Wednesday, April 2, 2008


1. One spending no money on canoe or equipment rentals, ie. self-outfitted.
2. Vagrant
3. Fleeting.
4. A sudden pulse of voltage.
5. Passing before the sight or perception, or, as it were, moving over or across a space or scene viewed, and then disappearing. (Milton)

river over-romanticized

Our expectations were of great wilderness adventures. We were going to gather our own firewood, fish and fillet dinner, cook on a river stone griddle and paddle miles without ever seeing a soul. It quickly became obvious we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. What ever it was we were foolishly over prepared.
When we arrived at the outfitters we inquired with the girl at the counter if paddles could be rented. We had our own but an extra paddle seemed like a good idea in the case of a capsize where a paddle goes missing. She looked at us with a "you are certainly not from around here are you" look. "It's a lazy river, I wouldn't worry about it" she said. I can only imagine what we looked like to the girl at the counter. We were over-decked in gear. Our ultralight rain and wind breaker's seams were taped and sealed. The big logos on our chests I'm sure told our stories verbatim. We were such out of towners we arrived at the wrong put-in. As a matter of fact there was no put-in there at the outfitters office at all. The outfitter we arranged transportation with's main office was 20 miles away.
Once we were on our way to the put-in, we stopped for beer and bickered over what kind to get. We are from the city. Heineken seemed like the obvious choice yet I wanted something more fitting to the trip, something a little more hillbilly. We ended up with a case of Heineken and a case of Coors cans, which for the duration of the trip was called "kuurs" with a back country inflection.
We finally pulled into the outfitters main office parking lot, and immediately shit ourselves. The parking lot was packed; kids, families, teenagers, college kids with rafts and floaties, groups in vans; everything I've grown to despise. Now, keep in mind, this was my idea. I chose the place, I built up the adventure. So when we looked at each other while waiting in line, all i could think was "what have I gotten us into?" the rental office was crowded and loud- everything we had hope to avoid........but it was there........our status was established, our status as Transient Canoers. Hmm, I liked this. Our new status distanced us from the ruckus.
We embraced our new Title. We wanted nothing more than to be independent, to be distinguished from the crowds at the outfitter's office. We wanted to be on our own. We loaded our canoe at the transient put in, far from the noise and crowds and set out into the cold and clear waters.