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River Of Hope Day 8: Happy In The Hard

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

We departed around 8:30 am. My friend Angela was joining me today; she was why we pushed so hard the previous day to get to Vega. And let me tell you she was totally worth leaving it all out on the river.

I was tired, exhausted and was running on fumes but it was nothing compared to what Angela's previous month had been.

After announcing that I was paddling for The Center For Suicide Prevention and mental health awareness; Angela was one of the first to generously donate to it. I had reached out and said I hoped she could paddle with me when I came into town.

A week later her son died of suicide. It was earth shattering. Read my thoughts from last year.

There's smiles in this photo but so much pain. She needed this paddle for her soul to heal. She had Ry's hat on from his grad class and it brought tears to my eyes seeing it. Clarke and Terell were aware of the circumstances bringing Angela on the river with us. Both were just wonderful paddle partners through everything we encountered on this trip.

The day started off stunning, calm water and a great time. Slowly but steadily we lost the river current and had the slightest headwind but with the lack of flow we were literally standing still if we didn't paddle constantly.

The boys and I were going stir crazy at how slow our progress was, as we had been on such great flowing water. Angela was impervious to any struggles we had due to slack water. She was there in the moment completely.

Our goal was over 80 km for the day to make it to the Highway 2 Bridge near Smith. Around 8 hours later we had done 50 was 3:30 in the afternoon it was going to be dark before we finished. Around then we had a meeting about the possibilities: camp with us, jet boat Angela to the bridge or find another take out.

Thankfully, Trevor found out we could meet Angela's family at Chisholm which turned out to be one of the best camping spots we had.

Ironically, after we made this decision it was as though the heavens opened up for us, calm water and good time paddling once again. We had real conversation, tears, joy, grief and as I like to think happy moments even in hard times.

It doesn't mean that this paddle made everything go away but there is something so healing and spiritual about the water. 66 km added to this journey which is so much bigger than me on a paddle board to this point. I was getting messages when I had service from many people, how they just lost someone or how they were so thankful I was bringing awareness to this. It was humbling to realize how deeply this touched people's lives.

Read Day 9: Here

Sending You Love N SUP,

Lisa Stocking

Owner Paddle Athabasca

CANRVRSUP River 1 Instructor

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