Also this week, explore an underground wonderland and spin through the sky in a Soviet-era fighter jet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQgbqky0lK5GchDAgout0cYf3vlacMfwN
Hold on tight for one of nature’s greatest rollercoasters: a giant waterfall in Washington State being attempted by daredevil kayakers Darby McAdams and Knox Hammack.
It’s the day before 19-year-old Darby McAdams will kayak over the tallest waterfall of her life and the only thing on her mind is getting a new mouth guard. She compares the sense of security she feels from holding the device to the comfort children might find in teddy bears. By focusing on her metaphorical safety blanket, there’s no room for nervousness about the upcoming descent.
McAdams has had Outlet Falls on her to-do list for a long time. Knowing this, her friend and fellow kayaker, Knox Hammack, joined her in Washington to help coach her down the six-story drop. This would be Hammack’s third time running Outlet Falls.
“I never have a good answer when people tell me I’m crazy and I think lots of kayakers get that question,” McAdams says in the hours leading up to her attempt.
Watch both extreme athletes paddle over this 70-foot waterfall with VRtually There in the video.
Plummeting down a massive waterfall might not be an activity for every friendship, but it’s hardly out of the ordinary for Hammack and McAdams. Both athletes attended World Class Kayak Academy, a traveling high school for promising paddlers. With an education based outside of the classroom, it’s no wonder the pair continues to pursue such daring learning experiences.
According to Hammack, one of the hardest parts of successfully running Outlet Falls is first making it into the eddy, the small whirlpool right above the crest of the waterfall. Its circular current provides a final opportunity to strategize and prepare the boat for the descent. Once he catches the eddy, Hammack also likes to take a moment to appreciate his surroundings.
“It’s my favorite place to be because there’s a 70-foot waterfall three feet behind you, there’s an incredible gorge upstream of you, there’s an incredible gorge downstream of you,” he reflects.
Both Hammack and McAdams agree that can once they drop off the edge of the waterfall, the feeling can best be described as ultimate freedom. Time slows as you accelerate. Then suddenly, it’s over.
Reaching the bottom safely has it’s perks as well. To McAdams, the moment of impact below the waterfall represents a dream fulfilled. The confidence that follows extends to all areas of her life.
Free fall in a kayak over the scenic Outlet Falls with Hammack and McAdams in the video above.
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