WICK’S IDEA was that white water sport could be elevated in likeness to classic alpine exploration, a la Shipman and Messner, engendering sagas of journeys to the world’s most fabulous regions. I, however, was enthused simply to push the limits of what could be paddled, and to explore the uses of these most highly maneuverable, shoulder-carried water craft. Wick Walker and I were high school friends, and we appreciated each others’ fantasies. Our confidence derived from our having joined the brave few who paddled the Upper Yough a couple of years before. In the early seventies, rapids like Iron Ring on the Gauley were commonly considered dangerous, at the fringe of possibility.