Friday, October 20, 2017

AUTUMNAL PALETTE & PADDLE


I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints. ---Henry David Thoreau

It was what I call a Thoreau type morning. A chill in the air, colors blazing and the lake water was as smooth as glass on a calm October morning. At the water's edge a thin line between the absoluteness of the shoreline and its upside down illusory reflection. It seemed as I was destroying a cherished work of art as the bow of my kayak fractured the water's surface sending it into a thousand splinters with each ripple with each forward stroke. In was the distance the slight hum of traffic a reminder of frenzied away from this solitude, ahead the quiet and nostalgic feel of autumn's embrace.

Maplewood State Park.
“A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature." wrote American writer and conservationist Henry David Thoreau, "It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
In 1845, he set out to live a simple and solitary life on the banks of Walden Pond near Concord, Mass. It was there that he would write his best-known works, Walden and Civil Disobedience in penciled scribbled notes giving meditative descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells and things around him. The woods and lakes seem to inspire and invigorate him.

Later in life, he would celebrate the seasonal change of fall and the continuing cycle of nature by welcoming it by and giving us a way to see every autumn. "Visible for miles, too fair to be believed," he proclaimed, "If such a phenomenon occurred but once, it would be handed down by tradition to posterity, and get into the mythology at last.”

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
The appearance of autumn doesn’t call for the disappearance of kayaks or standup paddle boards. Fall and wintertime waters offer a quieter and solitude experience. Who doesn't appreciate fewer bugs, crowds and empty parking spots at the access. Just remember simple safety factors involving hypothermia.Even water temperatures as high as 75 and 80 degrees F (24 and 27 degrees C) can be dangerous, but generally the colder the water, the faster it happens.

Four simple tips for anyone looking to extend the length of their paddling season into the winter months.
  1. Wear your PFD!
  2. Layering up against the cold.
  3. Familiarize yourself With rescue techniques
  4. Be well fed and hydrated when paddling.

"October is the month of painted leaves." wrote Thoreau, "Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight."

It all proves paddling in the fall might take a little more planning and preparation, but the season's beauty and splendor make it all worth it.

Celebrate Sixty
Our friend, Dan Crandall at Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips, a veteran of countless trips down the Grand Canyon is turning 60-years-old in 2018 and wants you to come along for the party.

Courtesy of Current Adventures.
"Dear friends and fellow paddlers," wrote Crandall on the Current Adventures website, "I wanted to extend this special invite to join me on our 2018 trip because I will be 60 years old in 2018 and I can't think of anywhere I'd rather "Celebrate Sixty" than paddling the fabulous Grand Canyon. The people that join together for a trip like this are the ones who really make it special, so come on along to surf some great waves, run the fabulously thrilling rapids, hike some amazing trails and help make it an extraordinary experience in one of my favorite places on the planet!"

Join Crandall and his experienced guides from Current Adventures and Grand Canyon outfitter partner AZRA on August 29-September 11th, 2018 ( 14 days) as they deliver you to the unequaled splendor and solitude of one of the worlds greatest treasures.

If you want to go  
Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips 
PHONE: 530-333-9115 or Toll-Free: 888-452-9254
FAX: 530-333-1291
USPS:Current Adventures, P.O. Box 828, Lotus, CA 95651
info@currentadventures.com
owner Dan Crandall dan@kayaking.com

Friday, October 13, 2017

THE ART OF KAYAKING MEETS THE SCIENCE

Photos provided by Nigel Foster

By Outside Adventure to the Max Guest Blogger Nigel Foster

My mantra is to achieve the greatest effect with the minimum effort. I find efficiency seductive but to best achieve this I need to start again with the basics. Efficient paddling makes use of the body’s most powerful muscle groups to do the bulk of the work powering the kayak, with good posture ensuring the most effective alignment for performance.
I also try to maximize the traction from my paddle in the water so I can power forward or make smooth turns without wasting energy. I want to make my kayak move forward; I don’t want to use my energy to move water.

Edging in a turn, the blade here is in neutral
Edging into a turn. The blade here is in neutral Science can explain how a kayak moves through water, why it might turn more easily when held at a particular angle or why different turns can be more effective when you lean forward or back. It’s not like rocket science, where you need a huge thrust of energy to push you into space, and complex mathematical equations to navigate to a far off planet. Instead it’s about things like understanding how when you shift your weight a little to trim your kayak, it subtly changes the effective hull shape in the water. Some maneuvers become more efficient with this alternative hull presentation, so you need less power to make the same maneuver. You can fine-tune your skills more effectively if you not only know how to do it but also why.

