Not enough participants. Low water level. Extremely hot temps. Nearby Idaho wild fires. Crazy weeks leading up to the trip (Calgary flooding, an apartment evacuation and 2 car accidents).
We really weren’t sure if this year’s Survive & Thrive Expeditions kayaking trip on our favorite river, the Owyhee, was going to run. Like most years, there were many obstacles to overcome and barriers in the way of the trip prep and execution running smoothly. However, we were all in when, after having only 6 people on Thursday morning confirmed, we had 10 people coming and flight itineraries in hand Thursday night! We were, for the fifth year in a row, Owyhee River-bound with a group of incredible young adult cancer survivors and a few of their supporters.
We arrived in Boise, Idaho and connected with the rest of the group in the airport before hitting the road for Rome, Oregon – literally the middle of nowhere – where we put on the river. It was a mixed, eclectic group from the personalities down to the places people were in throughout their cancer journeys. I love when a group this diverse connects and bonds in a meaningful way, and watching that happen on the river from the first semi-awkward introductions to the deep connection by the end of the trip is such an amazing process… I’m privileged to be part of that transformation and always anticipate it happening every trip!
Every day there were plenty of fun moments on the water – which was awesome despite the scary-low water level! It was enough to get through without getting too stuck but still challenging enough without too many consequences in the rapids.
We reveled in the beauty of the Green Dragon Canyon, the third deepest in the US, and drank in the surroundings with intensity. We hype up this canyon and it does NOT disappoint.
We had a great time on the main hike we always do as we headed up Chalk Dome in the morning light.
There was a 24 hour solo time, many carbs (tortillas upon tortillas! and oh, the cheese! and the snacks that taste so delicious when you pull a few 18 hour days from waking to sleeping and the combos of food that taste best after long days of paddling) and lots of laughter. It was a great trip and, as usual, I learned so much from those that came on it and opened up, being vulnerable and sharing their stories.
To everyone who came on the trip, supporters and survivors alike, thank you for participating! For cliff jumping and waking up early, for going along with the program and schedule even though it might not have been what you’re used to, for pushing through fatigue and other side effects and obstacles from your cancer journeys to be a part of an amazing week. And another thanks to Paul and Kami from YD Adventures Idaho for the wisdom, the encouragement, the insight, the affirmation and the great guidance on the river and in life!
Thanks also to Mikey, who put a lot of effort into the trip logistics and to all those who prayed us down the river! We are blessed and supported by such an amazing community near and far.
I’m so glad this Owyhee that almost wasn’t… was! There are more stories, more pictures and a video that will be made soon to recap the week, but I’ll leave it here for now. It’s back to work, back in the gym, back in our apartment and back to some sort of routine for a while before we’re off on another river for another adventure in 2 weeks!
Check ya later from the gym or our little space in downtown Calgary. Until then, live well & be well, friends.