On October 3rd I turned 24 year old and all I really wanted to do for my birthday was spend it with my best friends...and go over a waterfall! I was fortunate to spend the following weekend in the wondrous mountains of Whistler, BC exploring downhill trails by mountain bike and finding some white water on the Upper Cheakamus River.
As the weekend approached, my battle with the flu grew worse, but my spirit was high; I was looking forward to this trip! We had dinner, packed up Roy's truck, and hit the road! Unfortunately the border was not as stoked as we were and investigated us -- I guess kayaks, mountain bikes, camping gear, and a crash pad loaded in a pick up in the pouring rain made us stand out. We finally rolled into Cal-Cheak campground and passed out around 1 AM.
The next morning we awoke to blue skies and sunshine! We also found that we had made some friends that night with the local wildlife, one of which I had the pleasure of snuggling with in my sleeping bag! After chasing a mouse out of the kitchen box and Roy's shoes, accompanied by my hollering, Kirsten jumping, and Austyn laughing; we headed to the Whistler bike park. We met up with Jessica and Shawn and rallied the downhill trails all day!
The wet granite and steep slippery features made the technical trails challenging, but we stomped our lines one after the other, so much fun! I had some carnage as I flew over my handlebars off a slick steep ramp, but we laughed it off and kept charging.
At the end of the day we left the trails happily exhausted and muddy. We headed into the village for dinner and some well earned beers. We even ended up breaking out a bottle of whiskey, I'm absolutely convinced it cured my flu. We had fun walking through the village and didn't get into too much trouble!
The next morning I woke up incredibly excited to go boating and huck myself off a waterfall. My favorite Whistler run the Callaghan was too low, but we were able to get on the Cheakamus. We met up with my friend Jim Hegan, a talented local photographer, and some locals who showed us the way downriver to the waterfall. Rapha, Jules, and Ico - we had a blast, thanks again! Rapha pushed me to read and run the river out front, I had just met them all, but I felt like we we're already good friends!
I don't get to fire up waterfalls that often but when I do it's so good! Balls to the Wall is about 18ft, it's the first falls I've done where there hasn't been a lot of water going over the lip, so for me it was easier but more intimidating than other falls I've run where your enveloped inside the flow as you fall vertically into the pool below.
There's nothing like setting your line, taking that last stroke as you go over the lip, and being tucked inside a pocket of whitewater.
Once you land it's like hitting a pillow, you look back up at where you just came from with a huge smile. You can't recreate feelings like that, which is why you have to live and marvel in the present, appreciating every moment fully, experiencing it's beauty as deeply as possible. Paddling gives my life greater meaning, it makes me a better person, and has introduced me to some of the most incredible friends.
It was an awesome weekend of great memories, good friends, mountain and river adventuring, and maybe a little too much whiskey if there is such a thing...24 here we go! #shegoes