Cape Falcon Kayak fall update 2012

First,  to answer the question that I'm sure half of America has been on the edge of their seat wondering.....     No,  I did not kill an elk this year.    At the conclusion of twenty consecutive days of stalking the coastal forests with minimal nourishment and maximal exertion,   I returned home without the trophy that would have made for a darn fine story,  and if you read this site you know that I enjoy the story every bit as much as the activity itself.    I did,  however,  have some of the most profound experiences of my life,  and my connection with the natural world deepend to level that I didn't know was possible.    Those mornings,  sitting in the dark,  covered in mud,  still as ghost with thousand pound elk crashing through the brush mere yards away from my face,  were nothing short of breathtaking.   For comparison,  dropping into a fifteen foot,  make it or die, wave in a surf kayak,  doesn't even come close to comparing to the sheer adrenaline of having a big bull elk come in fast to 10 yards,  stop,  and tip his horns down.   The conditions were wrong though,  and I held my shot,  then, and other times when I probably should have released,  which is infinately preferrable to to the opposite.   I just feel privileged to have gotten so close to them so many times,  and that intimacy of interaction has left me with an abiding love for these wild creatures.   They are so beautiful,  it's hard to feel too bad about not killing one.

I returned to the my normal life with eyes just a little wider,  ears just a little sharper,  and the weird habit of freezing in place at random moments.    Reintigration was difficult but within a couple days I was cutting red cedar and bending white oak and generally prepping like a crazy person to pay for my month long hiatus.    This year I was fortunate to be invited to teach at the Delmarva paddlers retreat in Lewes, Delaware,  where we built six kayaks in six days and launched them on Rehoboth bay to coincide with the launch of the retreat.   Aside from losing my computer to a thunder storm (which sounds so much better than I left it in the rain like an idiot)  things went over really well,  and at the retreat itself I had the opportunity to teach paddling for a couple days.   It made me remember how much I love teaching kayaking,  and reminded me that I should probably do something with that skill.    My thoughts drift back to the video camera and the editing program I taught myself to use last year.  I sincerly hope I can find the time and make good on last winters promise to get some video up.

Back at the farm here I'm still busting butt to finish out the season,  I have a construction job to complete and then a full class to teach in Georgia and then I can finally take a break and make a plan for the coming year.    As usual I'm having a hard time balancing my commitment to local food with my passion for kayaking.   My girlfriend Lee is doing an amazing job with the new restaurant Dinner, at the Nehalem River Inn,  although as you can imagine,  I seldom see her anymore.    This December and January I am availing myself to her completely for a full-on remodel of the space and I'm thinking that come spring,  her delicious farm-fresh cusine is going to look even better on thick slab tables,  made from logs salvaged by kayak,  and milled with a chainsaw.    If I've learned anything, it's that you can't buy soul,  you have to earn it.  

Antique 1920's   hand cut 1/2 carat diamond set in hand carved white gold.  I had Lee pick out her own ring.

Speaking of Lee,  I suppose this would be as good a time as any to announce that we are tying the knot.   The last year with her has been a revelation in how relationships are supposed to work,  and there is noone I'd rather spend the rest of my life tormenting with my innumerable crazy schemes.    Attractive, capable, tolerant, and the best cook I've ever met,  one could do a lot worse.    We're tentatively considering a ceremony next summer when the farm is in full bloom.  

Sitting in the dark right now in Lee's dining room,  the first heavy rains of fall lash the windows and I feel that familiar pulse in my heart,  the affinity for water dripping off of trees, draining in rivulets that become creeks, that feed into rivers, over boulders and waterfalls to form the architecture of my other passion,  whitewater.   I've got a full day today,  too full,  a solid 12 hours of work at least,  but that should never, ever interfere with the imperative to chase one's bliss,  so I'm going to wrap this up for now,  zip into my leaky old drysuit,  and head up the river for a little bit of crack-of-dawn solo class 4,   because at it's elemental core,  that's what this site is all about.   Paddling.  

The schedule for 2013 is online now,  Port Townsend and Portland classes are open for signups.    I hope to see you in the coming year to share the farm,  the boats,  and my unique brand of poor humor.    Take care.


Bonus:   Here are some of my favorite photos from late summer and fall,  in random order.

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