First Ascent kayaker Darin McQuoid has run burly rivers in Japan, hucked huge waterfalls in Southern Oregon and travelled the world in search of epic whitewater. But none of it compared to the challenge of coaching twenty-two boys from Falling Creek Camp for a week in Colorado. McQuoid survived the adolescent energy and emerged, relatively unscathed, with this report. –EB Editor
Words and Images by Darin McQuoid
Rain patters on the fly of my Stargazer. It rains every day in this desert. Wild, primeval cries pierce the air. I feel slightly out of place just as the rain is juxtaposed with the desert scenery.
Backtrack a few months. I receive a request to guest coach at Falling Creek Camp, which is based out of North Carolina. Every year they take their advanced students on a road-trip, and this year the destination is Colorado. I have no burning desire to coach kayaking when I could be exploring challenging rivers, but I remember getting introduced to outdoor adventure at summer camp. Proud to be a drug-free athlete, this is a great opportunity to be a role-model. So I commit to something more challenging than many expeditions; a week living with twenty-two boys.
“Good morning Colorado!” shouts Australian whitewater legend, Jez, each morning. Thanks to dedicated camp staff, everyone has an unforgettable week: wild rivers, bighorn sheep, thunderstorms, junk food overdosing and glamorous sunsets plus thousands of questions, as many laughs, a few tears and milk booties. It’s a kayaking tradition to drink a beverage from a booty for each swim, and we sustain a few because making mistakes is part of progressing. All that is gold does not glitter. We all grown and learn. The week is over in the blink of an eye; time well spent.
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