Nervous, unsure, and scared- yet, somehow still excited is how I felt heading down Highway 2 for the TRAK Retreat in Canmore, Alberta. I had never been kayaking before, but was anxious to try out a TRAK. (Let’s be honest though, I also look for any excuse to head out to the mountains.)
I arrived by bus, which was an easy and convenient way to travel with my TRAK, even getting priority boarding. Instead of staying alone in a hotel, I was hosted for the weekend by a long time TRAK user. We became instant friends and she was able to teach me some basic kayaking tips to calm my nerves.
In the morning, we met up with our retreat group. There was a wide range of kayaking experience; from newbs (like myself) to seasoned vets, who had been all over in their TRAK. It was great to know I wasn’t the only one there who needed to ask how to adjust the foot pedals, but also that we had experienced people to ask those questions of.
Once in the water, I immediately got comfortable in my TRAK, loving being able to feel the movement of the water on my legs, the changes in water temperature as we got into different areas of Upper Kananaskis. We bonded as a group during the 16km paddle, but also when we pulled our kayaks up onto a mini island to stop for lunch. It didn’t take long for me to know I didn’t want this to be a one-off event for me.
Our second day started off at the base of beautiful Banff Falls on the Bow River. This day’s group was a combination of some TRAK’ers from the day before and some new ones. My nerves got the best of me to start and I almost bailed, but another member of our team pulled up next to me. He gave me some calm advice and assured me, “you’ve got this”. It was another day of falling in love with kayaking, while finding myself becoming a member of a community.
Aside from finding a passion I didn’t know I had, a highlight of the weekend was making new friends who all share that same passion. We keep in touch and are planning future paddling adventures, so we can TRAK everywhere.