I took my son Micah, 5 years of age, kayaking on the Colorado River yesterday. Before you judge, we have been kayaking together before; he is a great swimmer and the day before we had rafted that same stretch of the river. Our rafting guide Leelee (Blue Sky Adventures) was awesome and told us to set in at Grizzly Pass. It was shallow and easy to kayak before our final destination at the Hot Springs Spa (Girly activities). We would only pass one Class 2 rapid. These rapids are very choppy, but easy for a kayak to cruise through. But watch out for the large rocks!
About a mile in we were watching what we thought was a big horn sheep from off in the distance and hit a stronger current that took us sailing for a couple of very large rocks in the water. We dodged the first to side swipe another large flat rock. I tried to keep us afloat, but the kayak took on a lot of water and tipped. Before we tipped, Micah jumped out feet first. I went under holding on to the boat and came up a second later with Micah in my other arm. Micah grabbed the rock we were planted against and pulled himself up to the flat rock. I looked at him, now in a good position and realized we were in about four feet of water. He looked at me and said “I got this Dad- take care of the boat”. I handed him the oars and our day pack, then drifted feet first to the shore, about 12 feet away holding on to the kayak. I dragged the kayak, now filled with water, onto the shore and went back for him. This took about 5 minutes. I went upstream a little and drifted back to Micah, who gave me a thumbs up. He handed everything to me and lay on my chest like he was giving me a big hug as we drifted back to the kayak. We then drank a bunch of water. Once the water was gone in our water bottle, I used it to remove most of the water from the kayak. Micah proceeded to sit between two rocks being mindful of his surroundings eating a tortilla and drying off. After about 20 minutes of water bottle bailing, we hit the river and had smooth sailings after that.
As we were sailing back Micah asked for some cherry tomatoes. I grabbed them from our bag and as I handed them to him he says “Dad, one good thing is now we don’t have to wash the tomatoes.” I laughed really hard and we tipped again…. No, just kidding.
I was super proud of Micah for keeping his cool and paying attention when it mattered. The situation could have been a lot worse if he or I freaked out. When we rolled up to the spa to meet the girls, they waved to us and there were thumbs up all around. Later that night Micah looked at me from across Silvia (The Airstream) and said “Dad we did a good job out there today”. Will see if he has nightmares!