Monthly Archives: July 2014

You can do it MOM!!!

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I always knew that Hunter would pass me as an athlete. I knew that he would turn into a 16 year old boy that eats a horse and goes faster, higher, farther that my comfort zone. What I wasn’t prepared for was when this started to happen at 9!

 

one of the few times I was ahead of Hunter

one of the few times I was ahead of Hunter

It all started with snowboarding, which he learned when he was 8. By 9 he had me beat for speed – his “tuck and go” approach to the hill leaves me in the dust. Now, I believe that I’m still a better snowboarder as I can turn on demand but I’m sure that he will conquer that this winter.

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The confluence of Mountain Biking happened last summer (Hunter turned 10) when Tim built a bunch of wooden features in our yard and Hunter just launched himself into them. Thanks to the great coaches at Boreale Biking, he has learned all of the technical foundational skills and has super natural balance, which it seems that I don’t! He can ride a curb for blocks without falling off. His zero to 60 speed acceleration is really picking up and he can beat me in campground lap races. At the moment I’ve got him hands down for endurance, downhill steeps and jumps.

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I am falling behind in kayaking thanks to the great job that Tim is doing as Hunter’s coach. Last summer Hunter learned to front surf and that gave him so much confidence. Tim’s throw bag technique let him get the feel of the waves and he just whizzed through the learning curve. This summer his goals are back surfing, spins, enders and cartwheels. During our month in Florida last winter, Hunter was in the pool everyday as part of Tim’s “rolling for dollars program”. It started with him having to do 25 rolls and then he was paid $1.00 dollar for every roll after that. This quickly became too easy so Tim taught him to do an offside roll. He got that so quickly that you couldn’t tell which was his onside or offside when he rolled. He topped out at 125 rolls one day! I should acknowledge that I used the pool time to learn my offside roll, but had a totally different experience and never reached mastery! Similar to biking, I am still ahead of Hunter on drops, but we’ll see if that lasts through our paddling trips this winter.

 

Hunter moved into the more advanced Kayak Club program this summer, which is full of teenagers. With him being 10, we weren’t sure how this was going to go so we watched the first 2 sessions rather than head off paddling ourselves. I had a major ah-ha at the 2nd session when the group was sitting in the eddy at the local spinwave and the teenagers shouted out “Hunter, show us how it’s done!”. Hunter had never gone in the spinwave before and I knew he had some anxiety about the feature. What I saw was him peel out of the eddy and into the wave without a moment’s hesitation. He side surfed, back surfed, flipped and swam but came up with a massive grin on his face. 2 weeks later and he is really comfortable in the wave, has been window shaded 3 times and just keeps going back for more.

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My ah-ha was that if I didn’t do anything different in my kayaking, he was going to be light years ahead of me very quickly- UGH…

As I sit and write this I am coming off of a weekend long women’s Downhill Mountain Biking camp with Lorraine Blancher. Thanks to CMBC, our local mtn bike club, we were able to bring Lorraine up to the Yukon and run a camp for 12 women that were looking to take their skills to the next level. I was excited but anxious going into, yet knew that I needed to do it to keep pushing my comfort levels and skill progression. It was fabulous, amazing, challenging, uncomfortable and overall exhausting AND I learned a lot, improved my skills and moved myself back out front of Hunter until next summer (I think).

 

I am also heading off to Nelson, BC on Thursday to spend a week kayaking with the great folks from Endless Adventures. In addition to strengthening my creeking skills, I am going to learn to playboat. This is exciting and scary as I spend so much of my time avoiding the need to roll, and playboating is about controlling the chaos of the water feature and immersing yourself in the foam. Very much in line with Lorraine’s mountain bike teaching – be a pilot not a passenger on your bike, I will be working on being the pilot of my kayak as well!

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One of the best things about Hunter is his humanistic nature. He is my biggest cheerleader and supporter, which is lovely and frustrating at the same time. He is the one to say “you can do it mom” when I’m debating some new feature on my bike or in my boat. He’s also the one to say “Great job!” when I have a good surf or a big jump. He’s also very generous with sharing of tips and tricks for how to do something… really? I’m getting instruction from my ten year old??? How can you get annoyed with the kid that you are working so hard to keep ahead of when he is so supportive??

