RUSH STURGES IS RESTING AT home during the last week of April when a kayaking friend calls to tell him the news: The Bus is coming. Normally this info would thrill Sturges, but now he has mixed emotions. On one hand, he’s never ridden The Bus, and he knows the experience would be epic. But he also feels bad. Really bad.
Sturges has just returned to Otter Bar, his folks’ kayaking school and home in Forks of Salmon, Calif., after two months in Uganda, where he paddled a treacherous section of the White Nile, and Madagascar, where his crew became the first to run a section of Class V rapids on the Ikopa River. Now the 21-year-old kayaker, filmmaker and co-founder of Young Gun Productions is suffering from insomnia, dizziness and delirium, all a reaction to Lariam, his antimalaria medication. Instead of paddling, Sturges wants to die.