in this post I will copy paste my posts from Facebook, and then add to them like I did after the june trip to #campmakadream . this trip was with #firstdescents kayaking in Jackson Wyoming! I met people from californa, Minnesota, illinoise, iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, texas and even one from my area 🙂 ( she needs prayers, thoughts, good vibes, whichever you wish to send as she unfortunately had to leave early and scans determined she has relapsed). I miss my #wolfpack , as we learned kayaking one of our sounds was howling to each other to help get us geared up to go. we all had nicknames! mine was tiedye , then we had cobalt, shotgun, chcemosabe, token, smooves, boat drinks, lotus, bandit, hungry, doc, eye candy,our volunteers / camp moms and sisters were jams, moose, cheese,pickles, patch, coach, jump,and our chefs were chamomile and aj and our kayaking instructors were wild thing, speed monkey ( who turned into sea monkey and kept adapting), brown claw and dubie. #rendezvous in Jackson is the place to go! they were awesome. will include their links in my post with the pictures.
Ok: on with the post followed by more!
Day one, we got lunch and introduced ourselves(my nickname was down to tyedye or starburst and tyedye won) then we got to camp and got the chance to meet other campers as they arrived, hanging out all afternoon. We get our wetsuit gear tomorrow bright and early and learn how to kayak in a nearby lake. We were also told beware of bears and moose. Apparently bears are large dogs and will not attack if not threatrened, but moose will chase you down if are having a bad day and just got hit by a horsefly. So no wildlife selfies unless it’s with a statue, which they have plenty of.
I happened to be wearing a tye dye shirt, which I made in june at #makadream . and talking about my art therapy and helping others, it stuck. I was super excited to tell them about makadream as they hadn’t heard of it!! it was also exciting to meet someone who had my diagnosis. granted his treatment was different, but we still had some similarities such as not being believed, having severe pain, etc.
Day 2! We stopped at an outfitters and were borrowed gear for the week, booties wet suit life vest boat skirt wind jacket helmet, you name it! Then we drove to a lake past the titen mountains and learned to kayak with whitewater kayaks 🙂 they helped adjust each of us so we were comfy and then proceeded to dunk us under the water. We had to practice exiting the boat to be comfortable when we fell over on the rapids. We then learned how to steer and played water games 🙂. Found out we have a horse and mule ranch Next door so had to go make friends. The one with me kept poking me with its head, biggest mule I’ve ever seen! Need to find me some local horsies to ride as physical therapy, losen these stuff joints. Next is bonfire and more bonding. Then sleep!
– seriously, largest mule I have ever seen! bigger then the horses in its pen. and they weren’t ponys. the group was amazing though, they outfitted us in the gear and borrowed it and boats to each of us for the whole week, were with us every step of the way. I had a rough first day, we had to be dunked under water to practice water exits in the lake so we would know what to do when it happened on the river. I freaked out and bawled for like 20 minutes because I couldn’t breath ( didn’t take the breath, was super anxious) brought me back to the first day o f chemo when I couldn’t breath and needed an epi pen. didn’t know what was happening or where that nurse was , slow motion kind of thing. I was able to keep dunking though and figure out how to take that breath 🙂 we called it the hand of god technique, know that someone would be there to lift us up while we were waiting so we wouldn’t have to exit and dump the boat. on the side of the river.
Day 3. Spent the day on the river going 9 miles! Had a picnic lunch half way through learning the curves of a beginner river, only tipped over once after a rough patch 🙂. Whitewater kayaking is so much cooler then swimming or canoeing! We do have a participant who’s also the photographer, so more pics will be available after camp from on the lake.
Scary situation last night. One of our ladies woke me up in severe pain so I left her with the others to go get a house mom, long story short she ended up going to the er for scans and flight lifted to a bigger hospital in Idaho falls because she has relapsed. Please keep her in your thoughts.
– that first day was amazing! we went on the snake river, deep and wide with small wavy areas and swirly areas. the swirly areas were the ones to worry about. always lean in people! and don’t stop paddling. that night was when our fellow lady woke me up with head pain, and after being examined went to the er for pain management and ended up flying out to a bigger hospital to meet her parents. shes in rough shape, so again please send thoughts her way.
