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At work.

Currently almost 43 years old. I started paddling while in school in 1978. I became hooked by hiking along the Chattooga and seeing a guy named Bruno run 7 foot falls, disappear, surface upside down and roll. Right then I HAD to learn to paddle. It was an instant obsession. Bruno later became a good friend through a serendipitous meeting. He was also the first that I knew personally to die during a paddling activity. There was no real organized instruction available so my sister and I self-taught ourselves by running section III over and over and over, initially with borrowed gear, and comparing notes with better paddlers. We became adept at self rescue and did some dumb things due to ignorance, like running Left Crack, but were lucky. My first ecstatic purchase was a used Holloform which I promptly wrapped on a log jam but was able to salvage. I started paddling class V after 3 years of constant paddling and have kept it up ever since, moving into paddling with organized groups, leading class V and running safety clinics for the club when I was most involved. I upgraded as new boats came along and went through about 5 years of squirt boating a lot of tougher runs, starting in 1987, but this ended with some hairy misadventures on the Upper Gauley at 3500 cfs that changed my perspective a little. I still squirt boat but only on fun runs. A Masters degree and two Doctorates later, I am in Wisconsin, have 2 girls- ages 2 and 4; and don't paddle nearly as much as I did up to the time when the first was born. My wife is a paddler, class IV and some V, but we also thoroughly enjoy extended wilderness canoe trips and rafting while flyfishing out west. My wife is much more the experienced wilderness tripper than I am with her best trip being one in the Canadian territories which was over 60 days out, including a section which went upriver and over a watershed. We hope to teach our girls to love the water and the wilderness as much as we do. Cheers.