Sunday, September 25, 2011

LOCO in Washington

A couple Thursdays ago my alarm went off at 3am.  By 3:30 I was speeding up the highway with a kayak and a stand up paddleboard on the roof and a coffee in my hand.  By the time the evening rolled around, 700 miles later, I was pulling into Slow Boat Farm in Cathlamet Washington to attend the fifth and final Lower Columbia Kayak Roundup.  It was LOCO!

I  had high hopes for this event and wasn't let down at all.  Ginni Callahan and her crew do a great job pouring tons of love and care into this event.  The vibe around the farm is absolutely wonderful - no hustle or bustle and not much to care about except for paddling with great people and great food.  Right away I ran into friends from all over the west coast and felt right at home.  For the next ten days this would be home and I did my best to stake my claim in the field among the cows and horses.  

I came up to LOCO to take two courses - Open Water Navigation and BCU Level 2 Coach Training.  The 2-day open water nav course was technical, as expected, but also quite enjoyable and engaging.  Navigation is not exactly my strongest skill so I'm always eager to pick-up more information and learn practical ways to apply it.  Steve Maynard taught the course and was excellent as usual.   In addition to the valuable training I got a chance to meet some really awesome paddlers and further strengthen existing friendships.  

After two very enjoyable days off - one spent lounging around the farm, the other spent visiting friends in Portland, It was time for coach training.  Coming into this I was skeptical of the training and was starting to lose faith with the BCU altogether.  This changed for me and finally, in the third day of training, it all clicked together and I really started to understand what the BCU is all about and how valuable it really is.  It is amazing how long it took to sink in with me, although I dare say others in my class may not have reached that lightbulb moment.  For me, the problem isn't in the delivery, it's in the writing.  When I read the publications and coursebooks from the BCU I lose focus very quickly and struggle to comprehend what it is they are trying to drive through.  Must be my learning style or perhaps I'm receiving the wrong type of sensory input.  Their program reads like a boring textbook from my college years, but when applied, it is nothing like that at all.

In the end, I'm really happy I took the course and made it to this great event.  It's sad that this was potentially the last LOCO because it's a special event.  I'm pumped up on paddling right now and I have clear direction on my next steps in the BCU program.  I've set myself some important paddling goals and plan to accomplish them one by one.  

Lily the destroyer

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