As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid.
Heeding his advice, I follow his course precisely, digging my paddle into the muscular waves as they slam the snout and sides of my inflatable kayak, and somehow manage to keep my boat upright and myself inside it. When the rapid spits me out its bottom end, Nate gives me a smile and a nod. I’ve done well.
I have rafted this river before, including with my entire family (see photo above, which shows my daughter, Alex, then 10, in the bow of our raft, which has almost completely disappeared in a rapid on the Payette). But today marks my first time taking an inflatable kayak down it.
How do you fit in your outdoors time? I like to get out a lot. But to shoehorn my outdoor time into a busy home and work schedule, I have to get creative. I shared my secrets at Nature Valley’s Nature Project blog. If you’re a busy parent who would like to get outdoors more than you do, you might find this article helpful.