Do you ever think you have it figured it out? You have your routines. You have your standard trips you go on every year. You know what to expect and what you are getting into. That maybe it is not as special because you have done it before. Well sometimes you need a reminder to show you how special every moment can be. Don’t take for granted the moments that seem routine just because you are in your comfort zone.
Each year my kayaking buddies and I make the pilgrimage to what we consider the promised land. You see living in Utah and being a kayaker has it’s challenges. It is kind of like being a skier and living in Wisconsin. Not ideal. We have sparse water, not many large rivers and the creeks that do run during run off teach you to not flip over or you will lose your face! Luckily Utah is situated just south of what is known as the whitewater state, the land of water and wilderness, the great state of Idaho. If you live in Utah and you paddle, you either spend a lot of time in Idaho or you spend a lot of time staring at dry creek beds thinking about Idaho. For this reason we have the annual trip to the Payette drainage. 4 days of endless whitewater, hot springs, great camping, and very minimal phone reception. Paradise for paddlers if you ask me.
We always go in June when water levels are great and temperatures are high. This year I offered to give my sweet wife a break from taking on the kids alone while I run off on another adventure. I set it up so I would drop off my 4 year old at my sisters house in Boise on the way up. He would stay and play with his cousins for a few days and I would pick him up on the way home. Amazingly enough, it all worked out. So on Wednesday night we loaded the truck with all our gear to keep us entertained in paradise for 4 days and we left Salt Lake City. 4 kayaks, 2 surfboards, 4 grown men and one 4 year old named Emmett.
A couple of hours into the journey we made a pit stop. We loaded up on some snacks and drinks, made sure Emmett used the facilities and jumped right back on the road. Up to this point I had been pumping Emmett up and trying to get him stoked for the long late night drive. Telling him how he is on a “dudes road trip”. Or how we are so cool because he is on his first kayak trip. Every song that came on the radio with a good beat, Emmett would bounce his head or play a little air guitar. I could tell he felt pride in being on a legit road trip. It was at this moment that 4 grown men were blown away by the simplicity and stoke of a little dude having a brand new experience. One of the passengers looked over at Emmett and asked “How awesome is this Emmett?” Emmett keeps jamming to the tunes and replies from his car seat “As awesome as it can be.”
All four of us sat there slightly dumb founded by the simplicity of the statement. Emmett was completely right. What seemed routine to me because I had made that drive a billion times was as awesome as it could be. It didn’t matter where we were really going. We were getting after it and not letting the days go to waste. We were chasing passions and finding time in our busy lives to do something that we hold precious. It was as awesome as it can be at that moment.
The trip went off without a hitch. Emmett had a great time in Boise. We paddled as much as we could in 4 days and we all returned home to families, jobs and our busy lives. But one thing was different this time. We all appreciated the moments a little more. Thanks Emmett for sharing your 4 years of wisdom. Every high five after a rapid or smile after a soak in a hot spring or greeting each other in the morning after sleeping through a rainstorm, the question was posed “how is it going?” The reply is now always the same. “As awesome as it can be”.