I am a 24 year old college student from Oklahoma City. I have lived here my whole life. Being Land Locked one might assume there is nothing to do here, and I too thought this growing up here in Moore. My friends and I spent everyday at one park or another; I remember walking for miles. We call it “Mobbin”. We would mob from the house to the park, around the park to the store and back to the house.
Walking really is my favorite activity, or maybe I just like to move, I’ve spent too much time being stuck in a chair at a desk for work or school. I feel restricted, and to me “Movement” is the epitome of “Freedom”.
For years, walking remained my favorite form of leisure, but soon my path lead me to the Oklahoma River. Almost everyday for a year my workout buddy and I would walk 5 to 10 miles on this trail. When we first got to the opposite end of the city from where we started there was a sign that read Chesapeake Parking Only, we assumed it meant the energy company and that we were not to pass that point unless we wanted to be charged with trespassing.
After entering the Kinesiology program at UCO, I was told to look into the Outdoor and Community Recreation field. I soon found myself in a new chapter of my life, part of which resulted in a job with the Oklahoma City Boat House Foundation. Here I was standing on the other side of the sign we had stopped at so many times before. Just on the other side of the hill behind the sign was the Cheasepeake Energy Boathouse. They house rowing equipment as well as an indoor gym with a rock wall and a stretching station that’s outside, closer to the river.
Continuing under the bridge past the boathouse and stretching station is the Finish Line Tower. This is the end of the segment of the river that’s used for National Rowing Events. Beside it was the Olympic Training Center housed inside the Devon Energy Boathouse. Even further down this path is where I would be working, on the 80ft high zipline and ropes course which crossed over the Oklahoma River.
Since the beginning of 2016, it has expanded into what is now the White Water Rapid Center where the Olympic Trials for Kayaking were held. Who could have guessed that you could kayak or raft in Oklahoma, a place known for having the most man made lakes and relatively flat land. So now here I am – a kid getting paid to play on a jungle gym, next to a trail that I walk for hours in my down time, where I can workout with Olympic training equipment and raft down some rapids.
I feel blessed as this is only the beginning of my story. From slacklining in Climb Up’s Rock Wall Gym in Norman to the middle of campus in Edmond. Last year I backpacked through the Butterfield Trail at Devils Den in Arkansas over my 23rd birthday. I have attended American Canoe Association kayaking classes and went through Raft Guide School. Now I have gotten to experience both flatwater and whitewater in Oklahoma. Lately I have been helping Martin Nature Park with Kayak, and Tai Chi instruction. Life is a journey, enjoy the scenery.
Mat has a wonderfully entertaining Tumblr page (http://recyourself.tumblr.com/) that we would definitely recommend!