The first time I paddled Tumwater Canyon was on a frosty fall day.
It was cold, gloomy and the river was at a healthy flow.
I remember being so gripped, slowly working my way down river with some good friends that knew the river well.
As we approached a rapid called Chaos, all I could see was the river disappearing over the horizon line at the top of the rapid. Volcanic explosions of water were blasting up from the horizon.
I had scouted the rapid and knew the line. I was 100 percent confident in my abilities, but I always get butterflies before a big rapid.
As I came over the rolling lip into a six-foot free fall, I landed in the frothy water a little off balance and flipped upside down. Immediately rolling back upright, I scurried to get back on line.
I managed to get it together and greased my way down the next few drops. Finally, I landed in the eddy at the bottom of the rapid with the rest of the crew.
At that moment, the feeling of accomplishment combined with freedom was unreal. There we were, in the middle of Tumwater Canyon, just ripping down the river in our little plastic boats.
I have kayaked the Tumwater 1,000 times since that day, and I just can’t get enough.
— Tom Potter