A day full of...

Adventure? Craziness? Fun? Tiresome? Epic? 
Well, the answer is all of the above!

What started as a plan for a fun day with the family kayaking the river nearby, 
turned into a day we will NEVER forget! 
First let me start by telling you about this river. It is one of the only sandy bottom, fresh water rivers in the USA. It is not a huge river, about 20-30 feet wide and an average of 2 feet deep, with lots of shallow spots and a few deep spots as you go. The water just kind of mosies down stream, not very fast, but moving. It is called the Blackwater River. The trees and bushes drop leaves and branches into the water that combined with the iron from the sand give it a brown/black look. Although it is fairly clean water. AND it stays at about 75 degrees year round, which when it is 95 with humidity making it a heat index of over 100, is wonderful! 

So, we have floated this river a number of times each summer. It is very long, so we like to put in and get out at different points each time. A few weeks ago we did a 5 mile section and it was great, but a little long. (My pregnant body doesn't like sitting in the hard seats or paddling for that long!) So we decided to do a 3 mile section this time. We did this section last summer and it was fine. We enjoyed it. So there is the plan, get all the chores at home done Friday so we can get up and head out for a day of 3 mile fun! 

It all started by me waking up feeling horrible. I didn't sleep well and just felt exhausted. But I was determined to go have fun with my family. The kids were already in there swim suits and ready. So I made some lunches and got ready. We got up to the river and got unloaded fine. We had dropped off my van at the ending point and were ready. As we were driving over the bridge where we were putting in, I noticed a rather large tree was down in the river, and there where a lot of smaller logs in the water, but it was passable so we decided to go. (We should have known better...)

So we set off after cooling off for a few minutes in the water, which felt great, it was about 92 with whatever humidity. We had gone about 30 minutes when the clouds got looking really dark and we started to hear thunder, not a good sign. But the weather report had said there was only about a 20% chance of rain. So we thought we were good. (Wrong again...)

Yes, it started raining. And not just raining, thunder and lightning with a LOUD crackle and pop right over head, and hard rain. Thinking it should pass fairly quick we kept paddling. The girls were kind of freaking out at this point. And I didn't really like it either. But since we were already wet, what would a little rain hurt right? Well, it didn't past quickly, not at all. And it started to get cold. But we paddled through, passing people who were huddled under umbrellas, laughing at us. "We could be them" I heard. (There are little roads to the river so you can just go play on the beaches and not have to float to get to them.) But we were good. About 2 hours later it finally stopped raining. Yes, TWO HOURS! (20% chance of rain my foot!)
We did stop shortly after it started, since the girls were freaking out, but only stayed for a few minutes.
This is Bekah and I dancing in the rain. Dustin and I danced also, but the pictures make me look huge, so sorry, I am not sharing them.
The girls hiding for a few minutes, till they decided the rain didn't hurt, it was just annoying. 

Okay, so the rain finally stopped! Yay! Fun times could come! Right??? Wrong...
Well, it wasn't horrible, just not the funnest time ever. The kids were all wet and cold from the rain and just wanted to go home, well we weren't even half way through our 3 mile trip, and we were in the middle of no where, we couldn't just get out and leave. So we keep going.

About half way through our 3 miles, we did find a nice beach to stop for lunch. And it was at this time that I tried getting out of the kayak and, being pregnant and weighting more than normal, I have a hard time and I tend to tip the boat a little, never over, just a little, and well Grace was in my kayak and wasn't prepared for me to get out and she tipped out into the water head first! And I must say it was pretty funny! She didn't think so, but after all the rain non-fun, I couldn't stop from laughing as I pulled her up and hugged her and made sure she was okay.
Us eating lunch. Dustin found a chair someone had left, lucky me! It was just what I needed. 

So we keep going. Well the water is starting to get filled with logs, branches and whatever else, making it an obstacle course trying to get around and through them with out getting stuck, which we did a lot of, or hitting something and tipping. Well, there are normally a few trees down and you have to paddle around them, it can be hard, but doable. Well there where a LOT of them, just when you thought you were through them and could relax, there were more, lots more! It was about this time that Dustin hit a log he didn't see and dumped poor, freezing Bekah right off the front, head first into the river! He jumped out and grabbed her and she was fine, scared to death but okay. She decided to ride with me for a while. (I must say that at the start of our trip she was with me and didn't want to be, so she moved to Dustin's as soon as she could.)

A cool tree stump in the middle of the water. Most were just down in the water and in the way, but this one was pretty cool.

So what can we do but keep going...

And what did we find after the next bend, and the next, and next and next... more trees down, logs, and branches everywhere! Poor Jake and Dustin had to get out so many times to pull the kayaks through or over and past them that they were exhausted! Jake didn't want to do any more, he told me to "paddle through mom!" Well, I tried, but he still had to get out more! 

There were some really cool spots where we had to stop and take pictures. It wasn't all bad.
This is a cool tree that was growing in the middle of the river.

A stump on its side in the river.

Bekah & I on the stump.

Just when we thought we were nearing the end, just a few more bends in the river to go...

Yes, a WHOLE TREE, across the WHOLE river! There was no way around it! We had to unload, climb over and lift the kayaks over! It was so crazy!

Well, it couldn't get worse than that! Just more small trees and logs... to navigate around.

So in short, our 3 mile trip, which should have been and easy 4 hour trip, with not much paddling, to over 6 hours and was a non-stop obstacle! With 2 of hours of POURING rain and thunder and lightning right over head! (And when you are on the water through that it is so much worse!) Now as I have read over the story, it sounds really tame compared to what we went through. I have under played it a lot. Trust me when I say, it was a very traumatic trip, that we will never forget! And we will never do that section of the river again! NEVER!
We did enjoy the time together, and it ended okay. Here are a few pictures from the ending point.

The kids and Dustin

A few quotes of the day:
"Just paddle through mom!" -Jake
"Can't we just walk to the road and go home?"- Grace (As we were in the middle of no where, with thick forest on either side of the river.)
"I want to go home."  - Bekah (Also while in the middle of no where, during the rain storm.)
"The top of my toes are wrinkly" - Jake
"Mom, did your face get to wet, is that why it is so wrinkly?" Apparently I have a lot of wrinkles all over my face. Good to know.

Yeah good times...

The End


Kayla said...

That looks like quite the adventure. Your swimsuit is super cute!

Janae said...

Wow, that sounds like an intense trip! I think I would've been scared for life! :)