I know it’s been a long time between posts, but have been away from a computer for a couple of weeks. Included in that time was the Yampa River, Kelley Kalafatich Fundraising Trip, sponsored by OARS, which was an overwhelming success! The trip had it’s challenges, with the highest water seen since 1983 (the river peaked at around 25,000 cfs on the 3rd day) and unseasonably cold and wet weather. But frankly this just added to the overall experience in its own way. If you have never been, the Yampa is an absolutely stunning river canyon, second only to the Grand Canyon in my estimation for visual beauty, and different then the Grand in terms of its beautiful 100-year floodplain terraces where the river camps are located.
The trip included 22 women who paid to go on the trip, Julie Munger, Abigail Polsby, Don Ahlerd, and Marty Schlein, who worked the trip for free, and last but not least Natalie, Debs, and Steve, the Hatch/Oars guides working the trip. The energy on this trip was very special. Two thirds of the women on this trip are personal friends of mine who also know Kelley, the remaining third were friends of theirs. I know Kelley does not really grasp the influence she has on people, even people she has only met briefly or have only heard about her. Some of the women on this trip had never been on a river before, and what a place for their‘first”, Needless to say I think they are hooked. Anyway we held Kelley in our hearts throughout the trip, and I reflected on how many people Kelley has helped in her professional life to enjoy the unique experience of a trip down a beautiful remote river canyon. And how life changing that can be, especially with a group of people like we had on this trip, that bring such great energy to the experience. I was struck by how enthusiastic and down right fun this group of women was, and it was a joy to watch how powerful this experience was for many of them.
George will be donating all the profit from this trip (all of us paid the full commercial price) to Kelleys NTAF account, which should give her what she needs to purchase a suitable car to fit her needs. And everyone is already asking me if we can make it an annual event. I think we will continue to use this avenue to help generate financial support for Kelley, with willing outfitters in the river community.
Kelley has been experiencing ups and downs during the past few weeks, and most recently seems to have had some kind of relapse in terms of her pain management. It evidently have been very intense the last several days, and she is making appointments with various doctors to try and figure out what is going on and what can be done about it. Last week she was feeling good enough that we had hoped she could go with me to Santa Cruz this weekend for a fundraising event for her occurring there this Saturday, and a little sea kayaking. But this current situation has come up pretty fast. I hope the next blog I post can offer more information about what is happening, and a positive course of action. I can’t tell you how much strength Kelley shows in dealing with this pain issue, but it inevitably takes its toll and exhausts her mentally and physically. Please keep Kelley in your prayers, Sue