I had occasion today to drive Hwy 41 from Marion County (the end of #chattajack) to Racoon Mtn. With the fallen leaves, I could see much of the river on my left. The sight pulled me in and I saw how big the river looked and how, even when on a 21 foot ski, I would take up no space on that river when I paddle. I remembered each landmark on the river, exactly where I would be if I was paddling, and all the varied conditions I’ve enjoyed on the river.
My life on the ski has revolved around #chattajack for the last 2 years -- that was the #1 race goal each year. And I’ve spent hours and miles on the river, learning it backwards and forwards. I realized as I looked down at it, how much it holds my soul. It’s a place I could see asking for my ashes to inhabit one day.
Two years ago I couldn’t even really fathom that I could paddle 32 miles, let alone the 100s of miles I paddled to prepare. I have experienced so much life on the river: joy, sorrow, frustration, fear, ecstasy, fatigue, boundless energy, quiet, excitement.
#Chattajack will be my goal again next year. I am so lucky to have this beautiful Tennessee River to paddle and to know.
It has become a “road” to home -- a home I didn’t know existed and I didn’t know I needed not long ago. And like any road to home, I celebrated the intimate knowledge of all its twists and turns along the way.
I am so lucky!