I was going to bend the world to my will and save those rivers, or essentially die trying. You guys have all spent a considerable amount of time in China my first question is, what is the biggest misconception you had of China? When I snapped out of it enough to start functioning normally again, we started very small, first finding a new river to run that was shorter and easier to market, and then focusing on youth and families. It really depends on the river. I met Travis on a Grand Canyon trip in and he invited me to come to China after the trip. I wanted to save the world. I wanted something miraculous to happen. The biggest misconception is the fact that people think the whole place is crowded and polluted but its a lot like the US where the Eastern part is crowded but the West has a lot of wilderness area and nature and is less populated.
The short film is a beautiful and mindful meditation on the very nature of change — specifically the change of flowing rapids in China. The challenge is that right now, money and expertise for dam projects everywhere are coming from China. Thailand, Laos, Peru just to name a few. There is a cultural disregard for lines in China — for queuing up to wait for something. We bought a groover tent from NRS, but cut the door off before ever using it, because the best thing about pooping on the river is the view. I started finding joy in just the process of being out there with the kids, and less about the big picture and how long the rivers would be around for. I was going to bend the world to my will and save those rivers, or essentially die trying. Will, how did you first get involved with Salween Spring?
A particular line in Salween Spring stuck out, and kind of caught viewers by surprise: Thailand, Laos, Peru just to name a few. It not only sounds complicated, but mentally exhausting. It has to be driven by the energy of the people that actually come out on the river. I can just go and have a good time.
Go camping for a month next to a stream and tell me what you do with your human waste and garbage and where you get your water. Much of that original incentive came from money generated corruptly during the construction process.
I started studying in college in I was going to bend the world to my will and save those rivers, or essentially die trying. It seems to be slowing down in some places but other places things are happening fast.
Q&A: Salween Spring Coming Together
It was later, when I was 19, and I was giving some Chinese outdoor enthusiasts rolling lessons in a swimming pool in Chengdu, the capital of Fipm Province. The birthplace of fireworks Guests were always excited to see an impromptu pyrotechnic display after a dutch oven dessert on the Salween. And at first, honestly, all I wanted to do was go kayaking, so as long as there were good rivers tilm was going to be a great country, as far as I was concerned.
The coolest thing about the Salween is that Travis and Last Descents have been creating this rafting community from scratch. That and pickled chicken feet.
Frozen paddling gear in the mornings, suntans on the roofs of Tibetan houses, incapacitating food poisoning, portages upon portages, glorious, steep exploding wave-trains.
And two, if you could bring one thing back to the States with you from China—be it a food, a drink, a cultural norm, etc—what would that one thing be?
But then I decided it was better to show people the Salween and show kids paddling the Salween than salewen have it shown at all. All of the work we do is in Chinese, including public speaking events. We bought a groover tent from NRS, but cut the door off before ever using it, because the best thing about pooping on the river is the view. A lot of gear. It was actually by chance that we stumbled onto the possibility of bringing youth out to the river. Change needs to happen slowly and showing Chinese kids having the time of lives on one of their own rivers to tens of thousands of people via the Banff China platform is a huge step from where we were at several years ago.
Needless to say, I set myself up for a pretty hard crash. We never knew when a river was going to disappear behind a dam or when someone from the local government would try to stop us from putting on. Travis and I are products of the rafting culture of the Grand Canyon, and the early days of river conservation that grew alongside the development of the recreational rafting industry. Yea, [the guides] spend all this time making bacon and eggs and a huge breakfast but we would always heat up left overs from dinner the night before and add rice.
If I could bring something back to the US it would be the customs of restaurants. The film itself is just under 9 minutes, but it evokes so many aspects of what is important about being outdoors. But we only wanted to reach out to really influential people, anyway, that might get off the river and go back to the city and advocate for river conservation, so we were extremely picky about who we marketed to.
Q&A: Salween Spring Coming Together | Duct Tape Diaries | NRS
fikm Will, how did you first get involved with Salween Spring? After spending so much time in China and feeling disconnected from the politics and decision-making surrounding hydropower development, I returned to the states feeling so grateful that we have a system that requires public comment, environmental assessments, and approval at various levels of elected government.
Did Travis approach you or had you paddled the Salween before inspiration hit to do a film on it?
Outward Boundwhile recognizing that our guests are quite different than many that we bring down the Grand Slring or iflm Salmons. I thought if we called the company Last Descents we could get more people to join the trips, to come and see these wild and beautiful canyons before they disappeared.
As a nation, and world-power, we may be on track to have a much better relationship with our rivers. I had to cut out everything pertaining to dams. Watch the full film, here. Currently the Salween dams are off the table and the river aalween continue to run free. We had no idea how to market and yet everything about what we were doing was really expensive, using imported equipment and western guides, so the market we could reach out to was only really wealthy people.
Each supports long stretches of river to be rafted, including multi-day trips and sandy beaches ideal for beginners and veterans alike. Travis, if you think back to that first trip with your dad 16 years ago, what is your sawleen vivid memory? What fil very difficult for westerners to understand is that the Chinese government is actually very, very sensitive to problems within the system and changes that need to be made.
You guys have all spent a considerable amount of time in China my first question is, what is the biggest misconception you had of China?
I started finding joy in just the process of being out there with the kids, and less about the big picture and how long the rivers would be around for. They just need to make sure that these changes happen at a pace that they have control over and where they are leading the charge. Think about doing something like yogic sun salutations back to back for hundreds or thousands of miles without taking a single normal step to move you forward on your way.
These participants need to be in a socioeconomic situation where they have enough free time to recreate and care about preserving the opportunity for others. For me, a fairly well-mannered person, I found these experiences to be incredibly stressful.
It really makes me happy to have a relatively open political dialogue.