The river was all mine, I say…..MINE, MINE, MINE…….After some extensive persuading, I got my hubby to agree to drop me off at the river for a my first solo afternoon kayak trip!
Here is a little history to catch you up. It is downright sad how close we live to the river and how few times a year we get to revel in it. I should say up front that I didn’t screen my husband very well in the area of floating because I (lover of all things river and a bit of a floating addict) married a man who doesn’t really like to float…WTF???? HE DOESN’T LIKE TO FLOAT??? I know, I am still trying to wrap my mind around it as well…but be it as it may….Mama hadn’t been to the river since pre-breastfeeding, pre-baby and pre-pregnancy (so….2011ish?) and was in a need of some quiet time on the river. Mae Mae is finally drinking some whole milk now and nursing are spaced far enough now that I can sneak away for an afternoon without too much discomfort or mommy guilt.
ok…back to the damn point.
Me, the hubby, baby, kayak and pickup head to the river mid afternoon. The plan was to drop me off upstream and pick up me at the next take out 9 miles down river. This is a relatively short half day float that should take 3-5 hours. Eddie was nervous about leaving me to my lonesome on the river and having afternoon baby duty. There haven’t been many days where he has had to manage nap time and entire afternoon by himself. Lots of firsts to be had all in one day around here.
The drop off spot had a dozen or so loungers on the gravel bar as we pulled up. Apparently we were a comical sight as they all gave us the once over. Looking back on it, I am sure they were all wondering how the hell two adults and one (too small to be on the river) child were going to fit in one kayak. We maneuvered our way down to the water’s edge, me with baby and Eddie with kayak. The water is fairly fast at this spot so once I had my butt in the seat, I knew I would be gone in a hurry. I gave everyone a quick kiss and sat down and off I went. The quick exit must have surprised Eddie since he and Mae Mae just stared at me from the bank. I was around the bend and gone before they knew what hit them or me for that matter.
I hadn’t floated this particular stretch of river before, because the water level is usually too low to float mid summer but all the summer rains have allowed some late summer access to this stretch. So…..feet up and kicked back, beer in hard, new stretch of river ahead……sounds like a damn good plan to me.
It may have taken all of 3-5 minutes for the quiet to really sink in….And did it ever feel good. The whole world fell away and sllooooowwwweeeddddddd way down. I know it has been said a million times before, but you don’t know how loud life is until you step away for a bit. I think I was teary eyed for at least the first half hour of the trip. Stress just melted from me……Got to revel in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the river. Took a deep breath and blew out the cobwebs of life that were just cluttering up my soul. Cheesy yes, but the truth.
This river is on public land so there are no private accesses, houses, cabins etc. It is just mile after mile of beauty. Came across a handful of other canoes but mostly felt like I had the entire stretch to myself. I was about half way through when I heard the first thunder…0% chance of rain and I was hearing thunder and I mean big thunder rolling in at my back. I have been caught in the rain on the river numerous times, so I wasn’t sweating the rain. Hell, I was wet already. But since there have been a few deaths in the past couple of years from lightning strikes on the river, I was a little concerned about that.
I just continued on my merry way, stopping to swim, eat and just relax. It has always amazed me how hungry I get on the river. Feels like I have to bring the entire pantry to keep my hunger in check.
The last mile or so, I pulled out the stops and put my back into the paddle. It is called floating not paddling for a reason. Normally, paddling is reserved for maneuvering around the shoals and the remaining time is spent with paddle in the canoe just aimlessly floating….but when the wind picked up and it felt like I was in a wind tunnel, I thought it best to get going. It was raining leaves at this point and the wind was really howling. It felt so good to paddle and warm up some dormant muscles. I just kept it at a nice steady pace nothing crazy and made it within a few hundred yards of the take out point when the rain started….
The plan was for Eddie and Mae Mae to pick me up 3 or so hours down stream. I told him not to worry about being early or late, I would just hang on the gravel bar until he got there. But when I rolled in, I really thought I would just hop out of the kayak into the truck and we would be homeward bound….Well…no truck in site. No watch, no cell phone (no service anyway) so I parked my butt on the gravel bar to wait in the rain….
The float had gone so well, that even a torrential downpour for an hour on a gravel bar couldn’t even dampen my spirits. I was happy as a lark when they finally got there to pick me up. They arrived at the 3.5hour mark….I just made the float too fast. 9 miles in 2.5 hours is too damn fast. I think I just so excited to be on the river, I paddled a bit too much.
This is an experience that will need to be repeated again and again…..Mama needs some river time to de-stress and reenergize.
Moral of this long winded story is that a good solo float will kick a good massage right in the ass…hands down.
Disclaimer. This float and post were done prior to the recent flooding in the area.