Basic science can explain why in some kayaks it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether you edge into a turn or edge away from it, both seem equally effective, while in some other kayaks you can clearly turn more quickly when edged into a turn, or in others most quickly when edged from a turn.
It will also explain why you can turn some kayaks more rapidly while reversing than when you are paddling forward.
It’s a good idea to hone the effectiveness of your paddling skills on flat water where you can focus on mastering the details even if your normal playground is far from flat. It is easier to compare the effect of every nuance once you eliminate the variables of wind, current and waves. With control strokes, begin with the blade close to or in a neutral position, engaging the blade gradually and only as much as you need.

The blade is lightly engaged for steering
After paying attention to the details, the next phase is to add those variables, wind, waves and current one at a time, so you can see how each affects the moves you have practiced on the flat. Practice in wind without waves for example. Now you’ll see how one technique for turning will become far more effective for turning from the wind than another that works best for turning toward the wind.
When you understand how to get the most effective performance from your kayak in wind alone, or in waves or current alone, then the next step is to combine them, wind and waves together, or all three.

Work on your efficiency in different conditions
Your paddling can become smooth, efficient and effective without you understanding the science behind it. You can still become an artist on the water. But if you question why one move works better than another in a particular situation and understand the reasons behind each effect, then you’ll be able to push your skills into new realms of efficiency. You’ll use the wind, current and waves to your advantage instead of fighting against them.

I’ll leave you with three questions. Revisit one of them when you next paddle.

1) Can I improve the efficiency of my body movement for power? For example, can I use my torso more and my arms less? Am I using my legs and feet?

2) How much do I move water with my paddle, and when do I do this most? Can I reduce this, maybe by slowing my paddle stroke a little, or by adjusting the path of my paddle?

3) Am I working against the waves, wind, and current, or working with? If I can identify a particular situation when I have to work harder than I would like, can I find a way to use less effort in this situation?


My new book The Art of Kayaking offers a lot of detail for the inquisitive paddler, explained in a way that is easy to understand. It describes in detail the basic paddle and kayak skills, and then focuses their use toward different rough-water environments. The goal is to achieve more effect with less effort. You’ll also find help for trip planning with weather, charts, buoy age and safety.

Find The Art of Kayaking at store.nigelkayaks.com, (there is a signed copy option) Or support your local bookstore, or order on-line, perhaps at Amazon or Book Depository.

Nigel Foster is an English sea kayaker, kayak designer, instructor and author.  His other books with FalconGuides include On Polar Tides, and Paddling Southern Florida. Foster presently lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Kristin Nelson. You can contact him through his web-site at  www.nigelkayaks.com.

Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at Nickayak@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, September 29, 2017

SNAKE CHARMED


Many a time I have merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another trouble some day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into the mountain's belly, sculpted the land, peeled back the planet's history exposing the texture of time itself. --- Harry Middleton

Loading up at other places that people find easier to get to. I sometimes get into conversations with boaters about the where they like to paddle around  Sacramento.
"Have you ever been up to Rattlesnake Bar?" I'll ask them.
The answer is usually either bewilderment or not for a long time as they think of the last time they were up there.

Rattlesnake Bar is part of the California State Parks Folsom Lake Recreation Area. Located on the on the north arm of the lake, it's down a long dead-end road after the fork winding past white fences and horse barns towards the entrance of the park.

The lake glistens, flashing through the oaks and willows while driving down the narrow road after entering the park. During the drought years not too far back, it looked more like Mars seeing the dusty remnants of the lake. But, this year the lake is brimming. The lake is 50 feet higher than last year. Going into the last week of September, many recreation lakes in California have the highest lake levels for this date in more than 10 years.

Forget weekends. Come to Rattlesnake Bar mid-week in the summer or wait till late fall or early spring to escape the speed boat and jet ski crowd. This is a playground for them all summer long when the lake is full and gate to the ramp is open.

