Prepared is not always possible

Once more a lesson has been learned, but I’m not exactly sure what the lesson is. Riding the river is one of my favorite summer activities. This doesn’t mean it’s something I excel at. It just means it’s something I love to do.

6-25 Page 4A.inddHowever, it isn’t something I’m allowed to do alone, as Fowler has put his foot down about that because for some reason he thinks it might not be the safest thing to do. And he is probably right. Take a recent Thursday.

Iva and I had previously planned a river run in the kayaks and chose the 12 Mile, as it’s conveniently located and seemed to be high enough to give us a pretty smooth trip.

Since the 12 Mile is shallow anyway, when the water is low you can spend as much time stuck on the rocks as you can on the water. So we had great expectations of a successful run.

We’d packed a picnic lunch in small coolers and strapped them securely to the kayaks with bungee cord. I had tomatoes, cucumbers, bread spread with mayonnaise, Vienna sausages, a knife and salt and pepper.

Iva had pimento cheese, pita bread, Cheetos, grapes and energy bars. We both had bottled water.

We launched the kayaks at a cousin’s landing. It was a little problematic due to the presence of a submerged tree at the access point not visible to the naked eye. We slid the kayaks in, then jumped into the water where we encountered the tree and went under. We quickly popped up, no worse for wear, and clambered into the kayaks then proceeded on our merry way. I didn’t even lose my hat. On this trip we had enough sense to attach the paddles to the kayaks to prevent loss, as we had previously found that losing a paddle is very easy to do.

We hadn’t gone far when we saw another downed tree stretched all the way across the river. The trunk cleared the surface by just enough inches for Iva to push her kayak underneath then climb across the tree to splash down on the other side. The kayak floated on, and she hurried to retrieve it. I then got my kayak stuck beneath the trunk, added my weight to it to make it sit lower in the water and succeeded in scraping off the cooler with lid open, flipping the boat and dunking myself. As quickly as possible, I righted the kayak, then grabbed the cooler. Only the knife and ziplocked bread remained inside. Once on our way, we began hopefully looking for the contents of the cooler.

Something white glinted in the water, bobbing up and down. It was some 100 feet downstream. We began paddling furiously and were able to retrieve the salt shaker. In just a few minutes, a short green cylinder-shaped object was spotted going over the shoals. It was joined by another. The cucumbers had been located. We were able to overtake them.

Next, we spotted the pepper shaker going merrily on its way just ahead, and for some reason this was harder to capture. Just as we approached, it would hit a rock or branch and bounce away just out of reach. But we persevered and added it to the cache.

We’d given up hope on the tomatoes. Suddenly there appeared a round red object serenely floating in the current. It wasn’t in a hurry, and so the lone tomato joined the rest of our lunch.

We later stopped and ate our picnic aboard, using the coolers as tables. Unfortunately, we neither found the one missing tomato nor the can of Vienna sausages.

We did, however, successfully navigate the river and arrived at our final bridge, having been dunked only three times and overturned only once. Not bad for the first run of the season.