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‘The Flow State is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter: Every action, movement and thought flows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost and the result is a feeling of spontaneous joy.’ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Live2Flow is the concept of a man trapped in an unfulfilling career who decided to pursue a life of Flow.  This blog is documents the activities of a man who swapped a desk for the great outdoors, dedicating himself to better his personal performance in his chosen sports and to pursue his passion of coaching and training others; the objective is to literally Live2Flow.  This is not a selfish obsession, Live2Flow aims to take these experiences to others and through passionate coaching and guiding help them experience Flow for themselves.

Alpine Dreaming

Simon leading down at the tail end of the Middle Guil
Simon leading down at the tail end of the Middle Guil Punching through! Ray leading a group down on the Gyronde Jack getting a flyer over the weir Leading down a section of the Middle Guil Chris grinning ear to ear Ray watching and waiting Smile all round at the end of the trip

Although this was my third year in a row running a whitewater trip to the Southern French Alps for Chichester Canoe Club I am always excited by the prospect.  The French Alps is one of my favourite places in the world and a true outdoor sports paradise; pristine rivers surrounded by impressive mountains that spend most of the summer basking in sunlight and begging to be explored.  The routine stays the same but every year is different.

This year there were a number of new, interesting developments on the Live2Flow trip; it was the first time that Adur Canoe Club had been invited to join in, the first year that another coach, Ray Cooper, joined the Live2Flow leading team and there was a change of location as we found ourselves staying at a new campsite in the Freissinieres valley.

With two separately led teams to manage on the water and unusually high river levels for July it was always going to be a challenging year but I wasn’t quite prepared for the carnage of Day 1.  I certainly didn’t expect my boat to run the Briancon Gorge on its own and then, just when I thought the situation had been recovered, hear the words ‘Lew is stuck in the gorge with his boat but no paddle…’!.  All is well that ends well but we were all hoping for a calmer Day 2…

Sure enough, after a dramatic start things settled down a little and the group started to get the measure of the high flow levels.  I won’t recount every story here, although a full list of the sections tackled is below, but for me there were several memorable moments worth a mention.

On the Upper Guil a rock fall came very close to crushing poor John-John, something I have never seen the likes of before and hope to never see again.  Later that day the Middle Guil was pumping and I distinctly remember Sam describing the grade 4 rapid beyond the horizon as ‘lots of white fluffy stuff, no real line, just avoid the rocks and biggest stoppers’!

Later in the week I had the opportunity to lead down a new section of the Upper Ubaye, which was hugely satisfying, and the team was proud to have a 100% success ratio when running the Rabioux wave!  There was not such a high percentage success on S Bend on the Guisane where limits were found, lessons were learned and luckily nobody was badly hurt in the process.  It did add to the equipment toll though, which topped out at 3 sets of paddles lost and/or broken over the week!

If a trip’s success is measured by the smiles on everybody’s faces at the end, then this year’s Live2Flow French Alps Trip had really hit its mark.  Nobody went away without a sense of achievement and on the last morning there was already excited talk about coming back in 2014.  And I am sure that is exactly what we will do.

More images of from the week can be seen here.

To keep up to date on plans for future trips and courses follow Live2Flow on Facebook here.

Trip Record

Leaders – Simon ‘Live2Flow’ Ablett & Ray Cooper

Paddlers – Lew Perren, Ian Talmadge, Sam “Frodo’ Jordan, Roy Osborne, John John Maccoll, Chris ‘Boat Rescue Specialist’ Deller, Jeff Goddard, Leon Payne, ‘Jimny’ Jack Glynn, Andrew ‘Ninja’ Miles, Chris ‘Wendy’ Hendy

Glamorous Bank Assistants – Valerie Randell and Michelle Deller

Day 1 - Lower Guil/Lower Durance from Eygliers bridge to St Clément & Briancon Gorge

Day 2 - Upper Durance from Briançon to Prelles & Gyronde from Les Vigneaux to Argentière

Day 3 - Upper Guil from Aiguilles to Chateau Queyras & Middle Guil from Le Tunnel down to the barrage

Day 4 - Durance from St Clément to Rabioux Wave

Day 5 - Upper Ubaye from La Lauziere to Jausiers & Ubaye Racecourse (paddled by small peer group)

Day 6 - Upper Guisane from Le Casset to Chantemerle & Briancon Gorge

Day 7 - Gyronde from Les Vigneaux to Argentière (Above slalom site)

 

Created on 24-Oct-2013 at 09:52