Darn Those Fast Learners!


If you know me, then you know from the title that this is about someone else :-P Actually it is about my brother. Mike is seven years younger than I and is one of those guys that picks up everything he does quickly. I’ve had him rock and ice climbing – he got me into scuba. So now I’m throwing him in my wifes Java and having him bounce around in rivers.

He visits us from Seattle about twice each year and each time I’ve been getting him out to a pond or a pool at the Gutter and working on paddling basics. He learned to roll in 20 minutes at a pond by our house. So his next visit I took him to the Gutter and had him working on strokes and ferrying. A cold swim this spring convinced him to take time on his first roll and make it count. But he is also not afraid to hang in there and crank out 4 or 5 attempts.

So he visits this last week and we slated Friday, Saturday and Sunday to go and paddle. He has been begging me to run the Main Payette, but I’ve wanted it to be a good experience for him so I have balked until Friday when we were at the Gutter working on ferrying and eddy skills. He had one swim but really began to nail the eddy lines. He rolled a lot at first, but the got pretty clean until he got tired.

Saturday I decided to run him down the lower section from the bottom of AMF to the JetBoat ramp and that gave us some mild class IIs and one class III at the end. Worked him on eddy turns and even catching smaller eddies behind rocks in the middle of the river. Mike caught a few edges here and there, but did great really. My son Troy lead him down Climax and Mike didn’t follow the line close enough, hit a hole sideways, flipped and ran about half the rapid looking up. After getting knocked over by a wave on his second roll attempt, he did make his fourth. No swims which is better than I can say for myself on my first 3 runs down Climax! OK, he’s ready for the Main.

Sunday – woke to clouds and a little rain (which by the way put out most of the fires in the state!) but that doesn’t dampen Mikes ‘the show must go on’ attitude. Mike and I hit the road with my two boys – Troy (12) and Tyler (15) – and we slipped into drytops (for the first time in about 3-1/2 months!) just below GoLeft at Mile Post 77. Troy jumps into the lead with Mike following. Mike does well through the first three small II’s and then LunchCounter, Bennetts Rock and Constriction put a smile on his face. He finally flips below Mikes Hole in some swirly water, rolls up on an eddy line only to flip again, but busts out another roll and comes up smiling.

At MixMaster I called Tyler in closer to help clean up any boats, paddles, or his Uncle. Mike styled MixMaster and told me to make it a little harder on him. OK, we’re going to boof the rock on the right of Monicas Rock. He missed the line a little and slipped into the hole on the side of the rock – a flip and a roll. Another flip at the bottom of AMF, but again makes his roll. One more flip on the way to the take out in which he found out why we wear helmets – bounced off a couple of rocks and skinned some knuckles, but rolled up on attempt three.

So basically a little more work on edges and lines and Mike will be good to go – time to start having him reading water and leading.

So my little brother is a fast learner – must me nice….

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