July brought some new experiences for me. I crossed the northern border with a friend of mine and headed to Whistler for some down-hill mountain biking. I met freaking amazing humans and learned so much about a new sport that I am in love with now. Watching the tides, I headed out to the Skookumchuk Narrows to do some surfing with my pal Brooke Hess. I surfed my face off while also getting some much needed time with my west coast sister. I drove back east after repacking the Dagger truck (again). From Skook, it was a two hour drive, a two hour ferry, a border crossing that included an officer who asked me if I had any friends, then a 46 hour drive to make it back into Ontario, Canada to finish out my July coaching at Keeners.
I finally headed back south, to my home and husband, after being on the road for a solid 2.5 months. I was so happy to get home and I was like a kid in a candy shop back in the southeast. I successfully had put over 10,000 miles on the Dagger truck in that time. It was hot and humid and I was thriving. I was riding my bike in the morning and kayaking in the afternoon, finishing off the day with cold drinks with the people I hadn’t seen in so long. After just a short stay home, I again boarded a plane and went to Missoula Montana to round out the end of my First Descents season working with Tarkio. I was honored to take part in the first ever MS pilot program that FD had offered this year and it was truly a beautiful week.
Snowy and I celebrated our one year anniversary, after almost getting stuck in O’hare flying home from Montana. But, I made it. With the fall settling into the southeast, race season was right on my doorstep. I knew all of the good times were coming and my favorite day of the year was a mere two months away. It was back to work for me for a few days (yes, I still work for Greenville County EMS). Working as a Paramedic has it’s ups and downs for sure but I am always happy to be able to leave the drama behind and just go kayaking. Gauley Fest had another successful year raising money for both First Descents and American Whitewater. I got to do my favorite thing ever on the Gauley, at the end of Lost Paddle is a rapid called Tumble Home. We will sit at this seam for hours, laughing, landing on our heads, and doing some of the biggest enders in long boats I have ever seen. We leave once we have enough water in our faces and our abs hurt so bad we start carping multiple rolls in a row.