Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Canoe Adventure

Friday morning I rallied the troops bright and early to go canoeing. We signed up for a 3 hour trip down a local creek. Launch time was 10am. I don't know if it was the earlier-than-normal wake up call or the thought of sitting in a canoe for at least 3 hours (if not more depending on our prowess) but the ride there was quiet and moody. I was the only one veritably bouncing in her seat with excitement. Maybe because this whole escapade was my idea in the first place.

Clearly the most excited

 Charlie was the only had done this before but that was also about 13 years ago. We all have a bit of  kayaking experience so I fully anticipated us to take to canoeing like a fish takes to water. My only reservations were about how our little miss was going to handle it. She's a bit of a nature phobe. I mean, she won't even open her bedroom window for fear that some formiddable multi legged creature might penetrate the metal screen and get her. She despises bugs and insects of any sort and well, let's face it, canoeing down a wooded waterway called Cedar Creek pretty much ensures the water isn't crystal clear with a full view of the bottom. What if we capsized? It could be so traumatic that she might not get back in the canoe and then how in the hell would we get her out of there?
At the end of the day I put these what~ if's out of my mind and proceeded as planned.
We took a van to our launch point. There are options for 4, 3, 2 or 1 hour trips. Since it was our first time we played it safe and opted for the 3 (Because we are so smartI'm dripping with sarcasm here people.)  I should have remembered what happened on that other famous "3 hour tour" that left a whole mess of people stranded on Gilligan's Island and thought the better of it.

 Or maybe some bells and whistles should have gone off at our launch point when I asked the driver which way to push off into the water, left or right? I should have known then when he looked at me strangely and said "You go with the current Lady."
Ok, so I'm obviously not Bear Grylls.
But I did have a super cute bandana on and looked so outdoorsy.
Besides, I'm a quick learner. This was going to be a piece of cake.

Charlie took Ryan with him on one canoe which was a good idea because if we capsized I might be torn as to who to save first: my iPhone or my daughter. (I kid, I kid) but that left my son and I to man our own canoe.
One would think that at this point I might have recalled the kayaking adventure my man child and I took together, in a 2 man kayak, in the Outerbanks in 2009. And how I almost killed him for not paddling and making me do all the work. But those thoughts never crossed my mind. Until we launched off the shore and began this journey.
Within the first 10 minutes I made him pull over and switch with me in the back and him in the front. Mind you, this was because he had crashed us into trees and shrubbery for about 8 of those 10 minutes. I think it was at this point that I overheard Charlie tell Ryan "Let's just go...I can't listen to the two of them arguing and fighting like this."
We weren't really arguing. It sounded more like this:
Me: "We're going to crash."
Him: "I got it."
Me: "No you don't. We're gonna crash!"
Him: "I got it."
Me: "No you don't!!!!" as we crashed into some low hanging branches.
Then I would add an "I told you so" or perhaps let an F bomb or two fly.
Not my proudest moments.
Regardless, the other two took off, we switched places and gave it another go.
  Well, I'll be.
Canoeing is nothing like kayaking.
It's 10 bajillion times harder.
And I'm not too proud to admit that the paddling on the opposite side of the direction you want to go in screwed me up more than once.
So was I much better than my son?
Let's just say that within the first 45 minutes the thought that we were in this for 3 hours was not as appealing as it had been when I signed away on the dotted line back at the rental place.
After much struggling and frustration, we finally met up with the other two at a small sandy beach. 

I couldn't believe it but Ryan was a total natural at this. When we pulled up she was splashing in the creek (?!) and proudly informed me that she peed in the woods.
Who is this kid????
We hung out there for a few minutes (the other two had already been there a while) before launching off again.
The A-Team (as they dubbed themselves) did a quick Paddle High Five (their signature handshake or whatever) then quickly disappeared down the waterway.
Show offs.

Onward we paddled, me yelling at him when we/I lost control of the canoe, apologizing profusely when we were coasting smoothly, then yelling again when I forgot which side to paddle on.
My arms got tired and we switched again. Then his arms got tired and he stopped paddling at important moments when he should have been paddling to prevent me from hitting things like a log jutting out of the water. We came upon two men and a couple of kids in kayaks who pulled over to let us pass. We silently gave it our all as we clipped by neither of us wanting them to see how bad we sucked at this. When we were safely out of ear shot we gave each other a smile and a mental high five for not being total train wrecks in front of strangers.
We were told to look for an abandoned railroad trestle and that we would land on the beach to the left of it where we would be picked up by the van. As the trestle came into sight my exhausted and brow beaten son paddled us right up to the shore. ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE.
And I may have very well yelled at him one last time.

The moral of the story?
~Don't be fooled by children who claim to hate nature and fear God's creatures.
They take to canoeing like actual fish to water then brag about using the woods as a restroom.
~Thirteen years is not too long for your husband to forget how to canoe. And he will remind you of that as you struggle to keep your boat going.
~ Kayak next time. Single man kayaks at that or your son may never speak to you again.


  1. Looks like ye all had a very adventurous day Eleanor!

  2. I have often wondered if I would canoe not sure you convinced me although you had such fun. I do not think I am brave enough Eleanor