Monday, April 28, 2008

50-50 grind

It got so hot as the day went on, digging in to the river with our paddles, we had to dunk our cotton shirts into the river and put them back on to cool down. There is no better air conditioner, we had found, than wet cotton against your skin or wrapped around your head like a turban.

The river was lazy, as the girl at the outfitters office mentioned. But that was no stopping us. Any and every branch and downed tree or rocky outcropping became obstacle in a course that lasted 4 days. If it got our attention, we were under it, around it or figure 8ing the fucker! One downed tree in particular, about 14 feet long, the length of which protruded from the surface of the water, jammed against boulders, offered the perfect grind, like a skateboard to a curb! We spotted it, swung the bow over and tracked a line towards it, yanking it out strait so that we were parallel to the tree when we reached it, 50-50 grinding against it, and CRUNCH!

Oh My God, what was that? "I think we got a hole in the canoe", I hear from the bow. A branch stump hidden underwater must have sunk 2 inches into our canoe, port side. The sound was like canvas being torn over a megaphone. "Pull over, pull over!" Through my head went the thoughts- I don't have a repair kit- I borrowed this canoe- Holy Shit!

This was the first reminder that we were in the middle of nowhere. I guess if we were stranded with a sinking boat some puking still drunk "hey bra" kinda guy would help us out. I'd hope.

We beached the canoe to examine the damage, I climbed from the stern walked around towards the bow and saw - nothing- I couldn't believe it. The Kev-lite material our canoe is made from is an incredibly resilient product or shall I say in englich, ROCKS! There was nothing but a scratch.

we hoped back into the canoe and headed towards the "Finger Banks"

everyone else is still at work

It was only 11 o'clock and the crack of the days first Kuurs can echoed across the river. We had paddled nearly 20 miles since we launched back at the Transient Canoe Dock. We weren't nearly half way. The dew that fell that night had been resurrected and hung in the morning like laundry along the branches of the trees on the banks. Such fog they say, lures men from their wives and fish from their schools. We paddled, and around each river bend we witnessed the sun burning through the body of the fog and at our own skin. Our shirts had to come off, our sunglasses had to be put on, our first joint had to be lit.

There's something about submerged river stones with long moss growing on them that resemble the tops of balding men's heads, their long hair flowing in the current of the river. There's something about the way water swirls around the edges of your paddle after a J-stroke. There's something spiritual about the canoe parting the water. Overall something at the bottom of the throat arrives when you are out of your element, out of your routine, knowing that everyone else is still at work, under buzzing florescent lights, and you are loafing, enjoying "new perspectives".