By Kirsten Frickle, CW Member
I had a few seasons of whitewater under my belt, but broke my shoulder and tore my rotator cuff a year earlier (in a kayaking incident, of course) and had become very timid in my boat. I was hoping to regain some confidence and get more comfortable in class III water.
I came to training camp loosely acquainted with Laurie Maciag, Elizabeth Austen, and a couple other Boating Betties I had met at one of the clinics in Golden. By the end of the weekend, I met at least 100 new people and made fifteen to twenty wonderful, new friends.
Friday evening I volunteered to help at the check-in table, which gave me the opportunity to meet almost everyone in attendance. Participants rolled in from early afternoon until the wee hours of the morning. Some people were living it up in cabins, others brought their campers and trailers, and many just pitched a tent.
Saturday morning we aligned with our classes, geared up, and got on the water. I registered for the level-up class, which was exactly what I needed. After practicing ferries, peel outs, and eddy turns, we reviewed and self-critiqued our performance, which was captured on video. Later that afternoon, we moved into bigger water and practiced eddy hopping and picking our lines (a few of us also practiced swimming).
The camaraderie and support were amazing! Several people in our group had trepidation in the beginning, but were crushing it by the end of the day. We all improved our skills and confidence. We were all also very hungry and ate a lot that evening.
Sunday morning there was a lot of shuffling between classes. I was thinking I was going to take it easy on a class II cruise, but then an impromptu class III Pinnacle to Parkdale run was organized and my classmate Jessie Gunter peer-pressured me into joining, "You came here to step it up a level, so step up" (or something to that effect).
Training camp was the beginning of a busy boating season. Thanks to all the new friends I made, I was never without a group to paddle with. I went on several of the Colorado Whitewater cruises (Poudre, Rio Grande, Colorado, South Platte, and Blue) and many other trips with my new CW buddies. My husband and I struck out on our own to the Arkansas, Animas, Colorado, Gunnison, Taylor, and Snake (WY). Confidence attained!
Another highlight of training camp was the raffle. Several generous sponsors donated fabulous prizes (of which I didn't win any, but the money still went to a good cause). And there was food. And cupcakes. But the best part was all the awesome people! I can't wait 'til this year's camp!
Photos by Kirsten Frickle.
Kirsten Frickle is Minnesota transplant and now lives in Fairplay, Colorado. In 2015 she was first-year training camp attendee.
The 2016 Training Camp takes place May 20-22 in Cotopaxi. Register by March 13 to take advantage of the early bird price of $125. Go tohttp://coloradowhitewater.org/TrainingCampEvents for more information.
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