Our fist day of camping actually had a highlight. We decided to camp the first night along a river. This part of the river was actually frequented by visitors canoeing and kayaking. We chose an area that formed a small peninsula in the river, but we had no idea that our spot was as good as setting camp on a goldmine. When the first canoeist (I had to look that up, I thought it should be conoer… but it didn’t look right) came by we saw the value of our campsite. There was a large rock just a little upstream from the peninsula, and the waters were really swift at that point. Then, just at the peak of the peninsula there was a large tree that had fallen into the river, so that it only left a narrow, swift, channel between it and the land. So, when the first canoeist came by we saw a scene that was repeated at least 20 times before we even had our tents up. The canoe hit the rock with a THUNK, then the canoe was dragged along the rock and around it where the water swirled. The people and contents of the canoe were all thrown into the water. Then, canoe, former conoeists, and contents all thudded into the tree, bounced off and were carried around the rest of the peninsula and then out of sight around another bend. The first time we thought we were just witnessing something special, but, as I said, it happened many times after and only varied slightly from one indecent to another. Sometimes a rider would hang on after the collision with the rock, but then they were doomed at the tree. Other times, they’d see their fate coming and would row away from the rock, but against the current. But that only made everything happen slower. In some ways I enjoyed that more. It allowed me to savor the moment in slow motion. However, there was one case that was exceptional. The pinnacle of the day. There was a kayaker who was barreling down the river at top speed. He was in a bright yellow kayak, he had no shirt on, and he had sunglasses on. Just by the look of him I knew his type… I’m sure you do too. I was looking forward to watching this. But, as fast as he was going the kayaker still dodged the big rock deftly, somehow, and started down the swift current behind it going almost sideways, but at top speed. Impressed I yelled out “Wow, good job, man!” The kayaker looked over at me and gave a sly, cocky, smile. Maybe too cocky, because by turning to look at me, he neglected to notice the large tree. THUNK. He hit the tree hard, skidding sideways into it. His paddle flew from his hands and was swept off in the current. He hit with such force that his kayak actually slid up the tree a bit, but partway up it turned over due to being top heavy. The kayaker flipped, and was upside down in his kayak for a moment or two as the current carried him around the peninsula, then he flipped upright and tilted left and right a few times, dunking him halfway each time, his arms flailing. Just before he turned the corner out of site he screamed “FUCK YOU.” And he was gone. It was the only time I can remember truly enjoying hiking. I’m still not sure if he was yelling at me, or himself, or the tree, but I like to think that it was all three. A perfect circle. In that moment, I actually understood what some hiking fanatics rant on about with being one with nature… me, the tree, the cocky douchebag kayaker… in that moment we were all connected. In a perfect, beautiful event that I will tell the story of to my children and their children, and will probably be continued to be retold for generations.