Written by: Rita Morse
Photographs by: Erin Wheat
My daughter, Carolyn, is the Marketing Design Lead for Oru Kayak which sponsored an all women's kayak and camping trip down the Black Canyon Water Trail in Nevada. Even though the other invitees were young, accomplished athletes, journalists, outdoor photographers and reps from outdoor gear companies, one of the officers of Oru suggested to Carolyn that she bring me along on the trip for a mother daughter adventure.
I am 58 years old, retiring from a long time career in the commercial insurance world and contemplating the next phase of my life. I have many ideas and interests to pursue but I know one thing for sure. I want to push myself to expand my world, not make it more narrow. I know that sometimes the way to grow is to push outside of one's comfort zone. So, when I received the generous offer from Oru to include me on an all women adventure on the Black Canyon Water Trail, I quickly accepted the invitation without much thought. Not only was I going to spend special time with Carolyn, but I felt I was being provided a perfect gift to help me jump out of the gate and begin my new lifestyle.
On a beautiful clear morning, we launched our Bay ST's fully loaded with camping gear, clothing, and food at the base of the Hoover Dam to begin our 2-day,12 mile paddle down the river. From the start, I felt so privileged to be in my kayak at the base of the Hoover Dam. The view of the dam in one direction and the Black Canyon in the other direction was simply breathtaking. As we traversed the crystal clear emerald green water through the beautiful canyon, we made stops along the way to venture deeper into the canyon and experienced hot caves, waterfalls, beautiful vistas and so many hot springs to dip into.
The site of nine graceful white kayaks each filled with a fit, young woman outfitted in gear provided by Stio, Teva and Dragon eyewear caught the attention of people as we paddled by or landed at a beach. One woman shouted out to us “Are those the foldable kayaks. They are beautiful. I am jealous!”. One person asked us if we
were from a church group. He must have thought I was the chaperone!
Natalie Warren, our very seasoned guide, provided calm direction and fantastic meals every step of the way. She even played the ukulele as our wake-up call each morning. It was inspiring and emotional for me to listen to each of these smart woman’s stories and how they've combined their passions with their careers.
As far as comfort zone and challenge, paddling the distance in the kayak felt great. Sleeping on the rocky ground in a tent with 3 other people and the lack of facilities at our second campsite was definitely out of my comfort zone. And although my attack on the steep and slippery inclines was a bit more tentative than the rest of the group, I felt I kept pace and joined in every hike. My one “failure” was a short rope climb between two massive rocks with water rushing down between the rocks. I was good on Step 1, Step 2 but my body decided to sway too far to the right and I had to slide back down the rope. I was encouraged to try again but had a brief sense of sanity in realizing if I hurt myself, it would affect the whole group. So, I told them to venture on without me and that I would see them back at the bottom of the trail. I was a bit disappointed in myself but I looked down at my feet and realized how lucky I was in that moment to be standing in a hot spring pool with the place to myself. I grasped the opportunity and literally soaked it all in for awhile, then got up and slowly headed back down the trail my own way, in my own time. By giving in a bit to myself was equally out of my comfort zone and a good moment.
My thanks to Oru Kayak for the invite and fabulous experience. Thank you to all the women on the trip for providing their support and encouragement to me throughout the weekend.