The water was still touching the end of the ramp on my last visit. In previous trips, I can remember some lengthy treks while shouldering my kayak down the ramp or along an arduous trail down a steep bank to the lake. The guidebooks said to watch for rattlesnakes, hence the name, but, it should've of warned me about that thick layer of muck and slimy goo in front of the lake.

The water was a silty brown turned up by waves of jet skis and speed boats. It resembles more a choppy over perked coffee and cream color even past the 5 mph buoy about a mile north of the access. Those with a need for speed turn around and head back to the main part of the lake while those in search of the quiet of the lake, canyon and river, proceed on.

Past Mormon Ravine the lake widens and turns to the northeast. On the north side, the old Pony Express Trail is now a hiking path along the lake. Further up the lake narrows with rugged rocky ledges on both sides. I don't feel the tug of current on this visit, but I have before. It's common through here, for the lake to behave more like a river as the water level dictates where the river ends and the lake begins. There is a sudden change of water temperature and clarity as the cool mountain North Fork of the American River pours into the lake. It was now a refreshing cold and running transparently clear.

"I have never seen a river that I could not love," wrote Canadian writer and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown, "Moving water...has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river."

When I started kayaking, I dreamed of these river places Haig-Brown called "Water in its loveliest form." A clear water passageway between massive ramparts of broken disheveled texture, as the once molten rock now crystallized over millions of years is exposed, lifted and shattered along the fault lines while large boulders have become their own islands raising from the depths.

The stream,  flecked with little white waves and quiet inviting pools, while just around the bend there is the sound of the thundering water echoing off the chasm walls and the sight of a churning cascade, what naturalist John Craighead called, "A primeval summons to primordial values."

I have paddle upstream here before, even portaged through shallow rapids to the river's slow moving pools. On this trip however, the lake covers those rapids and the low water landmarks I'm familiar with going to north past Pilot Creek.  At Oregon Bar Rapids, there is no need to go any further on this outing,  as the rushing water turns me back downstream.

Above Pilot Creek I found a nice flat rock and water warmed by the sun. I beached my kayak and surveyed my river surroundings. Up river, I could see the foam of whitewater while down downstream the rugged curve of the canyon suffused amber light of the late afternoon sun. I spent a good chunk of time there becoming a kid again. Diving off rocks, swimming between dives and exploring the view of the canyon.

 Light and shadows dance across the water as the sun slips behind the horizon on my paddle back to Rattlesnake Bar. The hills and trees obscurity is offset by the warm glow of the water. My senses are awakened by the stillness and coolness of the air as I glided silently and almost effortlessly across the placid lake of golden glass.

"We do not want merely to see beauty, " said writer C.S. Lewis, "We want something else which can hardly be put into words to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it."

 And with each stroke of my paddle, I soaked in all the lake's and river's tranquil magic.

Lake Clementine Update
To make the extension to the boat ramp at Auburn State Recreation Area’s Lower Lake Clementine the ramp is be closed to vehicles and vessel launching until the lake refills to its normal level, which is estimated to happen by late October or early November. The Auburn Journal reported, the extension will add about 10 feet of length to the boat ramp and is estimated to cost about $85,000 when complete. Breaking down the closure, it was estimated to8 to 12 days to lower the lake while the actual boat ramp extension project lasted five days. Then it will be another three to four weeks before the lake has refilled and launches allowed again.
The area will remain open to bicycle and foot traffic during the project.
Upper Lake Clementine will remain open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays through the end of the month. From Oct. 1 to 15, the upper lake will be open Saturdays and Sundays only. After Oct. 15, Upper Lake Clementine will be closed for the season.

Friday, September 22, 2017

KAYAK SUMMER 2017

We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves. -- C. S. Lewis

Negro Bar boat ramp on Lake Natoma.
I have to admit it after four years in California it's hard for me to notice the change of the season. Other than football on TV, new skis arriving at Any Mountain and with my wife's allergies the change of the season goes by without attention.  So you can tell me summer on the calender and in some people's minds. The water is still warm but boat ramps and inputs are empty except for only a few. The sun is setting faster giving us even less time to get out.
Current Adventures Kid's Classes on Lake Natoma.

Summer has always started out with pretty high hopes for me. At its start, I think like most of us. I'm going to paddle more, camp more and take big fun trip
"Summer means promises fulfilled, objectives gained, hopes realized." wrote canoe guru Sigurd Olson more than 50 years ago,  "The surge of doing and achieving, of watching and enjoying is finally replaced by a sense of quiet and floating and a certain fullness and repletion, as though one cannot absorb any more."

