My question to everybody is, which game do we want to play? The one that sounds funny and cool and romantic, or the one that is real?
It strikes me we are fortunate that running whitewater actually is fairly safe nearly all the time, even when it looks hideously dangerous. I wonder whether this is one reason that so few kayakers have any answers for this kind of thing. But what is our sport if we are playing it this way and cannot actually face the ultimate questions it asks us? Are we fooling ourselves?
If we’ve got our finger on the pulse of this wondrous thing called a river, and if we are going to go places where death is a possibility, then we need to think more deeply about why we’re there. Because when you add death into the equation, the question is different and the answers change.
After seeing the indifference of the big mountains this summer, this essay is pretty challenging, and if you replace paddling and rivers with climbing and mountains it gets personal in a hurry.