwiches and living off the money I won competing, taught me to be flexible and simply have fun doing what I love.

Follow more of my adventures on Instagram @katie.kayak

– Katie Fankhouser