Current Adentures RK1 Classes.
Those long summer days seemed to come to an end much quickly than before in out high paced world. In the end, I only accomplish half or even a quarter, of what I thought I would do and resign to the thought of maybe next summer.  Then substituted that with what Olson promised, that, --- a sense of quiet and floating and a certain fullness and repletion,--- while enjoying little adventures on my neighborhood lake and river.

Eppies Training Night.
I did work most of the summer for Current Adventures Kayak School & Trips as kayak guide and instructor took a few trips to some mountain lakes and got over hundred paddling days for the year. So I have plenty great memories of my time on the water. But I'm always a little resistant at first to the change of the season. I'm being greedy I know, but I just want more. The sun is setting earlier and earlier just as it did in the fall of 1842, when American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote,"I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air."

Debbie on Lake Jenkinson.

So ready or not summer is over and fall is here.The start of this new season provides us an opportunity to renew and review. So find your cozy sweater, enjoy the bright colors of the leaves and embrace that nostalgic chill of the air.

"I begin to secretly long for the cooler days and deeper colours that the autumnal arrival hails. I hear the geese calling overhead as they begin their journeys southwards," wrote fellow kayaker Kate Hives in her blog "At home on the water, "Without wishing too hard for the rain and the cold of winter, I welcome the transition between them. I ready my being for a gentle slowing, while still staying focused on the task at hand and the vision that motivates it... It’s time to get out for sunset paddles and kick the leaves underfoot, finish that one last project and shine brightly before the simple stark renewal of winter is upon us."

The Tea House on Fannette Island
Here are a few of our favorite kayaking images from this past summer that will help us keep those memories burning brightly while heading into the days of fall.
Moonlit Paddles on Lake Natoma.
Current Adventures Kid's Class on the river.
Lake Natoma.
The Lower American River.
Loon Lake
Bayside Adventure Sports at San Juan Rapids.
Current Adventures 50+ class.
Lake Tahoe

Paddling Day 100 on Lower American River.

Friday, September 15, 2017

BOOF!

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BY OUTSIDE ADVENTURE TO THE MAX GUEST BLOGGER PETE DELOSA


boof. Noun. (plural boofs) The method by which kayakers “jump” hydraulic backwash, known as holes or hydraulic jumps, in high-gradient mountain rivers. The action is analogous to a skier jumping a cliff.

What does it mean to boof? Take a second and write down your answer, or at least think of one in your head and keep it. Got it? OK, if your answer includes the word “rock,” I’m writing this for you. Too often I hear people confuse smashing into rocks with boofing. Yes, you can boof off of a rock, but you can also boof off of a wave or just off the water anywhere there is a loss in elevation. If you have good technique you should be able to do it in a swimming pool. OK, it isn’t going to be very exciting in the pool but you should still be able to do it. So, what does it really mean to boof? What this strange word actually means is to control the elevation of our bow as was we lose elevation in our kayak. It doesn’t matter if you’re dropping a ten footer or just picking up the front of your boat to get over a small hole, the technique is the same. One of the most common mistakes that people make is to throw their weight backwards as they go off a drop. This is similar to the mistake I talked about in my previous break down of the stern quirt. In order to pull up the front of your kayak, you need to engage your core and squeeze your knees to your chest. This is the most critical part of the process. Even if your boof stroke is less than awesome, pulling your knees to your chest will go a long way toward more stylish landings. A great stroke with no core action will result in no boof. A poor stroke with good core action will result in a flat-ish landing. Obviously, you will need both in order to consistently fly off drops with steez, but if you have to focus on just one, use your core.

California based kayaker Pete Delosa is a member of Team Pyranha and sponsored by Immersion Research. You can catch up with Pete on his blog River-Bum.com and watch his videos on You-Tube
Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at Nickayak@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, September 8, 2017

BUT FIRST, LETS GET A SELFIE: 15 KAYAKING INSTAGRAM YOU SHOULD FOLLOW

                   
At Outside Adventure to the Max, we just love our friends who thrill us with a daily post of their stories and visual media on Instagram. Whether they're running waterfalls, raging rapids or a long distance sea trek, they have brought us along and made us feel part of their adventure. Some are well known top notch kayaking athletes and photographers who have garnered thousands of followers and millions of likes while are others just might be off your radar till now.

