Friday, July 10, 2009


I know it has been a long time since I have written on my blog, but at least my Mom is awesome enough to keep it updated. Too make up for my lack of writing I will try and explain my awesome experience yet again at First Descents!!
So first off.... my flight to Kallispel was very different. For one, I was the only passenger on the small jet that could hold up to 50. Second, the flight attendant made it more awkward with her "unique" personality. Ha good thing its was only like a hour and half flight.
I was then picked up at the airport by Whitney and driven an hour away to the camp which was located inside Glacier National Park which was a different location than last years camp. I was the first camper to arrive but I did not mind because I was too busy catching up with some of the counselors that I knew from the year before. I also met a lot of new counselors who were all such nice people. I must say that kayaking is a cool thing to get into because all the people who kayak are very down to earth loving people. Seriously, all of them are super cool!!! Later that day the rest of the campers arrived. Only one other camper was a second year like me, the rest being first years. So nicknames were being discussed and given that night at the campfire. Some of my favorites were: Dude (Have to meet the guy to understand), Captain Obvious (Pro kayaker who let everyone know it was raining when it was definitely raining. Ha). My nickname which I got last year is.... Nickname. Ha its hard to explain to everyone at first but everyon seems to like it. Including me.
The days to follow were the same as last year. Lots of kayaking on the Flathead River where everyone got to know each other pretty well. However, what was different than last year was that this year I felt more like an example than I did last year. Campers were always asking what to expect every day on the river and stuff like that. Also, because I had to leave camp early and because I was doing so well on the river (nothing was over a class 2 rapid) the counselors felt I could have my graduation day on wednesday. Wednesday was alternative watercraft day which meant campers would be going down the river in Topo Duos (two person kayak) and Duckies (iflatable kayaks). So camper would either ride with a counselor in a Topo or ride with another camper in a duckie. But not me, I was given the opportunity to go down in my kayak for graduation. This time we would be four sections of class 3 rapids which I have never done. I was super excited but a little nervous, especially about the section called JAWS. Ha. In the end I did great down the river. Never swam and only flipped in the first rapid, where I waited upside down for a T rescue from Bad Santa. Ha. Best day of camp for sure!!!
There were also a couple shocking and unexpected parts at camp. One was two freshman college girls showing up that I have never met claiming they were there to see me. One of the girls ended up being the daughter of a lady my dad works with and she was working the summer in the same area. She and her friend had brought me taffy and wanted a picture. Ha definitely unexpected but cool. So if she or her mom reads this... THANKS!!!! Also, Kelsey and Brooks (she is on Team Beyond Cancer with me, and he is a pro kayaker who made TBC's youtube video) showed up and kayaked a day with me. They also set me up with an awesome kayak helmet to take home which can also be used as a ski helmet. Also looks like they are going to set me up with a kayak and paddle here soon so I am really excited to get into the sport. THANKS GUYS!!!
K so I know I have a novel here.... so much to tell ya know. So to wrap it up, FD was another awesome experience I wont forget and it is just what I needed before surgery and chemo to come. Its crazy how much the river can teach you about life. There are tough rapid sections as well as relaxing enjoyable parts. I happen to be going through a big class 5 right now. Almost out of it though. Also, the lead counselor always gave advice on the river to "look where you are going and you will not tip". That can be used in many ways. So I like to think that in life I am looking where I am going and I am not going to tip.
Lastly, for those who have donated to my charities... You have done more than you know. You dont get to see the faces of the campers who experience this camp, but I do. And I am tellin you now that it completely changes their lives and outlook. Its truly amazing. I even talked to a first time camper today and asked her how it went when she left camp today. She said she cried on the flight back home the entire way. She didnt want to go back home!!! Ha.
So thanks everyone and thanks FD!!!!




Anonymous said...

All I can say is may you ride through your rapids with great success. You already have the skills to do so with your determination and belief. So happy you had the best time. So, here's to a very successful op and recovery! Love & light always. FG Jennie xx

Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Nickname
OK - your "Name" is "Nick" so I can see how they came up with Nickname. But how about Nickgame since you are always "Game" to try anything - JAWS included. Or Nicksame since you are the "Same" appreciative kid who went to First Descent last year. Or Nicktame since you were able to "Tame" the class 3 rapids. Or Nickfame since you had two girls stalking you.
On second thought, I'll just stick with Nick. May God, who knew your name before you were born, protect and heal you in the days and months ahead.
Love, aunt Chris

Jay Paterson said...

A new Nickname?!?!?!

I think I'll stick with Skinny, because, when you atand beside me, youalways will be Skinny.
Great shots and experience,
Lots of Love from all of us up North,