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A Wet Return Home from New Zealand…

(Photo by Will Stubblefield)

The humming, tinkering and buzzing sounds coming from within, outside and/or inside an airplane is never the most comforting sound to try to fall asleep to.  I prefer falling asleep to rain.  Or snow.  Snow’s quite different though, because usually when it’s snowing, it’s really quiet outside.  So when it snows, is there really a sound to it?  Maybe if it’s snowing really massive snowflakes, or if you consider silence a sound.  Which, I guess I would…consider silence a sound, that is.  Either way, anything would’ve been better than the plane.  

But this isn’t a story about the plane ride back from New Zealand, or even about New Zealand, this is a story about the wonderous liquid I arrived to when I returned from my year abroad…

“What are you afraid of…to wake up and find out this is what dreams are made of?” I remember talking to my Mom about returning home after being gone such a long time and saying, “What would really make it all good, would be to return and have the Watauga and Linville and all my favorite runs to be running!” Zog Dogg and I living in a previously-had dream of mine, gearing up with the boys in our winter-wonderland…a far cry from the NZ summer I had just grown used to again…and for some reason just left! (Photo by Will Stubblefield)

I had actually never paddled the Doe River (TN), even with its next-door-neighbor-status/local to the Taugs and Elk.  I guess it was appropriate to come back and within a week jump on a new run in the area.  After all, one thing that became painfully clear while overseas, was how little I’d seen of my own Motherland!  That’s me, snatching me up one of dem boof strokes in one helluva gorgeous setting.  (Photo by Will Stubblefield)

Getting back in the Magnum 72 was quite interesting after leaving my 80 in NZ.  At first apprehensive, I was soon reminded why I fell in love with this boat even before the Big Boi came out.  Take one or two well-placed strokes, and the rest she takes care of for ya!  Ya Dig?  (Photo by Will Stubblefield)

After getting off the Doe, my mate Will and I decided that because of the recent rain-then-snow weather event, it would be mighty fun to see the Watauga Gorge all covered in fluffy whiteness as well.  The extra water helped make our dusk-patrol run a reality, as well as open up a few “alternative” lines.  Here I am, pulling up on a delayed boof on the Vail of Stateline Falls.  Note the moon, well into its nightly journey cross the sky!  (Photo by Will Stubblefield)

Why is it when you’re cold, often times you look sad?  Does being cold automatically mean that you’re also bummed out?  Probably not if yer a skier…or trying to build an igloo.  In this freeze frame of time, I happened to be neither a skier, trying to build an igloo, nor cold…even though one could guess (judging by this picture) I was one or all three.  The spot I’m sitting in is one of my favorite places to sit in all of North Carolina.  When I sit in that spot I know a couple of things…A) That I’m about to run one of my favorite rivers EVER (The Ville) and B) That I’m about to spend the day with some of my best friends. (Photo by Will Stubbs)

This boof is a good example of exactly why the Linville is one of my favorite rivers around.  There’s heaps of these kind of boofs all up, down and every which way on the Ville, AND they all have stunning views! (Photo by Will Stubbs)

For example, from the very same spot that the previous picture was taken, looking up, this picture was taken!  While the depth and vastness of the river valley are not illustrated to their full potential, it gives you an idea of the largeness of power the river emits through its geology.  Playing Cat and Mouse with one of my favorite mice…Adam Herzog. (Photo by Stubbs)

The last two days before classes started were spent on the local solid, the Watauga.  The Taugs is one of those runs that will forever be amazing…at high, medium and low water…in a long, short or play boat!  I can’t think of a better boat to go for my first play-run down the Taugs than my Nitro, (which I was lucky enough to find in my mate’s basement upon arrival in Boone!) The river is full of all sorts of different style ledges, all of which encourage some sort of boat manuev-a-twist action off of. (Photo by Stubbs)

Mad props out to Will Stubblefield, Will Stubbs and Stubbs for the pictures in this Blig-o-blang post!

Until next time…KIA KAHA!!!


(Kia Kaha pic by my sis, Annie Lambla)

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