Steve Baskis got off line while kayaking in House Rapid, the first serious whitewater in the Grand Canyon. He veered left into the maw of a truck-sized hole he couldn’t see. It swallowed his kayak. He rolled up. It flipped him again. He rolled upright again.
He heard faint yelling from his friends — “Hup! Hup! Hup!” — barely audible over the roar.
He couldn’t see his fellow paddlers.
But that wasn’t troubling. Baskis hasn’t seen anything — not even light — since a roadside bomb tore through his Army truck in Iraq in 2008, sending shrapnel into his face and killing Victor Cota, a friend sitting next to him.
A decade later, Baskis was digging his paddle into the Colorado River and following his ears — chasing those “Hups!” — back to his pod of kayaking guides. They were hooting and congratulating him on his exceptional paddling through one of the rowdier rapids in the canyon.