Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

You see new peaks when you’re saying goodbye

MarionFranckW

By
From page A10 | July 07, 2013 |

Sometimes a quarrel creates a column, even a quarrel in my head. This happened 14 years ago when I wrote a piece titled “How accurate is our internal warning system for danger?”

My quarrel, which never reached the point of actual speech, was with one of the instructors at Otter Bar Kayak School in far Northern California. The instructor’s name was Peter and like everything else about this whitewater kayak school, he was top-notch.

He was also tall, good-looking and strong. At the time the quarrel-in-my-head happened, he must have been in his mid-40s. I was 52. I disagreed with him about what makes a good day on the river, but I liked him so well that when I wrote my column I broadened the topic, pulled my punches, and never sent him a copy.

Yet the whole experience came roaring back recently when I returned to Otter Bar and had Peter as my teacher again.

First, I’ll recap the 14-year-old incident that remains clear in my mind. I will quote from my old column, which began with my explaining that due to low water, we spent most of the week on easy runs.

I wrote:

“It was refreshing to work on skills, rather than adrenaline control.

“On Friday, my tension, which had melted like sunscreen on a warm back, reappeared as I listened to the ‘chalk talk.’ Peter, our head instructor, drew a graph to show that when a person boats entirely within his or her comfort range, that person may have a pleasant day but she won’t experience a ‘peak adventure.’

” ‘Take Marion’s run yesterday,’ he said, as the muscles tightened in my neck. ‘I asked her how it went and she said, “We saw a bear.” It doesn’t sound as if her skills were pushed much.’

“Because I like Peter, I didn’t argue out loud. But spotting bear tracks in the sand, then seeing the bear himself, black, shiny and active, had been a real treat. What’s so great about going into one’s zone of anxiety anyway, I wondered, when a person can find pleasure in observing nature? The week of easier water was going just fine.”

But by Peter’s definition I was not adventurous, and that stung.

I asked myself, “Is it OK to choose easy water, to avoid the adrenalin erush?” Does the same go for other activities, like selecting travel destinations or choosing a career?

Are we lesser people if we don’t push ourselves?

I’ve written about adventure several times since, defining and redefining it, still arguing with Peter in my head.

————

Flash-forward to this year, when on Thursday it was time for Peter to give the chalk talk. He walked to the front of the room and started drawing the same graph leading to “peak adventure” that he had used 14 years ago.

“Here we go again,” I thought, forgetting that things might have changed.

This may be Peter’s last year teaching at Otter Bar. This is not disappointing to him, but rather part of a happy permanent move to New Zealand, his country of choice. He’ll still teach kayaking, although possibly less often. During the past three years he has battled kayak-related shoulder problems, finally submitting to surgery on one side and, a year later, on the other.

No matter how much he loves New Zealand, it will be hard for him to leave his longtime kayaking students and his oldest American friends.

I wish I had exact quotations from what he said Thursday morning standing in front of the chalkboard, but I can give you my rendition. Bears did not come up, but adventure did.

“This week,” he said, “we’ve had some perfect days. Good, old friends out on the water. Just spending time. It was wonderful.”

My eyes widened.

“Peak adventure is great,” he continued, “but friends are what it’s all about.”

You could have knocked me over. I won the argument we never had out loud.

————

The next day was our last day on the water, and I had to decide between a difficult, pushy run — this year’s peak adventure — or one I found very manageable.

I chose the easier run in order to be with my oldest kayaking buddies, and we drew Peter as our guide. The old Peter might have been disappointed in us for taking the easy route. He might have been bored by such a day. If a bear had happened by, he might have looked at it, smiled, and then turned back to the river.

Instead, at the end of our day, he glowed. Speaking in flowered language I’d never heard from him before, he exclaimed about the simple pleasure of being with friends in a beautiful place. His dark eyes shone.

This doesn’t end the discussion about peak adventure. Whitewater kayaking is a thrill sport, after all, and I like that. But our discussion has reached a new place where we recognize that pleasure in life comes from more than thrills and accomplishment.

Seeing a bear.

Or being with friends and family.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

Comments

comments

.

News

Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Unitarians will host summer camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Recycle old paint cans for free

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Where your gas money goes

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

 
Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Trio disagrees on best option

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Thanks for emergency help

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Commenting system to change

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

 
Support these local restaurants

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Let’s get the bench repaired

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Predicting climate changes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Clinton’s book is worth a read

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

 
.

Sports

 
Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Musicians perform at Sunday service

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
 
.

Obituaries

Mary Lita Bowen

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
James Thomas Feather

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A13

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Sherman Home

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Vaughan Brookshaw

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Ciana Wallace

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Jo Vallejo

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Jason Sull

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Carol Coder

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Diane Lardelli

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Leslie Blevins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

David Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Open House Map

By jboydston | From Page: RER19

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Open House Map

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24