As Time Goes By.....

A little bit about EVERYTHING.. Family , friends , life, death,rants and raves. Just a place for me to get it all out of my system..

Location: Arkansas, United States

Monday, May 31, 2004

The Great River Adventure

Where to begin---

Start humming the theme from Gilligan's Island

It is noon-- Sunday afternoon...

Here we are nine people setting out for a lovely afternoon FLOAT trip on the beautiful Buffalo National River.

Canoe #1 - Tom & Linda -24 years of canoeing and never once in the river
#2 - Carol , Gordon & Ashley (age11) - He used to guide on the Shenandoah river
#3 - Alan & Kenda -he has some canoe experience - she is a virgin (canoeing)
#4 - Nick & Daniel(brothers) - 2 virgins - testosterone machines
Now the scene has been set.

Within 5 min. of getting off of the transport bus- Carol & Gordon & Ashley are the 1st to have their canoe in the water-- to bad they were in it BACKWARDS!!

They come back to shore & get regrouped.

Nick & Daniel- of course are the 1st to flip the canoe - that is before we even get out of sight of the drop off bus. This was comical watching them trying to upright the canoe since they were working from opposites sides of the craft. (teenage brothers - need I say more?)

Then we set off on the trip-- Lots of shallow water- some mini rapids and quite a bit of river debris to dodge since they had had bad weather 3 weeks ago.. A lot of trees down etc..Made it more of a challenge. Of course the Nick and Daniel comedy hour continues.. They will not take directions from each other nor will they watch the adults to see which side to paddle on. They spent a lot of time dragging the canoe off of the shore or sand bars or floating sideways .

Then we come around a bend and there they go AGAIN-- this time he water is deeper and the canoe floats away and so do the paddles.. Everything is retrieved and we are on our way once again.. Gordon is getting frustrated - he does not have much patience.Ashley is wanting to paddle and he won't let her -- and they also do not want her to get wet.. Why the hell do you go canoeing if you do not want to get wet???

(It is thundering - but no rain yet)

We paddle a little more -- come around a very sharp bend with a kick in current right in to a fallen tree-- Tom & Linda go over-- Tom is panicked because he thinks I am trapped between the canoe and the tree roots and I am under the canoe following the cross bar to get myself topside again.. So he is pulling the canoe and I am beginning to wonder just how big this freaking canoe is.. Finally I am top side and sucking air like a vacuum cleaner..A little worse for the roll over- but no blood.. Some bruises on my right knee and arm.. SURPRISE !!! But Alan & Kenda caught our paddles and we got our canoe emptied out and
back to the trip.

Back on our way -- more thunder and now it begins to rain-- light warm rain-- so actually it felt pretty good.

Here we go-- watching Nick and Daniel ( who have switched places in the canoe- Now Daniel has the responsibility of steering and providing most of the forward momentum) Of course they end up in the water again. I am sure they are developing gills by now.

We pull over and stop for lunch.. I needed a break by them- so did everybody else.

Back to the canoes-- paddle , paddle paddle, now the thunder is L O U D and it is raining.
This lasts about 5 min and is gone-- No big deal. We relax, float and laugh and the floating comedy continues.

Come to a set of shallows and Kenda steps out of the canoe to drag them across the shallow - she slips and so now she has joined the soggy bottom club. Alan had joined earlier - since he had to help the boys get their canoe emptied several times.

About 40 min later we pull over to rest and to let the smokers see if they have any dry ones.
While we are there they agree to let Ashley wade in the water and the water fight was on.. Ashley kicked water and so Kenda gave her a river shower.. Ashley loved it -- Carol was laughing and Gordon was pissed.. sooo what.. We were all going to go for Mexican food after the trip-- Now Gordon says they will have to be dropped off at the house to get cleaned up before they can go eat.. I told him-- I don't think so-- Nobody else has the chance to get cleaned up before we go.. So now he is really PISSED.. Get over it ..

Back in the canoes, about 25 min later we see a bottle neck at one bend in the river.. Park rangers telling every canoe-- hit the chute fast and paddle left. Of course Gordon and Carol were already in the right channel and could not correct it.They made it thru - with one small mishap. Gordon took a tree limb in the shoulder.. Nice bruise... Next Kenda & Allen- make it thru and then slide to the shore to wait for the boys. We have paddled about a block away from the bend to keep it clear. The next thing we see is the Ranger boat- moving people away- and then see them helping somebody to shore.. Yep- it was Daniel-- the boys lost control of the canoe- but could have rode it out- had they not been hit by hotdoggers and Daniels hand was caught between the 2 canoes. Nearest hospital-- 40 miles away. At least we had 2 firefighters with us.. They bandaged him and the rangers took Kenda & Daniel to their van so they could get him to the ER.. Now it is RAINING !!!!

Back in the canoes and we are paddling for all we are worth, Now is is pouring and we have lightening . We are paddling FASTER. The canoes are filling with water and we still have about 1.5 miles to go. More lightening , thunder, rain in sheets - we cannot see thru it and the wind is blowing us to the wrong side of the river,It is cold ,loud and very very scary. This is the worst storm I have ever paddled thru and none of us are having a good time .

We spot the bridge ( the landing place) and we hear lightening and then see a tree fall to our right. WE ARE SCARED!!!! Keep trying to move forward.. We have so much water in our canoe that is impossible to make forward motion.. I tell Tom to let me out .. He hops over the side and helps me out.. The river is much warmer than the rain and we begin to pull the canoe toward the shore. It is not easy.. We finally manage to get it lodged on the rocks , Tom helps me out of the water and he takes off running to get the car-- which is
up the hill and on the other side of the bridge.. By the time we get everybody else to the road here comes Tom with Fluffy(Fluffy is our GMC).. So here we are 6 adults and an 11 year old all soaked to the bone crawling into the vehicle.. Soggy- but safe.. We then take Alan & Nick to the hospital ( an hour in the opposite direction of home) to meet Kenda and Daniel.. Daniel took 9 stitches in the hand- 2 of them internal. We finally got home at 9pm that night from our 3 hour float trip.
We had fun.

The End

a good friend will bail you out of jail
a true friend will sit next to you in jail and say
"That Sure Was Fun"