Saturday, July 07, 2007

Bittersweet Weekend

Two things have been constantly on my mind the last couple of months, my dear friend Dan, and my upcoming MR340 paddling race. One has sadly become my history, the other my immediate future. This weekend my mind is again occupied by little else, making for a bittersweet weekend.

Paul and I drove over to Edenton this morning to join in a celebration of Dan's life. It was a wonderful gathering of Dan and Ellen's friends. On their dock on the Yeopim River we said a prayer, Ellen read a letter to Dan, a letter from Dan's son Micheal was read, and I was asked to spread his ashes into the water that Dan had spent so much time paddling in. There were tears and laughter as many recalled fond memories and funny stories.

Edenton is 185 miles east of our home in Chapel Hill. It is a beautiful small historic town (many say it's historic district surpasses Williamsburg, Va, all restored originals, not reconstructed). Sitting on the Albemarle Sound, it would be a wonderful location for paddling, sailing, and living an active outdoor lifestyle. It is an area Paul and I have considered moving to when we retire.

Though Dan's preference was more towards wilderness experiences, his love of paddling, and distance paddling always had him interested in my challenges. We'd spent many hours paddling on the Sound and the Roanoke River together putting in the long miles as part of my training for previous WaterTribe Challenges.

Our drive over and back to Edenton, also allowed time to think and discuss my plans for the MR340 with Paul. Changing over to the women's solo division requires a very different plan. Long distance endurance events like this are so mental, and with only 15 days till the race, I really need to get my head into this change.

And tomorrow, I'll go back on the lake. I paddled 26 miles on Wednesday, but now feel the need to paddle a nice slow cruising 35 miles. This will be my last long paddle before the race, it's distance will give me confidence, the predicted heat will help me to acclimate and prepare for the conditions expected on the Missouri River, and the time and solitude will let me finish my goodbye's to Dan.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn.
I was saddened to hear of the loss of Dan. I was hoping to contact you about Dan. I paddled with him a few times 6 or so years ago and he was such an awesome person. If you don't mind please email me at And if you don't want to I understand.

Michael said...

My time in Burgeo was wonderful. I had one warm sunny day and then the clouds set in, but I was able to paddle to my heart's content. I thought of you both and felt in a sense, you were out there too.
Take care!