On July 9, 2013, I received the following text message from a co-worker: FLOODED OUT 2,390cfs; hopefully one more day!

This text message was in regard to the first kayaking trip I had ever taken in my life. The plan was to go kayaking on the upper section of Elkhorn Creek on July 10 and had been put into place several days prior to an immense downpour which lasted roughly three days. The rain had been especially treacherous in Frankfort, Kentucky, which was where our kayaking adventure would be taking place. After consulting experienced paddlers at work, I had been told that flipping my kayak over and drowning was almost certain to occur. Other scenarios that were casually thrown about by my co-workers included: being caught in a dam and drowning if I failed to portage a dam (which I gathered was infamous for its paddler killing powers); flipping over and being caught in a downed tree while losing all orientation and sucking the dirty waters of the Elkhorn into my lungs until the life had been expelled from my body; and last, but not least, the threat of simply flipping the kayak over and knocking myself out on a rock while upside down without a chance in the world of saving myself.

To say that I was nervous about this adventure was an understatement. In fact, I was terrified and considered throwing in the towel before I had even seen the water conditions. The only thing that kept me from giving up was the thought of letting down my kayaking partner, Cathrine.

Despite the well-deserved concern for my livelihood, I went on the kayaking trip with Cathrine and it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I had ever been a part of. We met a troll that lived under a bridge who spoke like a redneck frog (that is a whole other story in itself), we paddled through class three rapids and we recharged our spirits by leaving behind the every day hustle and bustle and spent a day with Mother Earth.

The moral of my story is that life is essentially one giant risk/reward trade off system. Sometimes opportunities are going to find ways of masking themselves with risk. But if you look beyond risk and let go of worrying about what you ‘think’ may happen to you, there is a good chance that you’ll begin to truly live your life to its fullest potential.

This destination was explored by: Zach Barger