Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Spring Melt

Growing up in arid, rural Colorado and then learning to kayak there ingrained the lesson that water was a precious resource that would come and go quickly with the seasons. This lesson also came with a special appreciation of the seasons, particularly winter. Winter meant a time to pay homage to snow for it was this form of water that would bless the rivers in the spring bringing life to all.

As someone who equally loves the snow in the mountains and the water in the rivers, this always created an internal TUG-OF-WAR. With the spring run-off and summer boating flows being all too short and sweet, I often longed for winter to cease and let the snow break free, releasing the frozen water to gravity. By this time of the year in Colorado, winter had been going for over five months and it was certain that another two months could persist. But that yearning for the dance down the river would cause a kayaker to scrape down damp riverbeds, work on their one-handed off-side pool roll, talk incessantly on the BOATER FORUMS, or road-trip for greener pastures. Then it would come – the peak of snowmelt – maybe even before your arms were in shape or before you had a chance to get your appropriate warm-up runs in. And as fast as it came, it was gone, and weekend trips to Gore and Bailey seemed all too familiar. Next thing you knew, the white stuff was falling, maybe even burying your boat until next year.

Moving to Seattle seemed almost fantasy with year-round boating and still plenty of snow to keep the balance. Although, I don’t think I could have anticipated the reaction that would follow. In the NW, the flow of the seasons almost are on a polar opposite of the arid Rockies. Daffodils were sticky their heads up over a month ago, its been less than four months since ski lifts started turning, and all of a sudden the days are getting longer and warmer.

Wait! I’m not finished with winter! One more powder day, one more storm, don’t let the frozen snow break free just yet.

As in Colorado, I tried to squeeze every moment out of the kayaking season, knowing it would come and go all too soon. Now, in the PacNW, knowing I can boat British Columbia Class IV+ until November when Robe Canyon starts running again, I find myself clinging to that last snowstorm before I retire my skis for a pfd. Some of the more single focused paddlers have long since succumbed to the warmth of the approaching season, but I still have a few missions left to complete … because here, the water will wait, the snow will soon be gone.

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Todd is showing a few Rocky Mtn boaters the local goods for another day, he should have those next cards flipped over soon. Also, I have been keeping a simple blog HERE if you are interested in some winter adventures …


Anonymous said...

As a recent transplant to Seattle from Colorado, I feel exactly the same way. I need a few more powder days damnit! -Dave

Anonymous said...

what a pretty picture you paint, shane. it's easy to paint such a utopian dreamland when you simply leave out some the uglier brush strokes.

yours truly,
leonardo davinci

Shane Robinson said...

Is it the brush strokes themselves that are ugly or is it the perspective from which the viewer stands?

Anonymous said...

very good question, shane. and one that made me ponder my own negativity towards the NW.