Day 4: Hiked a mountain today! Ate a picnic lunch by a waterfall. Was not the whole mountain, but a good half hours worth uphill.our photographer borrowed out his walking sticks so he could take photos instead(makes walking so much easier! Need one of my own now, who wants to hit up some hiking when I come home?). During lunch we used my marykay selfie stick to make some memories 🙂. Afterwards went shopping and ate icecream in town before returning to camp to a random dance party before dinner. Bonfire time again and now sleep, back to kayaking tomorrow.
– yay mountain! was not prepared for that. thought it would be a flat hike, but nope up a mountain. definitely needed that walking stick, made such a difference, going to have to buy my own pair! ( who wants to go hiking? or kayaking?). bonfires were nice, we hung out together, answered questions about why we were there, what the river taught us, and how we handled situations such as relapse or bad news. our amazing chefs chamomile and aj brought us deserts and then sat with us to join the circle 🙂 all homemade non gmo organic food. mmmmmm.
Day 5. More kayaking! We started at the camps river entrance, very shallow water, lots of rocks! Was a challenge but after tipping once I was flyin over those rocks and ledges! Arms are ready to fall off but that’s ok. We stopped on a large Rocky area/beach for lunch and those rocks were perfect for laying on, nice and warm. And I found a vertebrae bone!!! Yay for souvenir hehe. On the final stretch a bunch of us wrapped together and floated down the river until we came upon… a hot spring! So of course I Sat in the hot spring (which smells like sulfur but felt amazing) thendunked in the cold fresh water to try clearing the smell. Once back at the camp we went swimming in our pool ( a salt water pool instead of chlorine) and then our instructors taught us how to self flip in the pool and showed off their awesome skills! Our chefs then rang the dinner bell and showed us the 37 homemade pizzas for dinner! Along with salad and homemade dressing. We have eaten very well this week. During bonfire chats I recieved the offwater award! ( pink flower necklace) for being helpful with paddles today , helping out lady in crisis the other night and always smiling and keeping track of this trip on Facebook, (list goes on and I have to give it away to another tomorrow night). Tomorrow’s sad as it’s the last day of kayaking frown emoticon but my arms are happy, and my new friends and I are connecting on fb to keep in touch. Tomorrow’s river is a canyon, fingers crossed for me and the group through those rapids!
– was not to excited about those rocks, and now I have the bruises as proof I did it . first big crashing wave I was down for the count. but I learned quickly! don’t stop paddling and lean into the scariness.
Day 6. Final day, was awesome but sad. Started out bright and early to the big or level 3 rapids. I got squashed at the first turn. But I was then given the option to stay in my kayak or sit in one of the ducky boats(big inflatable kayak) with a camp mom or myself or a fellow participant, or the big giant Cleopatra float. I chose to sit with a fellow participant, and after a few minor communication issues we had it down! Was awesome riding the waves, still got hit cause the…y were 6 footers, but not near like when I was in the tiny kayak. We lunched on a giant rock /Sandy area in between rapids, and then continued on through the big kahhuna and the graduation rapid. We each went one by one down our own rapid with no assistance (but the guides were about every 20 feet alongside it just in case) and we all rocked it! (including us in the double, which those big ones are not easy to maneuver, can’t use our hip power, it’s all upper body strength. I now have arms of steel). After rafting we had to hike up a partial mountain to the vans, had a dance party in the lot and came back to camp for relax time. We wrote Thankyou cards to anonymous donors, packed up and added each other on Facebook. During bonfire time we gave away our awards and did some traditions. One was tying a string around each others wrist to help keep the good spirits with us during our travels and give kind words from our week to the one receiving the string. Then we went across camp to a kayak next to candles in cups and each put a candle in the kayak filled with water for ones we have lost. We said good byes to each other after moments of silence and then went back to lodge for a slideshow from our photographer, whom is amazing! We celebrated a few birthdays happening this week for dessert and then headed to bed to finish packing and sleep. Flight out is early afternoon tomorrow, arrive sometime at night.
this week was amazing. made a new family with my wolfpack, delivered luggage to our local friend and will be visiting her later this week, and learned to kayak in Wyoming!!!!! how awesome is that? if your in the Milwaukee area / Midwest, and kayak comment here 🙂 I heard kayakers are a rare breed.
as for my health. im sick of docs . I saw a specialist last week before I left and have a probe test this Tuesday to check my acid reflux. little probe down my nose and throat for 24 hours >.< ick. if this cough wasn’t so nasty with flem and vomiting I would say screw it. but its been going on for months :(. will keep you updated!