Want to know who we follow? Here are some kayaking-feed-favorites that help us get fired up for new paddling destinations for our weekend and upcoming adventures along with inspiring us with their great images of our kayaking culture.

Cameron O'Connor
@cameron_kayak16
For chutes and paddles whitewater play boater young Cameron O'Connor puts us in this cockpit at renoriverfestival and gopromountaingames along with some other hard charging venues and play parks.  

@darinmcquoid
Darin McQuoid, a California based photographer and white water paddler, has kayaked most of the world on international expeditions.  An eye for action, his photographs have been published in National Geographic, Outside, Canoe and Kayak, Kayak Session, Paddler, Rapid Magazine

@peterholcombe
Makes, I live a van down by the river sound cool. Gypsy photographer Peter Holcombe leads his family around the country chasing a dream and his daughter's pink Jackson kayak.

@sagekayak 
At Outside Adventure to the Max we just love to keep up Freestyle Jr. World champion. USA Jr and Senior Slalom Team's sensation Sage Donnelly. A
a rising star in the world of whitewater kayaking, Sage shows us that girls still just want to have fun all while competing on a world class level.

Kate Hives
@kate_hives
Kate Hives is an adventurous sea kayaking guide and rough water coach with SKILS based out of Vancouver Island. A world explorer Keep up with Hives in her blog At home on the water.

@kalobgrady88 
It's his life, it's his passion. Kalob Grady grew up on the banks Ottawa River one of the world's greatest whitewater playgrounds so brace for waves. He just signed on to be the head coach of World Class Kayak Academy so pack your bags for trips to Canada, Uganda, Zambia, Chile, and West Coast.

@nicktroutmankayak
Nick Troutman is one of the most popular paddlers on the circuit. A World Freestyle Kayak Champion, film maker and most of all fun-time dad.

@pete_delosa
One of most popular guest at Outside Adventure to the Max bloggers, California based kayaker Pete Delosa takes us down some the biggest drops the Sierra can provide. Insightful and always fun you can also keep up with DeLosa on his blog at River-Bum.com.

Pete Delosa
@rafaortizkayak  
You will need a Red Bull to keep up with Rafa Ortiz, one of whitewater kayaking's super stars. The subject of “Chasing Niagara," a film chronicling Ortiz's pursuit of being the first person ever to go over Niagara Falls his shots are beautiful, daring and always amazing.

@martinbeebeephoto
Hey is time to relax yet? Martin Beebee mixes kayaking, golden retrievers and hot and cold places across the map in visions of peaceful tranquility. His aerial footage of the South Fork of the American River is pretty cool too. But, you'll have to go to YouTube for that.

@kayakerdude1435 
Gavin Rieser is the Where is Waldo of kayaking in California. He and his pickup truck and kayak were traveling everywhere this past summer looking for steep roads and big drops. This is the only way to keep up him unless you want to chip in for gas money.

@sleepygoat
Funny handle but beautiful photography as J Maxfield explores the levees and reservoirs around Lewiston, ID; far away from the daily routine.

@garethtate
Gareth Tate like to charge hard with an unquenchable thirst for travel and adventure. Tate takes us up snowy peaks, down raging rivers and for a dip into Lake Tahoe.

Dylan McKinney
@dylankmckinney
North Carolina whitewater globe trekker Dylan McKinney captures the feel and excitement of paddling in some of the world’s foremost whitewater. He puts you up front and takes you for a wild ride. Hold on tight!

@nickayak
The official feed of Outside Adventure to the Max. Follow us on river trips along the American River and moonlight paddles with Current Adventures as we count down to 100 paddling days and beyond.

For more adventure and inspiration along with connecting to other fellow paddlers and river lovers across the world follow some these post too. @dbpmagazineonline, @adventuretechnology, @aquabound@adventurekayakmag, @nsrweb @rapidmagazine,@daggerkayaks

Friday, August 25, 2017

LEADING FROM WHERE I STAND - KNOWING WHERE I'M STANDING

 By Outside Adventure to the Max Guest Blogger Kate Hives

I have long craved a map and a compass. I long for the certainty that comes through being able to plan for the journey, know where I stand in a landscape and can then clearly navigate the terrain to the next way point. My chosen career in wilderness guiding has been a fitting metaphor to fulfill this desire. I have become fluent in the languages of True and Magnetic Norths, I have learned to read the clouds and feel wind directions to predict weather; and I have studied the tidal cycles, learning how to work with the power of the ocean. I have slowly, ever surely become a great navigator of this wild and beautiful ocean meets forest terrain. Somewhere, though, there emerged a deeper longing – a longing to know more intimately an inner wilderness.