I am happy that as a family we are very active and outdoor adventure oriented yet there are some days that I am exhausted by the constant pushing of my comfort zones, both at the physical and emotional level. We have a running joke called “get better” and I often contemplate the fact that better is an endless state of improvement, and I’m always there yet never there! I wonder if there is a maximum threshold that my system can take??? At the same time, I am so grateful to be living a full life. At 43, I am not ready nor willing to be left behind. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and live vicariously through anyone else.  I’m sure that there are more epic crashes and fabulous bruises in my future but I’ll take them if it means more shared memories and family time together.

Lapie River Extravaganza

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The Lapie River is five hours north east of Whitehorse (home), in the central Yukon. This is the third year that we have headed up there to catch some fun camping and paddling. Hunter didn’t want to miss his Weds night kayaking, and we were trying to fit this trip into Tim’s shift break, so we didn’t start the drive until 10pm on Wednesday night. Not a big deal when you live in the land of the midnight sun!

We hit Carmacks just after midnight and headed eastward towards Ross River – this stretch of the highway is much sketchier, with intermittent construction mixed with gravel and asphalt. We rolled into the campground at 3am and everyone happily crashed into bed.

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Tim has been wanting a trailer awning for years and we stopped in a number of places in the US last winter looking to buy one but everyone said it wasn’t a great idea and they aren’t meant for utility trailers. Tim persevered (and paid a premium) and we were able to get one through our local RV dealer in Whitehorse. It was put to use right away and we certainly enjoyed having the extra dry space when it poured rain on Thursday and Friday!

IMG_0063Thursday and Friday we did runs on the lower lapie section as a family. Our focus was on continuing to build Hunter’s river reading skills and his overall confidence, without the distraction of other paddlers. It’s predominantly a class 2 river with class 3 sections on it and you can avoid or engage as you choose.

IMG_0082I also got to try out Tim’s magical throw bag surf elevator as there was a great surf wave just beside the shore but it was a one shot deal as if you fell off, you couldn’t eddie out and try again. It was a fun and great way to really play around with positioning of things – my paddle, my boat and myself. It was also a bit freaky and took a while to get comfortable with. I did manage to roll while attached, with Tim running down the shore to manage the slack!

Saturday was a “rest day” as Hunter was tired from paddling 3 days in a row. The sun finally came out so we amused ourselves with lots of campground fun. Tim was the overall hackie sack (and soccer hackie) winner with 19 hits in a row. Hunter took the stilt prize with both distance (all the way around the campground) and difficulty (going down the dirt path to the lower campground). I seemed to take 2nd place in everything!

Hunter tackled fire building and we had lots of fun with hotdogs, banana boats and science experiments. He and Pelly (15 yr old friend) decided to see if you could put water in a glass bottle and heat it up to blow the cork. This was some good amusement and then they moved on to see what else you could do/make with fire. At this point, Tim and I made the decision that they weren’t to be left alone together during the trip as they managed to escalate each other’s ideas and we didn’t want to come back to a destroyed campsite. It was a definite glimpse into the future with a teenage boy!

IMG_0150Sunday we headed back up to the put in for the lower section – it was bright and early (9am) as we decided to paddle with the larger group. It was also Hunter’s first river run in his new Jackson Fun 2.0.

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When you take your “house” to the put-in, it takes some planning to make sure you have all the right things set up at the take out to keep wet kids happy. We make use of our trailer and Tim’s amazing custom interior – Hunter has snacks, dry clothes, a snuggly blanket and movies (thanks to the generator).

IMG_0205The sun was shining and we had a lot of fun paddling with other people. We paused at Merganzers and Tim got to show off his surf skills to an admiring audience…

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Monday brought about more sunshine and a mellow start to the day. The boys passed the time playing epically long crazy eights games and making wood carvings out of the local cottonwood bark.

We headed out for a late afternoon paddle and Hunter had fun hanging with Pelly and working to keep up to him. It is amazing how much harder he will play or paddle when there are other kids are around – I guess we are now officially “boring”!

IMG_0153  Tuesday morning came and we loaded up and headed home. Pelly came with us as he needed to be back in town and his family was staying up at the Lapie for another week running canoe courses through their company Yukan Canoe. The boys had just a little bit of fun in the back seat together…

And the scenery was as beautiful as always… another great trip for everyone!