by Ben Natusch
With spring right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about getting back in a boat. Often the first whitewater we paddle each season is some of the hardest. Whether we are out at playspots during high spring runoff or paddling some of the steep creeks that are only runable for a few weeks a year, it will likely be some of the most challenging and the most exciting paddling of the year. It is important to be ready so that we can make the most of these few weeks.
There are many important things to do to prepare for another paddling season. As the start of paddling season approaches, I like to go through all of my equipment and make sure that everything is in good working order. There is no worse time to find out you have a blown neck gasket than at the putin of the first big creek of the year. There is plenty of time to get everything fixed and ready to go now. In addition to getting your equipment ready, it is also important to get your body ready. A great way to get ready for paddling season is to go to a few pool sessions. This is a great way to build your paddling muscles back up as well as getting back some muscle memory. It's especially nice to get in a boat this time of year without having to worry about the ice cream headaches.
Try to plan a warm up paddle or two on something a little below your ability to get warmed up and to make sure you have an accurate feeling of where your skills are. It is easy to get in over your head when you haven’t paddled in awhile. You will most likely not be paddling at the same level you were in late fall when you had been paddling regularly all spring, summer, and fall. A couple of warm up runs can do a lot to get your skills back on track and help your body remember everything that was lost over the winter.
Take some time now to prepare and you will be ready when the snow starts melting and some of the best whitewater of the year comes in for a few weeks.
See ya out there,