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I couldn’t have told you about this longing two years ago when I began my thesis journey at Royal Roads University.  I could have told you that I was interested in the connection between Nature and Culture, but never could I have told you that my studies would take me deeper in to my own connection with Self and an inner wilderness I had only previously had a glimpse of. I could have told you I was going to embark on a Vision Quest, but I never expected how my life would unfold after the ‘questing’ was over. It is only with the gift of hindsight that I can see clearly that I wanted to explore the more psychological dimensions of wilderness adventure, to peek into the intersections and embraces of inner wilderness and outer wilderness.

As I began this journey I felt as though I was blind, stumbling around in a place that felt uncomfortable, in a fog of not knowing that was more extensive than I had ever experienced. I had no map, not even an inkling of what the territory might look like. What I truly lacked was a compass that I could use in the dark. So, I stopped searching and I started listening, using deep self-awareness as a compass for how to proceed, when to proceed, if I should proceed. I began realizing that what I was seeking was nothing more than to see myself through the eyes of loving compassion that I might see mySelf wholly in all my glorious paradox – to learn to see myself as an Innocent and a Dragon, a humble servant and a powerful leader.

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The concept seems so much easier to put in a sentence than to practice as a human being. [I use the spelling of ‘mySelf’ to imply a deep self-awareness that Carl Jung might call soul connection.]

At this point in my thesis journey, which I recognize extends far before and far beyond my time here at Royal Roads; I can see the delicious darkness that holds juicy secrets that need time still to germinate; I am able to hold mySelf with a greater loving tenderness; and have an ever-increasing compassion for my fellow humans and the earth upon which we live. I am certainly not finished this journey and sincerely doubt it will ever truly be ‘finished’, but in my searching for inner health, equilibrium and knowledge, I feel as though my compassion for others has increased as I find it for mySelf.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis love I spoke of in the last paragraph, I don’t mean it as a gushy, ooy-gooey kind of smoochy way, I mean it as a deep acceptance of something, in this case myself. Being able to spend enough time in the shadowy realms of my human experience and being, so that I may better understand these places and perhaps be able to work with them as I work with ocean currents on the sea. This love for mySelf that I have been cultivating in the darker days of winter has strangely begun to spill out. It has begun to affect the ways I interact with and see other people, the other-than-human beings around me and has been, it appears, to be a curious by-product of inner reflection.]

My journey has been inherently impactful to me as a leader, especially in terms of the concept of ‘leading from where you stand’, if only because I am more fully aware of just where it is I am standing. I embarked upon a Vision Quest as a grounding foundation for my study. The vision quest is designed to initiate participants and invite them on a journey towards being able to more wholly embody their truest Selves, to encounter soul and learn to use Ego in service of its deepest longing. A year and a half after my Quest I have traveled through initiation, which took a lot longer than I expected – or hoped- and am now actively participating in the Return (which has also taken a lot longer than I had imagined). This process of bringing the gift, mySelf, back into the world is a heavy task. It seems as though it is requiring me to be more responsible than ever before – deeply responsible to mySelf.

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To clarify how truly big this responsibility to mySelf is, feels like a daunting task. If I can try to distill it down into its simplest form: responsibility to mySelf means I am open and clear about where I am now; that I can listen enough to hear when I need sleep, to be social, or to run in the hills; that I can be compassionate enough to honour those needs in myself and in turn, others; to continue to trust that I will always have what I need (even if it doesn’t always feel like it); and that everything I can be, I already am. Ha, no big deal right!?!

Kate Hives is an adventurous sea kayaking guide and rough water coach with SKILS  based out of Vancouver Island.  She has explored Canada from coast to coast and has paddled in Patagonia, Chile, Malaysia, Tasmania, North Wales and Scotland. Keep up with Hives in her blog At home on the water.  Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at Nickayak@gmail.com if you are interested.