I go to the website and think hell yeah, I want to be Out Living It! I got this…how do I choose between kayaking, surfing, or climbing? First Descents looks to be a perfect paring for this PDX girl! Oh, that’s right, this version of me has been slightly modified. Well…here goes something!
I enthusiastically sign up for a week long kayaking adventure that would be filled with AYA (adolescent and young adult) cancer survivors. 18+months later, opportunity came knocking, not an ideal time for me. However, after all this waiting I was not going to let it float on by.
In my barely-getting-by mind and body, I boarded a plane. 5-hours later I found myself at beautiful Tarkio River Lodge. A large cabin, bunk house, yurt, barn, and caboose were perfectly placed to allow for maximum visibility of the river that bordered the property. The same river that would challenge me daily as I attempt to hitch a ride downstream in my kayak.
It was exhausting. Learning something new. Baking in the warm sun. Freezing in the cold water. Challenging yourself to not panic when you are upside down, attached to your kayak. Walking up a short hill when your lungs don’t work so well.
I had little energy for socializing after long days on the water. Energy was replenished by delicious healthy meals prepared by two onsite chefs. Most of my mingling took place at mealtime when I tried hard to genuinely connect with a few fellow survivors.
- First Descents has excellent staff that know the sport, can teach the sport, and provide you with confidence to trust them
ifwhen you need a rescue.
- People unfamiliar with eating healthy, mostly vegetarian meals struggle when that is the only option.
- Out of 14 survivors, only 2 of us had metastatic cancer. Permanent residence in cancer land is frankly different; I was grateful to have a buddy. I’m not so convinced the programing is set up for people like me, those of us living with cancer. I will need to mull this over for a week or two.
- I am going to learn how to make pumpkin seed milk. It was delicious!