|Feather River College||
There has been a bit of a time gap between this and my previous blog post. You are clearly wondering where I have been, and what has been keeping me away from the words that I so greatly enjoy sharing with you. It is quite sweet of you to ask after me, so I shall tell you what I have been doing. I also hope that I may pass on some friendly advice to anyone who has an itch to participate in some similar activity, but might not quite know where, or how, to begin.
Over the past month Northern California has been blessed with ample amounts of rain in the form of several large thunderstorms. These storms have encouraged the river gods to supply boaters with consistently good flows for paddling activities. Every nearby whitewater enthusiast has emerged from their comfy Subaru homes to take full advantage of the spring rapids popping up throughout the numerous creeks and rivers of the north state. As an excitable kayaking novice, I viewed this as my opportunity to better my water skills and learn from experienced paddlers.
I do not tell you this to seek some form of affirmation. I tell you this because I am doing something which I never thought possible for myself. Though my immediate family is not made up of whitewater enthusiasts I do have several extended family members who have pushed the boundaries of whitewater paddling; but due to their great humility and my own disinterest I didn't learn of their river feats until I decided to test out whitewater sports for myself. The little that I did know of kayaking came from a commercial for GoPro I saw on television, or the one scary photo behind the shopping list on our family bulletin board of my cousin Dan dropping off a big waterfall. These things forced me into the awfully common mindset of 'I could never do that'.
Though never at the forefront of my mind there was always a desire to participate in such an activity as whitewater kayaking, and until this last year that desire was always trumped by the unfounded belief that 'I could never do that'.
Many people hold on to the common misconception that outdoor adventure sports are only done by professionals, when in reality the majority of adventure sport participants are 'weekend warriors', or people who enjoy outdoor activities at a comfortable level purely for their own enjoyment. This misconception creates an invisible barrier around the realm of adventurous outdoor activity which deflects countless desires from individuals who wish to participate in adrenaline pumping outdoor fun. It pains me now to hear someone say, 'I could never do that' or 'I want to, but I know I couldn't' in reference to a story someone told about an outdoor excursion or a photo/video they have seen of an adventurous activity. There is truly only one thing you must do in order to participate in whatever they believe they cannot. This one thing is the common seam for beginning to participate in any adventure sport whether it be whitewater kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, or even base jumping. All you must do, is seek it out.
So many great ways too adventure in the outdoors!
Photo Credit: Top Left-Izak Lederman, Top Right-Sierra Speer, Bottom Left-J Simenc, Bottom Right-Saylor Flett
Here are a few tips/techniques for seeking out a way to begin your outdoor fun:
1. Phone a friend. Often people hear of an adventure sport from a participant of one, and just as often that participant is more than willing to teach you a few things. Outdoor communities are welcoming, take full advantage of them!
2. Find a class. Learning the skills necessary for an outdoor activity is often only a google search and a phone call away. This is always recommended for learning how to play outside safely. A great place to do this for all you people near Quincy, Feather River College Outdoor Leadership Program!
3. Use social media. In today's world we are able to connect with tons of folks online, and guess what, some of these folks push the sport you wish to do! There is no shortage of Facebook (and other social media) groups full of excited people waiting to introduce you to their outdoor community.
4. Don't fall into the misconception of Adventure Sports! Adventure Sports are for EVERYBODY. All you gotta do is have the desire to participate.
Adventure sports breed a community of fantastic friends! Photo Credit: Veronica Ruvalcaba
I hope this can aid you in seeking your adventure, I promise it will be well worth the trouble. I'll be waiting here in Quincy stoked and ready to enjoy some outdoor fun with all you new adventure sport enthusiasts! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play outside in a river.
*Special thanks to Rick Stock, Saylor Flett, Colby Elliot, Pat O'Connel, and many others for spurring forth my own passion for whitewater and adventure!
Written by Jonathan Simenc