I went to see a talk by super-kayaker Doug Ammons last night. He flicked through slide photos of amazing wilderness locations and big rivers, while talking about his philosophies and the mindset needed for taking on these big whitewater challenges. It was interesting and slightly hypnotic (I think Francine found it more hypnotic than interesting)
Photos don’t really show the scale of things well. That’s why seeing fireworks for real, is always more impressive than photos of fireworks. It’s true no? But it works for landscape scenery too, and seemingly also for really big rivers.
There is also a classic problem, even when looking at a river for real, that if you’re viewing from really high up the valley side, it’s very difficult to judge whitewater. You see white rapids and you’re always tricked into thinking “Yeah that looks like it could be some nice whitewater” (when if fact you’re looking at a terrifying honking great deathfest)
A lot of Doug’s photos were from quite high up, and although he had quite a few pictures with kayakers in, showing scale, it only really registered when he showed some video. …”Ok so it’s *that* kind of whitewater we’re talking about“. …Absolutely insane. I won’t be paddling the Grand Canyon of the Stikine any time soon.
At the beginning he also showed a beautiful photo of “Agua Azul”. Amazing light blue colour of the water. That looked more tempting. Hang on…. no maybe not.
I’ve never been to a kayaking talk before, although I have been invited to a few (river rats used to organise a lot) Quite liked it. It’s a different way to spend a Friday night.