First Combat Roll - Tuckaseegee River
My first combat roll "attempt" occurred pretty early on this day. I was flipped in a gentle rapid on the Tuckaseegee River. I struck a submerged boulder with my back and head, but it didn't hurt. The helmet and PFD (personal flotation device) protected me. I attempted a combat roll, but after the attempt failed and with an irrational level of anxiety about more boulders in the vicinity, I elected to perform a wet exit. I swam out of the boat and had to drain it on shore to continue.
Despite my swim, I was excited and happy with myself. It was the first time I had been upside down in a rapid. I was pleased that my 3rd day in a river was presenting combat roll opportunities.
The day was uneventful for the most part, but at our lunch stopping point there was one drop in a small rapid that was bigger than others we had faced. The rapid is next to a giant smooth rock formation and is a popular lunch stop. 50 rafters or so were already there.
I was flipped next to the lunch crowd at the base of the rapid. I tried to roll and failed, but I tried again. I failed again, but I was determined. I do not know how many times I tried, but I later learned that some rafters did casually try to alert others in our group that I needed rescue.
After an unknown number of attempts, I finally rolled up and yelled in victory.
I noticed the rafters seemed to be looking at me like I was an idiot who was happy to have almost drowned. Of course I was not really in a crisis situation. If I had run out of air or got desparate, I could have released myself from the boat. This would not have been a very dangerous place to swim.
Ultimately the rafters were definitely not very excited by their opportunity to witness my first combat roll, an event that to me felt like one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of man.
I guess everyone remembers their first combat kayak roll. That was mine on my 3rd river day / 6th paddle day with an audience of 50 disinterested rafters eating lunch on the Tuckaseegee River.
I became more accustomed to the 18 wheeled 747’s landing on my tent this night. Or it may have been the deluge of rain that helped muffle the engine noise. Either way I'm sure I slept a good 2 hours total, in 3 minute increments.