September 4th, 2012

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Sexism on the River

I am a river runner. From way back. My father got me started, in canoes first. When I was very small he would put me in the bow of the canoe, tell me to paddle, and surf the canoe in river waves. We used to camp by creeks up on the plateau, and he'd let us take the insulite pads that we slept on and go hiking up the stream to float back down on the thin beige mats. I got my first kayak when I was 11. It was a cut-down Mark 4. I was already too big for it, or at least, it was uncomfortable and I always got fiberglass in my arms and legs when I used it. I only used it a few times, once when I got hypothermic on the Nantahala and had to be plowed to shore by my dad's canoe, and once when I got tangled in vines on the Green and completely panicked. I didn't paddle for several years recovering from these experiences.
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