Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kentucky: The Canoe Trip

I can’t swim. Have I mentioned that before? I am sure I will again. Part of the previously mentioned backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts to Kentucky wilderness was a canoe ride down the river. It was supposed to be our rest day: Get in the boat in the cool water and paddle a bit to guide the boat downstream with the current and get out at the landing refreshed to complete the backpacking trip. Huge joke: Low water levels turned it into a canoe drag. Get out, drag the canoe through the gravel while slipping and sliding and trying not to get too much more water in the canoe on the already soaking backpacks. Get in, paddle a few feet, get back out again, drag the canoe some more. Glare at the person who planned the trip. Drag the canoe some more. Here’s how much of a bad mood I was in for this part of the trip: I took no pictures. Finally we got to an area where the water was deep enough to paddle. Nasty trick. The deep spot was only due to a steeply walled and narrow ravine with a log that had fallen over the river, spanning the width completely, and causing the water to dig out the river bed below to create a really deep area. I could tell by how dark the surface looked. I was afraid just being in the boat in such deep water. Others ahead of us had already climbed onto the narrow slippery bouncy log and lifted their canoe over and gotten back in, and were waiting for us. I said there is NO WAY I can get out of a canoe into that narrow log. Not gonna happen. Can’t do it. You can’t MAKE me. The other adult in the crew who was standing on the log said “What are you going to do? Climb the banks to the road? “ I looked up at the impossibly steep banks. Um, no. “Paddle back against the current and drag the canoe back to the put in?” Well, not that either. “Die here?” Well, obviously not THAT one. “Well, then GET OUT and get up here so we can lift the canoe over.” I paused. “Look”, he said, “You are wearing a life jacket. Even if you fall in, you will float. We are all trained in life saving and CPR. No one here is gonna let you drown. Just don’t thrash around a lot if you fall in. Make it easy for us. Now get out of the boat.” Okay. It was terrifying but I did it. Got back in without capsizing it on the other side too. The boys cheered. I can do anything now.

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