Even before I went to sleep last night I had already decided to stay another night and to benefit from a good place to rig my boat and get all the advice on how to do it right from Kate and Bill. I finally understand, that there is no point in rushing out in this weather, when one day later the sun will likely be shining. But it is more than that. I realize, that I have been rushed all along. I know this is because I have felt like not accomplishing what I expected. Felt I should be doing things differently. I am still restless. I am so far from arriving in this trip, as I could possibly be. And the first step to change that, is to accept it, to calm down, to be smart.
So I am staying here for another day, while it is snowing outside. I take the time to make up for a few days without blogposts, and most of all, I just chill. Hang out. Do Yoga and stretch. Spend time with Bill and Kate, play with TR. Generally, I try my best to be good to myself instead of critical for not living up to my own expectations. I know this struggle, I have it within each of my projects, and always at this stage. I know it will pass, so I am not worried. And although it may seem I have not been enlightened by these previous experiences, at least I am now a bit quicker to recognize my status and take action: by not acting on my expectations but working on changing them, taking the competition out of them, putting the experience first.
I know, that this ultimately gives me the strength I need, in order to move forward and to have some full-on days. And I love those days, but I need to have the resources to provide for them, without taking stupid or wrong decisions, that can be pretty fatal.
Understanding this is one of the many things I owe to Kate and Bill. They have never been pushing me either way, but I could feel them almost waiting for me to settle down and relax, finally. They spoil me, and I enjoy it gratefully. We have great dinners and I hear lots of stories from their life on and off the river. They are so incredibly genuine and being around them makes me humble and honest. There is no show necessary here (as if there was a show “necessary” anywhere…).
Kate asks me if I have a light long sleeved shirt for hot days in the canyons further down the river. She gives me a pearl-snap shirt, the locally typical “cowgirl” style. She has worn it on various trips down the Grand Canyon and other rivers and it is definitely a good-luck shirt for me now. Besides, one “has to have” a pearl-snap, Kate says ;-).
I set up my boat in the garage (click to watch) find the best strategy to rig all my gear to it. I try my dry suit again, adjust my helmet, attach the safety-knife to the life-jacket, find the best place to attach my inReach mini and then I check for any inconveniences and what I can do about them. I pack up the boat in different ways, followed Bill “Broncos” advice to attach a strap around the bottom, so I have something to pull, when the boar flips and I need to turn it back on the water. Kate reassures me: “There are only two kinds of boatwomen (or men): those who have flipped their boat and those who will.”
Flipping my boat or not, I am feeling prepared now. And I am finally ready to get on the river tomorrow morning.
The plan is to paddle about 15 miles and then camp at Mee Canyon. The next day I will continue to Westwater Ranger Station, then get a ride around Westwater Canyon (too little water, too dangerous a canyon to do with my minimal experience and by myself) and put in again at Cisco Landing. Then I will be on the river for another three days to reach Moab in Utah, where I intend to stay for a few days.