Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was not close with Ryan, but I wanted to tribute him in some way on this blog. The only time I boated with him was to each of us our first time on the Little White. My dad(the only one who had done the river before) had meant to join us below Gettin' Busy, but fell and injured his ribs hiking in. He hiked back out, this left only Ryan and I to figure out the river together. What I remember most was how much more comfortable Ryan was boat scouting Gettin' busy than I was. He looked right at home on the river. He was very confident committing himself to running the next pitch. This meant I would often be watching him as he peared down the next drop.   Then he would signal me down to his eddy and we would discuss the line. I was very grateful to have some of the stress lifted in this way. We both had a very successful run with each of us flipping only at Wishbone I believe.    We portaged the bigger drops, but just getting in there, just the two of us, and figuring out the run together was a great experience. It was very strange hearing he was gone.
I always knew in the back of my head there was a good chance someone I knew, or myself, could very well die kayaking. It was not pleasant having that thought come to fruition. My thoughts have been recently turning to Ryan now and then, wondering about his family, wondering what his final moments were like, questioning if I should be in a sport where success means you are still alive at the end of the run. I know I am not going to give it up, it is too ingrained in who I am, but this will definitely keep me more attentive and safety cautious. So rest in peace Ryan, hopefully we have all learned from your tragedy.                                            Here is a short video I made some time ago from our first time down the river that eventually took his life.