Packrafting Blue River

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Going With It

My impending hike has been leaking out into my day job quite a bit lately. Well, to be honest I’ve been talking about it for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, the position has been incredibly rewarding; I’ve been able to really engage with the arts community, which has been fantastic, but I need to stretch my legs, see a new part of the world, and sleep on the ground for a while.

Each month in Cascade A&E, the arts magazine I’m the editor of in Bend, I write a short column, and for the February issue I found myself mentioning the CDT. You see one of the things I love about long distance hiking is the flow of it all, and I had been thinking specifically about the thru-hiking flow when the artist I interviewed for the cover story this month mentioned it. She plays music when she paints; and lets the rhythm and energy make its way to the page. It flows, without thought, and some pretty cool stuff can come out of that.

Now I don’t know about you, but I can walk for hours on a ridgetop, feeling like I’m flying and listing to Radiohead or just the wind, and I’m no longer thinking of the steps I’m taking, but I’m just being, in its most pure form.

So I wrote about flow this month. And I get home from work thinking maybe I’ll write another blog post about the OR Show when I find Kirk watching kayak videos. Kirk has been paddling whitewater (the crazy big stuff) for the past 20 years and he is to water as I am to trail. Anyway, we’re watching a video that is pure flow. The editing is beautiful, and there is music of course, and they fly down Class V gorges in Norway with you along for the ride, and you feel like you can do anything, that you could paddle that waterfall if you really wanted to, soaring through the air on a mixture of adrenalin and red bull.

I love that stuff. Since Kirk and I have been packrafting for the past 3 or so years, I’ve had fun making short videos (not quite the caliber of the Substantial Media guys), but I’m getting better! (geek out ahead: I met Evan Garcia  at the Summer OR Show as he was getting some badass kayaking award! Cool!)

So since getting a GoPro for my birthday last year the quality of my little movies has gone up quite a bit, and I’m thinking about taking it on the CDT…oh the movies I could make!

Here is one I made of Kirk and i R2ing his new raft on the North Umpqua River this summer. I think you can see where I’m getting at with the flow here…

And that reminds me of another great flow video, J.P. Auclair’s Street Scene. Just watch: 

I was sad to hear of J.P.’s death in the mountains last year. These things we do, these adventures we take, and places we go do have certain inherent risks. We take these risks, but so do those who don’t wear helmets or don’t floss after meals or eat too much sugar…not to mention a sedentary lifestyle…

Knowing your risks, knowing how to keep yourself safe in the wilderness and not only survive, but have the most mind-bendendly amazing experience ever, is the flow. Going with it. That’s right, going with the flow. It works on and off the trail, but one is definitely more scenic than the other