Well, what can I say?! After months of preparing for Kayaking in the French Alps, it’s now over and I’m sitting in a car, chocked full of the cold, heading back for the ferry from Calais.
Despite being hit with the cold 3 days in, I managed most of the trips, taking a full day off at my worst, but back on the river the next day, taking things slow.
The experience of kayaking a river I’ve never paddled before is always an exhilarating and challenging one, however, kayaking a new river in the Alps is rather more intense! The selection of rivers I paddled ranged from Grade 2 to 4+, keeping the boat pointing forward in fast flowing bends in picturesque gorges on the Upper Guisaine, boofing over intimidating pour overs, catching eddies when and wherever possible to let my heart return to my chest on the Braincon Gorge…there were so many amazing rivers!
My stand out moments of huge achievement or an audible whoop of elation (apart from meeting a baby donkey and all the cows with bells on!):
1.My capsize then roll into a hole, then rolling back out of it.. without a nose clip
2. Running the Upper Guisaine a second time and feeling totally comfortable, in control and snapping into eddies whenever I wanted
3. Getting half way down the Braincon Gorge, realising I got this shit, and laughing manically because I was enjoying myself so much.
4. Finally feeling the sensation of being thrown up and over a wave while ferry gliding across the Rabioux Wave…it was freaking awesome!
5. Everything about the Ubaye Race Course. It was huge volume waves and boiling eddie lines but I kept cool and in control.
6. BOOFING OFF A WAVE!!!
I’ve gained so much in the week we’ve been here. It’s given me much to work on but has also proved without a doubt that I am hugely capable, the months of pushing myself was totally worth it and that I should most definitely trust my abilities with far more conviction than I do.
Until next time France.