Outsiders: Ray Imel

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006

Age: 46

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Occupation: teacher.

Favorite outdoor activity: whitewater kayaking, skiing and snowboarding.

Cool experience: "Discovering new whitewater kayak runs in Juneau. At Fish Creek on Eaglecrest Road we started by scouting the creek to see if it was possible to kayak. It took a whole lot of visits and hiking and scrambling to decide if it was even possible. The neat part of the experience was solving the puzzle, or figuring out we could actually kayak the run, like no one's ever paddled this stream and we figured out a way to do it. In the end we were able to paddle most of the rapids all the way down to North Douglas Highway."

Close Call: "The scariest experience for us was paddling the Upper Tatshenshini and losing track of one of our buddies. He'd fallen out of his boat and the boat went downstream without him so we followed the boat to try to get it to shore, but didn't know where he was. So we waited most of the night on a sand bar to see if he would show up. After a six hours, we thought, 'oh, he's lost,' so we paddled out of the canyon in the dark to go tell the Mounties. The silliest part is we were worried we would have to admit to the Mounties that our group had no plan if were to get separated and we considered not telling them to avoid embarrassment. Our friend had managed to make his way back to camp and was asleep there when we got back. It was a weight lifted off our shoulders, for sure."

•Outsiders is a weekly profile in the Juneau Empire's Outdoors section.



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