I’ve followed the Columbia #Omniten from the beginning.
I remember reading blog posts from original #Omniten about their trip together, how it changed them…brought them all closer together. It was the kind of trip that inspired life long friendships. The unique experience of that trip changed the careers, lives and relationships of those who were there.
I wondered if our group would develop that bond. I wondered if I would be changed by the experience. I wondered if the first #Omniten was unique.
I’m not the type of person who makes friends easily. As an introvert, I will tell jokes and make superficial conversation to avoid making true connections with people. Usually. The outdoor community is different, the people are different. Meeting people from the outdoor community face to face for the first time is a lot like visiting old friends you haven’t seen in a while. Easy, comfortable, comforting, exciting, fun and mixed with a lot of laughter. Meeting my #Omniten family for the first time was like this.
I will write more in the next couple of weeks about the trip and share some photos. This was “the adventure of a lifetime”, as Eric put it. For me personally it was a homecoming, it was emotional. I’ve always dreamed of being able to take a group of good friends on a whitewater trip and show them why I love the river so much. Even if I wasn’t the one guiding the trip, this really felt like the trip I’ve dreamed of. I give credit to Columbia for putting together a stellar group of people and not just the #Omniten. The people from Columbia that joined our adventure were all truly great people and added tremendously to the enjoyment of the trip.
I haven’t floated the swirling currents of the river in over 5 years. It felt good to drift along in the fickle current, to ride the eddie lines, to slide down the broad green tongue at the top of a rapid and bounce along the frothing, white-capped wave train. I’d almost forgotten how much I love the sounds of the river – the trickling of waterfalls, the roaring of whitewater, the creak of the oarlocks and soft dip of the oar blades into the quiet, flat water.
I miss the river already, but I just might miss my new friends a little bit more. I now know first-hand how the other group felt when they had to say goodbye at the end of their trip. It’s bitter-sweet and filled with adventurous opportunity.
I hope to see you all again soon!