Since I have left the military, I have been on quite the journey. I spent over four years serving my country as a Infantryman on the front lines. For the greater part of two of those years I served overseas, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. During those years over seas I was given a Purple Heart. After everything I experienced, it was difficult to transition back to the civilian lifestyle. In all honesty, if it wasn’t for whitewater kayaking, it would have made the transition more difficult.
Kayaking, to me, is how I escape. I love the heart pumping adventure of being in the middle of nowhere, locked into deep canyon walls with nothing but massive whitewater ahead and a small group of people who you can trust with your life. You get out of it what you put into it, just like the military. The other paddlers become your brothers and the river becomes your battlefield. Plan your route, be on point, and stick your line. It all sounds good in theory, but just like in a combat zone, the situation can have you scrambling and holding on with everything you got. Counting on your buddies and praying you make it out. There is no greater feeling then coming out of such chaos with some of your closest friends.