A blast from the past....

May 2001 - My 2nd Noli Gorge Trip

Well, the final tally is: (drum roll, please)...

3 combat rolls, 2 swims.

I was upside-down more than usual!


The Story


Randy and Jo were paddling a Topo-Duo. It was cool watching them go down together. They even tried surfing in Jaws. Once, they had a nice surf - and got cheers from everyone sitting around!

Then I tried to play a little in Jaws (that was the first combat roll!). I don't know how to play, but I was in an adventurous mood and decided to try anyway!

Above Quarter Mile, I slowed up and Sarah didn't, we bumped together. I managed to stay upright, but Sarah swam most of Quarter Mile - so, while everyone else was trying to get her and her stuff reunited, Emily and I waited at the top. I got kinda cold there with the wind blowing. Plus, I had a way too much time to sit and look at that nasty hole right below us. I decided to walk, but Emily was going for it. It was only her second trip as well, but she's much more aggressive on the water than I am. She made the move look easy, but I still walked.

Later, I flipped at Rooster Tail (Randy said to lean into the wave - I didn't). Then I rolled up facing upstream. I was right-side-up just long enough to hear Lawrence yelling something at me before I flopped over again. I missed the next 2 attempts and swam - bouncing off a lot of rocks before catching an eddy. That was probably physically the worst swim I took, but the second swim was worse mentally.

I don't remember where my third roll was, somewhere between Quarter Mile and my second swim. It was pretty nice, though. Felt like I was in a hole at first, so I hung out and waited until I could get my paddle on top and simply rolled up. It was cool.

I hit a mean hole on the rapid right before Rock Garden (A raft guide later told me it is called Dodo's Hole) I was recirculated before and after I got out of the boat. At one point, my boat did an upside-down ender - with me still in it. I was so confused, I don't even know which end was airborne. I had to chase the grabloop on my skirt all over the place. It was swirling in the water. Once I finally got out, I was still in the hole. My head was above water, but I still didn't like being there. It scared me. I didn't want to do anything hard the rest of the trip. I let that swim, and that hole mess up the rest of my day. I'm not proud of that.

So, I took kind of a sneak route down Twin Eddies because I didn't want to risk getting flipped again. The rest was less eventful. I just kept forcing myself to paddle, hoping for the take-out. My shoulders were really sore by that point.

I think all the rolls I did (that actually succeeded) were off-side (left-side). My on-side (right-side) needs some work. Lawrence said I was bringing my head up too fast on that one. Almost every time I flipped - I set up on the right, missed, and usually made the left one.


Editorial Note

This took place early in my boating career. It was my second time down the gorge. It was 2 months and the first trip after getting my first combat roll.  These aren't excuses, just explanations of my thoughts and behavior on that trip.

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