About 10am in the morning on our second day on the river, I asked Becky if she could name every place we have been for our previous nine anniversaries. The list came out something like this.
3. Washington DC
6. Costa rica
7. Fisher towers
Ten years ago I was young and in love. So we got married. Most people cringe and the thought of being married so young, but for Becky and I it was ideal. We had very little commitments (except to each other) at that age and flexible jobs that allowed us to do whatever we wanted. I pretty much had a live in adventure partner. We travelled the world and looked for weekend getaways constantly.
Becky has learned that if I come up with an idea, it is better to let me go with another partner first to test it out. If it is not a complete suffer fest, then she will consider letting me take her. When I have persuaded her to be the guinea pig and join in on round one, she knows there is a high probability of unexpected hardship, and I know there is a chance of tears. But for me there is the chance of having a complete unique experience with my wife which is 10 times more special then experiencing it with my dirt bag buddies.(sorry guys).
For our 10th anniversary we tried something completely new to us both. We have been on paddle boards a handful of times but never gone much further then a couple of miles on a lake. I concluded that we had sufficient experience to take our skills to a river and rally a self support trip. Why not? What is the worst that can happen? We quickly learned that one of the worst things that can happen is up canyon winds. My torso quickly becomes a sail, posed and ready to destroy all progress. As I look to check on Becky and how she is doing, I see here kneeling on the board, head down just trying to make any forward progress. I instantly start to worry. I am not worried about our safety. I know winds change and we will be okay. I am worried that my wife, who was so willing to follow me on this adventure because I masked it as an anniversary trip, is deciding that this is the last time she joins me on one of these ideas.
We turn a corner after 2 hours of slow going and see whitecaps coming up river. We push slowly to the sandy beach and assess the situation. Luckily we landed right at a great campsite protected from the wind. We discuss the situation. “Let’s hang out here for a minute. The wind will die and we can make it to the next camp ground before dark.” I said. We hop back on the boards after about 15 min and dig in. Becky instantly starts moving upstream while I dig into the river taking the spray in face while not gaining an inch of momentum. Five minutes later we find ourselves back on the beach defeated. “I guess we were meant to sleep here tonight”.
When I wake up in doors it takes at least 20 minutes for me to really open my eyes. But when I wake up outside, my eyes seem to spring open due to the instant smile that forms on my face. Nothing gives me energy like seeing the morning sky from the comfort of my pillow. We were instantly energized by the tall red walls of the canyon and calmness of the water. We quickly broke down camp and started paddling peacefully down river. All my worries about Becky refusing to go on another adventure disappeared with every stroke of the paddle. There is not one person on this earth that could take in the view of the canyon and feel the stillness of air and think that it was a bad idea to be there. I will let the pictures describe the beauty and inspire you.
I took a risk in doing something completely new with probably the only partner that I worry about impressing, in a place that I knew nothing about. These aspects of the adventure could have totally sank the success and shut down the momentum and support for this summer long project. That is one of the risks you take when you sacrifice the not so important things to chase what matter most to you. Together with the woman of my dreams, my permanent adventure partner, we learned that if adventure could have a level of perfection, we were damn near close to it.
Gas – $85
Food – $45
Jetboat service – $90
Departed SLC – 6pm Friday
Returned – 9pm Sunday for a total of 51 hours away.
6 hours driving each way
24 hours on the river
Check out my other less lovey stories and share them with your friends. Who know you might convince them to join you.