Determination mixed with fear seems to be an uncertain mix.
Arrived at the border control and asked about the purpose of my visit- kayaking the Yukon….so you must be olympic standard then.. Nope, just thought it looked fun.
The reality is draping over me with each shard of appreciation I pick up making this much more than I originally envisaged. (My attempt at creative writing, think I’ll stick with just words in a rough order).
Don’t read a learning to kayak book 5 days before you take on a 500 mile kayak race. The ISPN number made more sense than what the author was writing about. I did understand lesson one though, that rings quite clear: unless you are experienced, never kayak alone and know you limitations.
I think a few people might be thinking I’m making a big deal out of what I’m going to try, to make people interested and give some weight to this challenge. I’m not. I have 4 pressing concerns:
1. Not finishing the race, I don’t know if I’m quick enough to finish in time. If I’m over 84hrs the safety boats go home and I’m on my own. It’ll be heart breaking to fail again.
2. Hypothermia. I’ve suffered this before and it is horrible. I don’t want my body to shut down in the middle of the Yukon. This is frightening. I’m feeling better about this as I’ve got so many warm clothes and know to watch out for it. Prepare for it, so I don’t face it. The weather isn’t looking great and from past races, this is why people scratch. I don’t want to fall foul from a past mistake. I need to learn and I’m determine to learn from Latvia.
3. Bears. People have talked about bears and yeah to a far extent I may have brought the issue up myself. But this is a real concern, and it really isn’t a joke as much as people make light of it. Bears can kill. We’re not talking about Pudsey, Yogi or cambert. You can’t reason with a bear, it doesn’t speak, it growls.
Run- no their to fast.
Fight- too strong.
Play dead- be at their mercy.
Stay away – stay in the river and keep as far away as possible.
4. Pride. This is the only issue I can control and the most worrying. Giving up for me isn’t an option and I know from my time in Latvia, the moment you call it a day, 2hrs later you are crying to be back in that hell hole, because you forget how bad it was. I’ve come here to kayak and finish the Yukon, and as long as my body can do it I will carry on. My hands will bleed, pins and needles will clear all feeling from my legs, my back will stiffen up, the brain will play tricks and yet I have to carry on. I don’t know where or what the redline will look like, but I will keep going as long as I’m safe. Fatigue won’t stop me, discomfort won’t stop me, only the finishline will. Well that’s my hope.
But wait, hold on. There are too many negatives there. I have a purpose- for the women of the Congo, which is why I’m here. Yeah, I like an adventure but this wouldn’t have happened but for the desire to shine a light on the congo by trying to prick peoples imagination by going a little bit further and pushing that bit more. I hope by now my friends now about the Congo, but the issue hasn’t gone away and that’s why I’m still going.
The race will be unbelieveable, because I will make it that way. No negative thoughts, just realism and preparation so when the paddle gets wet, the boat gets soaked and my frown tips upside down I’ll laugh it off, splash myself and carry on.
A lot of what I write is for my own diary but I never bother scribbling it down and I like having it on this thing to reflect on. Some might think it’s bollocks, self indulgent crap but these are my thoughts and by getting this stuff down it doesn’t help clear the mind and make me focus on what I’m doing and why.
Completely unrelated. But quite funny, man with Discman going mental because of turbulance on the flight. “I thought this was bloody shock proof…sony, I should ‘ave got a Goodmans”.
Buy a shockproof, waterproof and bomb proof camera. Assistant in Dixon’s tells me how great it is, as I pay she tells me its a good idea to buy a case to protect it.