Monday, June 20, 2011

#16 - Take a Kayak Trip.......

I may not have finished it, and I may not have paddled as far as I intended, but I DID take a kayak trip, so I'm counting it as fulfilling one of my 50 Things to Do. I did the whole sleep in the gym, get up at the crack of dawn, try to figure out whether to eat breakfast or pack or dress or fill up water bottles first, work hard all day, finish up very very dirty, do it all over again routine. I never said #16 on my 50 Things to Do List would be "complete the entire Paddle Georgia trip." Maybe I hedged just a little.

I didn't really feel guilty for coming home early, because my philosophy is generally not to have any regrets. Make a decision, come to terms with it, and then go on with life. I did wonder, though, if the trip improved significantly today, if Rozmo would be calling me and saying, "Girl, you went home too soon. It's getting good now!" But I didn't fret over it. Even the realization that I would have to cook the rest of the week didn't dampen my excitement over being home instead of on the river.

Just as I was folding the laundry from the trip (did I mention how FILTHY kayaking is?), Rozmo DID call. She asked if I would come get her tomorrow.

In her defense, it isn't JUST that the paddling didn't get any better today. She has plumbing problems at home and a family member with a dire need for a root canal (unrelated to each other, I assume), so she felt obligated to go home and take care of things. It was interesting, though, how much better her coming home early made me feel about MY coming home early.

I have a few pictures to document the fact that I did indeed take a kayak trip. Or at least part of one.

Rozmo and our little corner of the gym. While my part was still neat. Rozmo's is ALWAYS neat.

The gym where we "camped" for two (or three) nights. You've gotta love the irony - this gym is at the school where I taught for nine years. This gym wasn't there when I was there, though. They had pictures on the wall of all the athletes from that school who have gone on to the next level, both college and professional. I got a kick of counting all the kids I had taught.

Our initial launch site.

On the second morning, just finding my blue kayak among the gazillion other blue kayaks was my toughest challenge. To that point.

This is how it looked at the beginning of the day's paddle. After a little while, the paddlers got strung out along the river more, but we were almost always in sight of other paddlers, both ahead and behind.

We often had to create our own "pit stops" at sand bars along the river. This sign let us know that this particular location was off limits, and everyone respected it.

A self portrait. I call this my "goober hat," and that was BEFORE I saw that I had it on crooked. (Almost) Always a rule follower, I kept my life jacket on at all times on the river.

This is what most of the trip looked like. Brown water, green trees.

That is what I call a tire swing.

This is Drew, firing his water gun at Rozmo and Deb.

Rozmo, probably hoping I wouldn't run my kayak into hers, like I did with my bike.

An overpass that I travel across every time I go to a gymnastics meet. Or pretty much anything else on campus.

Rozmo and me clowning around with some bronze statues at the State Botanical Gardens. I kept seeing these statues appear on my screensaver, and I couldn't remember where they were from. Katydid and I took pictures of them on BRAG 2009.

Deb wanted in on the clowning around too.

This dragonfly perched on the bow of my kayak for a long time. Later there was one on my deck bag, much closer to me, but he flew away as I was getting my camera out of the dry box.

Passing under a train trestle. I don't know if this one is still in use or not.

We had to get out of our kayaks as we approached this dam. Although there are two openings in the dam, allowing water to pass freely, the force of the water at those two openings was too great for us to go through either of them. A line of volunteers passed our boats along, and we crossed over the dam on foot. The take-out location was just on the other side, so we then walked our boats across the river to leave them for the night.

Hard to see, but perhaps a double-decker tree house? Lucky kids....

The take-out location for portaging around the dam, about which I wrote in yesterday's blog. You can see the old power plant behind the kayaks. I'm not sure if it's still in use or not.

And this is why we had to portage around the dam. I have no idea how high that drop-off is, but it's pretty high. Drew said, "Shoot....we could have done that." I agreed, "Yeah....50-50 chance of landing upright!"

The power of water is simply awesome.

The view from where I had to go..... make a pit stop. The cows didn't seem to mind.

Rozmo in her umbrella hat. It was the time of day when we would do anything to break the monotony.

I'm not sorry I went, and I'm not sorry I came home early. I have a lot more empathy now for folks who try BRAG and don't come back. Or go home in the middle of the week. Some things just aren't for some people. I'll be a lot more understanding the next time someone says he or she doesn't see the point of riding a bicycle across Georgia. I now feel that way about paddling. I'm not going to give it up for good, and I still made sure I tied the kayak down securely enough this morning that it didn't blow off Hubby's truck. For me, though, kayaking is something I'll do for a couple of hours and then go home. I don't need 106 miles of it.

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