Wow! Kayaking the Grand Canyon. Sounds like fun! Welcom Stacy to tell us about her fearless adventure.
Recently, I achieved one of my biggest, hairiest, most audacious goals…
I paddled the entire 226 miles of the Grand Canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek—in 12.5 days, while carrying all my gear in my extra-large expedition kayak. On top of all that, I did it at age 51, after having two rotator cuffs reattached to the bone and assorted other injuries and surgeries. It’s a goal that’s taken me thirty years to achieve.
My first invitation to paddle the Grand Canyon came way back in 1990, when I was a raft guide and college student. But it was a fall trip, and I was due back in school. A few other invites to kayak along with raft trips came my way over the years but the timing was never right. And seven years ago, I was supposed to do almost this exact same trip, but I blew out my shoulder mountain biking.
I’d started to think maybe it was never going to happen. Or, at least not under my own steam and I’d have to ride in a raft as a passenger. While there are worse fates, it’s not how I prefer to run rivers.
So, When I got invited on this trip, I jumped on it despite dealing with a host of injuries. I mean, my body isn’t likely to be any stronger or healthier next year. Or the year after. It might be, but at my age especially, there are no guarantees.
While I wasn’t 100 percent sure I could physically do it, I did everything possible to get in as a good a shape as I could. Then hoped it would be enough.
And it was. Just barely. But it was. That’s what matters most.
Here Are Four Life Lessons I Learned Kayaking the Grand Canyon
- I am tiny. Miniscule. And the world keeps turning and people keep doing things and it all continues whether I’m there to witness or experience or not. It’s very freeing to remember that the modern world is something of our own creation, but there’s a whole other world out there that’s far older, and to me, more real. So why not take a risk and do something like write and publish romance novels. That’s way less scary than running remote rivers.
- It’s gotten harder to find ways to step outside my comfort zone, but the Grand Canyon pushed me to new limits physically, mentally, and emotionally. I realized I’m still capable of so much more than I ever would’ve thought.
- Journal—especially about the big, hairy goals and the process of achieving them. I hadn’t been in the habit in a while, but I bought a pretty new one, and on night three forced myself to sit down and catch up (despite the exhaustion and overwhelm). I wrote down the day’s events and emotions pretty much every evening from there on out. The first few days were such an overwhelming blur I’ve had to piece them together from my notes and photos. It’s amazing how much my brain scrambled and squished moments and places and experiences but this way I have somewhere to look to make sense of it all.
- Push through the fear and do the hard thing anyway. Go for the big, hairy, audacious goal even if you aren’t 100 percent ready. When I first shoved off shore at the start of the Grand Canyon I worried I’d gotten in over my head. By night two, when my entire body was in excruciating pain, I thought I’d made a huge mistake—but it got better and easier every day from there. I learned all I have to be is ready enough. Strong enough. Good enough. Not perfect.
How will kayaking the Grand Canyon influence my future outdoor adventure romance novels?
You can trust that pieces of my Grand Canyon trip, and all I learned along the way, will make it into my book. Much the same way all my years as a backcountry ranger and guide went into my latest, steamy backpacking romance, Wild at Heart.
I’m already working on both a rafting romance and a whitewater kayaking romance. With a whole lot of forced proximity and tons of things that can go wrong—and really, really right—on a multi-day river trip in the middle of nowhere, it’s a no-brainer.
Award-winning adventure romance author Stacy Gold would rather be in the middle of nowhere than almost anywhere else. To that end, she’s run more than 50 rivers in three countries, been heli-dropped into remote ski huts multiple times (and made it into even more under her own steam), worked for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service as a backcountry ranger, river ranger, and naturalist, and spent fourteen years as a commercial river guide and kayak instructor. Her last “real job” was serving as Communications Director for a state-wide mountain biking non-profit.
When she’s not busy kayaking, skiing, mountain biking, or hiking, with her husband and happy dogs, Ms. Gold writes about independent, capable women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. Her newest release, Wild at Heart, came out May 2nd, 2022. https://www.stacygold.com
Overworked entrepreneur Jules Martinez can't be one more guy’s rebound girl. Evan Davenport lost his job, dumped his fiancé, and hates his life. Each hit the trail solo in search of themselves, but Mother Nature has other plans and keeps shoving them in each other’s paths. Usually naked.
When sparks fly, can they find what they’re looking for together instead of apart?
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