Tragically Serious

As a preamble to this post, I want to acknowledge the fact that usually my blog posts are almost completely untrue. I mean, they will include facts, but I will usually present them in a quite obviously biased and often intentionally confusing manner which makes the post almost entirely fictitious. My intention is that this post will not be like that.

What I'm working my way down to is this. A fellow paddler lost his life while paddling with myself and Eric Bissel. His name was Drew Hunter. We were running a class IV section of Black Gore Creek, called the Fish Ladders. This was Drew's introduction to creekboating, and it was a step that he was ready to make. Basically, what happened was that about halfway down the run, Drew missed a boof, and got stuck in a hole. He had a rougher swim than we expected, and near the bottom of the series of drops, he hit his head, which probably knocked him unconscious. We had a reasonable safety setup in place, and tried unsuccessfully to get a rope to him many times before he hit his head. Right after he hit his head, we did get a rope to him, right across his chest, but by that point it was too late; he didn't respond at all, not even turning his head towards me. He disappeared downstream, and was only found thanks to the heroic efforts of Search and Rescue.

Eric and I wrote a very detailed narrative of the accident, and I am trying to figure out how to upload the pdf file to blogger. In the meantime, I have selected a few photos from this weekend.

Leif and Eric on the Fish Ladders section, having a blast. I think everyone would agree that Drew would not want this tragedy to deter anyone from kayaking. Let it be a reminder to practice the most thorough safety techniques possible, but as a tribute to Drew's life, please, please, continue to have fun out there.

Leif and Drew headed up to the putin.

Drew passed away in a beautiful place, while doing one of the many sports that he loved. I tried to get a sense of the beauty that with this photo.

On saturday, Eric, Natalie and I retrieved Drew's boat from the spot where it had pinned, just upstream of the gorge. We took pride in the rigorously safe manner in which we unpinned the boat. For example, note that there is a rope attached to me, so that I would be safe in the (unlikely) event that I slipped while attaching the second rope to the grabloop of the boat. All in all, it was a gratifying amount of preparation for about 5 seconds of pulling. Everything went perfectly smoothly.

Eric and I, with Drew's boat.

You will be sorely missed, Drew.


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