July 4th, 2013 … A day I will never forget. Why you might ask? Because I almost died … Welllll maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but on the real … What started off as a beautiful sunny day turned into an unexpected adventure that tested my mental capacity to endure the beauty and harshness of the great outdoors that go hand in hand…
With a canoe roped on the roof of one car and a kayak secured to another, Meg, Rachel, Rachel’s Mom; Janet, and I headed off to the Canajoharie River for boat trip down the river. We were in high spirits, stopping by the grocery store to get some water, beer and snacks before making our way to the location where we would load our vessels into the river. We secured our phones and food in waterproof bags and put globs of sunblock on before getting in the water. Having done white water kayaking a couple years back, I was the first to take the kayak while the other girls loaded into the canoe annnnnd off we went.
About 30 min. down river, we decided to pull over and dock to eat some snacks which was when the first snaffu happened. As I was focused on getting to the side bank, I didn’t realize there was a super low tree branch hanging in front of me. Turning at the last minute, I tried to avoid the tree branch by leaning back (worst choice possible, should’ve leaned forward), my kayak tipped all the way over and I went under. Luckily, I was able to wiggle out of the kayak in time and the water was low which allowed me to pull the kayak to shore but I lost my sunglasses. R.I.P. BCBG sunglasses … But better to lose you than me drowning. With adrenaline in my veins, the girls and I worked to dump the water out of the kayak, ate some goldfish and downed a beer before switching up boats. I got in the canoe this time and Rachael took the kayak… Lo and behold about an hour down the river, we saw a whole bunch of cows just grazing along the riverside Moooo-ing alll over the place. Man oh man, did it stank haha. Annnd there were lots of flies… We were also lucky enough to see a hawk dive down and fly off with its captured prey, see lot of duck families along the river and even saw a pelican too as we floated down river!
See that smile on my face as I was getting my tan on below… Yea… After that photo was taken, everything kind of went downhill. Going into the trip, we had anticipated that it would take 3 hours to get down the river. What we didn’t realize was how loopty loop the Canajoharie River was, the lack of undercurrent in certain areas annnnd how low the river was in sooo many rocky spots. As such there were mini rapids all along our journey, which was ok for a kayak to get through but a canoe???
We were doing pretty great maneuvering the canoe through a couple rocky areas until we hit a much bigger, wider area of rapids. Janet was yelling instructions about which side to row and we were halfway through the rapids when our canoe hit a boulder and tipped over. Almost immediately after, the canoe started filling up with water making it super heavy when we realized that Meg’s leg had got caught under the canoe and that one of our bags had gotten loose and was on its way down river! Using whatever strength we could muster, we got Meg’s leg free, dragged the canoe to a rocky part of the shore and I ran down the rocky riverbed to try and catch our bag while Rachael looked on helplessly from where she was downstream in the kayak. The bag was caught, the canoe was emptied of water, Meg’s knee was bleeding annnnnd we were pretty much over it. Icing on the cake: Meg pulled out her phone from our waterproof bag to find out that it was 4pm. Mind you, we had started this trip at 12pm and this was supposed to be a 3 hour trip.
Realizing this, we knew we had to be close to the spot where our car was parked so when we finally got back into the canoe (and extra paranoid about rocks) we made sure to keep an eye out for a pink ribbon blowing in the wind by a bridge which served as a marker for where our car was parked. At this point down the river, there were no more rapids which also meant no more current to help us row. Sooo it was all arm power from this point on. And guess what, we passed by 4-5 bridges but not one of them had a pink ribbon attached to a tree. At that point, I started getting worried that the pink ribbon had gotten loose and floated away. The morale of the group went down each time we passed a bridge with no ribbon. But on we rowed, with our tired arms and blistered hands. And right when I felt like I was gonna die in the wilderness, I heard a shriek of happiness, looked up and saw the pink ribbon!!!!
I almost cried that’s how happy I was that we had made it to where our car was parked. We dragged our boats up the bank and Rachael and Meg took the car to pick up our other car parked upriver where we had started this journey. As we were waiting for them to get back, I started to feel like I was gonna throw up which Rachael’s mom said was probably because I was dehydrated… Yea, lesson learned: Pack more water instead of beer next time I go on a river trip. When Rachael and Meg got back with both cars, we loaded the boats on top of our cars and went home to eat a super yummer lobster dinner
. Mind you, it was 6pm at this point. That’s right, our 3 hour trip had turned into a 6 hour trip and we were plain pooped.
^^ The self timer decided to go off earlier than expected hence the running booty shot.
^^ That’s us. Tired, sunburned, sore and uber happy our river trip was over. I’ve never felt more proud of myself for experiencing and surviving through this adventure haha. Dear Canajoharie River: We came, we saw, and we conquered. Boooooo Yaaaaaaaa!
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