This year, to use up a bunch of air miles from COVID, Donna and I decided to fly to Missoula to go on the 6-day Main Salmon trip. We packed our paddles and gear, but had to get boats from the outfitter. Since I paddle a Mamba, they gave me a 7.5 Mamba.

When I got it, I laughed and asked if it was a prototype. This is what the outfitting looked like:

Unlike the Mambas of today that have ratcheting, this Mamba had a backband lever with two positions – forward to being the backband forward, and backward to loosen the backband. I found it very difficult to get comfortable in the boat – I was either squished into it or very loose into it, depending on where I put the foot brace. You could not fine-tune this boat. I chose to go with a loose setting because it was more comfortable.

Well, of course, I flipped on a big rapid. When I went to roll up, I literally fell out of the boat, so there was no way. Unfortunately. my right foot got stuck inside and it was only with a lot of effort that I got out. When I did, my right knee jammed into the backband lever and got cut open. Blood gushed out of me (okay, it didn’t gush but it was a bit more than a trickle).

One of the support kayakers, Quinton Barnett, who is a paramedic, tended to the injury. After dressing it, he decided to create a new river bandage – a bandage made out of duct tape!

Here is a picture of me and Quinton. Donna suggested that I use Photoshop and switch our heads so everyone could see how ripped is was just about …um…two years ago!

I chose not to do it, however.

Quinton happens to be an okay paddler. Check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kayakerquin