Thursday, August 19, 2010

Up Two Creeks With Just One Paddle

During this month's camping trip, the boys and I completed two Park Quests, each involving a paddle. 

Let me say that again, slightly rephrased. 

I, the opposite of athletic, paddled a canoe a total of four miles with an extra 120 pounds in my boat!

I'm still walking around with a Matt-like swagger.

I'm not exactly a stranger to the canoe.  As a teenager, I went on a youth group trip where we paddled canoes down the Colorado River: from Blythe, California to Yuma, Arizona (at best guess, 85 miles).  It sounds impressive, but there was more floating and playing than paddling and we took an entire week.

Me on the Colorado, circa 1986
(I must have lost my mind to share my dorky sunburned self with the world)
Last summer, I successfully canoed three miles with just Matt in my boat (the photo in my new header is from that adventure). At the time he weighed all of 32 pounds.  Gabe rode with my cousin and her teenage son (that's their boat ahead of us in the header photo).

So, canoeing with the two of them (both having grown several inches this past year) was part of the whole going solo extravaganza.

The first quest at Tuckahoe was a challenge.  Not only was I the lone paddler, but I also had to pull the canoe off the rack, drag it to water, gather gear, load up boys and launch the whole mess into the water.  I took a breather to take a picture.

Matt sat in the middle of the boat on a cushion.  I put him in charge of the map.  He likes being the "bossy."

Gabe sat in the front of the boat.  It was his job to let me know of any debris in the water.  He was kept busy. It was a rare stretch that we could canoe a straight line.  We had to zig zag around fallen trees.  We got stuck on underwater logs more than once.  Halfway to our destination, I had to get out and drag the canoe (with the boys in it) across a sand bar.

It was rough, but worth it.  I had the best view.

And we saw hundreds of turtles.  The painted turtle below was the largest.  Gabe decided she was the mama. 

His/her shell was nearly two feet long.

We/I paddled for about an hour before reaching a point in the river where trees and debris blocked our way.  We had to turn around without reaching our prescribed destination.

When we returned to the park office to let the staff know we weren't lost in the swamps, the friendly park staff took pity and stamped our book anyway.

Even without the stamp, the quest was a success.  It showed us just what we could do!


  1. It sounds like you had quite an adventure. I love the Mama turtle.

    I'm also impressed with your canoeing skills. It's not easy! I tried once with a friend; both of us paddled hard but didn't move anywhere!