Monday, October 3, 2011

#276 / Downstream From The Takeout

There is such a thing as "boater talk." I'm not really much of a boater, but I have done a number of whitewater rafting trips, in California, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and elsewhere, and I have greatly enjoyed every trip I have ever been on. I have also had a number of opportunities, through my affiliation with the Planning and Conservation League and Friends of The River (both great organizations, by the way), to hang around with some really serious boaters (and kayakers).

Maybe I absorbed some boater talk by osmosis. Whatever the cause, I woke up the other morning with the phrase "downstream from the takeout" running through my mind. This is, definitely, "boater talk." I typed it into my search engine, just to be sure, and the first reference listed was to the BoaterTalk website.

In boater talk, the "put in" is where you put your boat in the water. The "takeout" is ... where you take it out.

There is a certain danger in whitewater rafting, or kayaking, and it is important to have reliable information about the state of the river, and knowing the right "put in" and "takeout" points can be critical.

In the BoaterTalk website that popped up #1 on my search, the phrase "downstream from the takeout" had a benign and benevolent reference. Apparently, on the New River (in West Virginia) you can go past the takeout and find "a little play hole that you can use and still paddle back up to the takeout."

Going downstream from the takeout isn't always so benign. Another reference to this phrase was in the "Issac Ludwig Accident Report." That website report was "taken mostly from the back of the program at Isaac’s memorial service." For Issac, missing the takeout led to death.

When I woke up the other morning, with that "downstream from the takeout" phrase running through my head, I hadn't been dreaming of a "little play hole."

I was worried. That was my sense the other morning. We are heading downstream, fast, in some pretty high water, from climate change to terrorist threats; from economic collapse to environmental collapse. We need to pay attention.

We can't afford to get downstream from the takeout.

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