I ran across this old clipping recently and marveled at how prophetic! I had no idea that years later our own son would become a chief officer in the international club of crazy kayakers.
The 1979 newspaper piece:
There are five or so classifications of local boaters.
Drift boaters get up before dawn, love rainy days, eat kipper snacks, and can fish for 48 uninterrupted hours.
Muscle boaters have oiled bodies with fabulous tans. They wear stretch knit bathing suits Their crafts sparkle with chrome and their 600-HP motors pull water skiers at breakneck speed. They drink beer from cans and always have a barbecue to attend.
Rafters laugh at the river. They wear pillow-sized life jackets and smile beneath sunburned noses. They like to sit around the campfire at night drinking Jack Daniels and swapping tales about who almost got pitched over the side.
The orange torpedo captains carry books rating rapids on a scale of one to 20. They wear sneakers full of holes and their legs are tan in front and white in back. They are moderately nuts.
Kayakers are the real crazies. While other boaters enjoy sitting around a friendly campfire roasting marshmallows, kayakers are at the edge of the circle chewing raw meat or in the woods digging for roots and grubs.
In the morning while others are snug in warm sleeping bags, kayakers run naked, scaling dangerous cliffs and challenging local wildlife to feats of strength.
The kayaker in the photos is typical of the breed. He is Rick Schlumpberger of Rogue River Outfitters, plunging off a cliff on the Illinois River in his kayak. Before this unretouched photo was taken, Schlumpberger had eaten a 17-pound raw steelhead and had taken a five-mile upstream swim. MK
If anybody knows Rick S., please pass this along. I think he'd get a kick out of it. Maybe he's still chewing raw meat outside of campfire circles?
Chris, "falling off a cliff" on Toketee Falls on the North Umpqua River
just a couple hours from home. 2011.
PK built himself a fiberglass kayak in 1977 while I was pregnant with our first child. Quinn. Fiberglass construction and pregnant women do not mix owing to noxious glue fumes, which in this case, slammed through the kitchen window as kayak fabrication was being conducted beneath it.
But fiberglass was the only way to go kayaking in the 70s, which PK was hellbent on doing.
Hmm. Wonder where our son Chris got the kayaking bug?
The important thing was that if I didn't want to stay home while PK was on the river, I needed to row. (I was not tempted to kayak.) When our baby boy, Quinn, was about two I learned to navigate whitewater and thus became captain of what was known as the daycare raft. Chris was born when Quinn was nine, prolonging my daycare raft duties.
No complaints. I loved sharing the outdoors and the river with our boys (and their friends). Both went on innumerable day-trips with PK and me on the Rogue, as well as dozens of 3-day family trips on the Rogue's Wild and Scenic section. Those were some of our best days ever.
They grew to love it, although Quinn took a bit longer and was in his late 20s before he was declared "boatman of the year" when he rowed the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon on a 28-day private trip during which his father rowed, Chris kayaked, and I hiked to the bottom of the canyon to camp with the group for a couple days.
Chris is a now professional kayaker. As I write this, he's just back from a recent expedition to Papua New Guinea, and he and his father are on a day trip on the home river. Makes me smile.
|Passing it on. Quinn Korbulic giving his son Noah his first rowing lesson on the Rogue.|
|PK rowing the Salmon River with me in front. He missed that bus-sized hole.|
|Kayaker Chris at 15.|