My sister and her family were here for a visit last week from Santa Cruz Calif. We had a blast!
I kept thinking “now that I finally have them here, I need to take them to do something utterly Northwesty and completely fantastic! What do I do? What do I do?” So I suggested taking them down the Little Spokane River in our canoe at daybreak, we can put in right here across the street (so we can see all the fabulous wildlife) who knows we may even see a Moose (but no big deal unless it is a bull moose) we see the cows all the time…small potatoes. They jumped at the idea…..
That is when I suddenly went into bit of a panic…as I remembered my last canoe ride with my husband. In 20yrs of owning a very high end “Mad River Canoe”, it has only been tipped 2 times…and I was only a member one of those times….and It definitely was NOT my fault! Well not completely….perhaps if you consider the fact that I was running us into a large log that was in the water due to my driving/ruddering skills or lack there of, then OK it might have been my fault “a little bit”, but it was mostly my husband using his ore to push said canoe away from said log, and he in all his superhuman strength pushed WAY to hard, and the whole family went into the river…..but I digress…..
I fretted all night about how I was probably going to have to tell them that there was a chance that we could be going in the water at 5am…..at 42 degrees outside…in hopes that they might want to back out. My sister actually asked me directly before we put in “What are the odds of us going into the water Barbie”?? My reply, “about 50% sissy” She still wanted to go! HA! That’s my brave sissy! Tony my brother in law never batted an eye….a real boy scout that one.
My main concern and lament was that Gary (my husband) is at the front…and he NEVER listens to what I tell him to do….The driver (me) am at the back of the canoe, so that makes me in charge of steering and ruddering. I AM the captain ya know! And if he does not listen to what I direct (since I AM the seasoned one and the original owner of the canoe) we will surly be in trouble and crash a LOT. The one in front is there for power and help…..I yell to him “WIDE SWEEP” WIDE SWEEP” as I do the “wide sweep stroke” with my ore in hopes that he will follow suite so we can maneuver the canoe in the direction that we need to make the turn in the river and not allow the current to take us into that large out cropping of dead and spider filled trees that are also filled with past years birds nests….. he is not wide sweeping…so I yell again “WIDE SWEEP GARY” WIDE SWEEP GARY” still his paddle goes in as normal ….no faster no wider! Hence we are in the tree hoping no one loses an eye! I look like a fool! On another turn I say “POWER STROKE” “POWER STROKE” he continues lolling along as if we are in a stroll in the park…..I am in the back of the canoe working with all my might to power it into place for the next turn ALONE while he is admiring the deer and fawn crossing the river and pointing them out to our guests…..we go into another tree and by this time we all have birds nests in our hair, and I am slapping spiders off my bare legs ……an hour has passed and we still have not tipped over…..but the canoe is filled with branches leaves and several random spiders. But we are having a ball and laughing hysterically! As another half hour flies by Gary and I FINALLY have our stuff in sync, and we have stopped running into the trees. However we have been making so much noise that we have seen a total of almost NO Wildlife (except the deer) and who need deer, they eat my flowers, and obviously no MOOSE! No worries, we still had some adventure as we pulled the canoe onto a bank (as some needed to pee) and when I looked up from my squatting position I noticed that across the river was a gigantic house that has a picture window facing the river and particularly right where I was peeing! There was probably a lovely couple sitting in their kitchen having their breakfast, and while the husband sips his coffee with newspaper in hand he says to his wife…”honey? “I do believe there is someone peeing by the river” “It looks like a woman”….”she is getting up now” “she is looking very panicked as well” ….”Shall we ask them in for breakfast?….they MUST be hungry” I am pretty sure that is how the convo must have gone.
So we get all the way to the take out site and we NEARLY did tip the canoe trying to stop it at some rocks….stupid stupid me….if only I had gone just a little further the REAL take out spot was right there and super EASY! OH WELL! What’s a little water in the canoe gonna hurt and what’s a little bit of wet clothes gonna hurt???
So we loaded old red up and put her on the back of the truck and went home and ate our OWN breakfast!
The next day my ex husband (who is an excellent canoe person) arrived with my new son in Law and moving truck from Illinois (my daughter and her new hubby are moving here! YEAH! and her Dad helped move them) (my daughter had already flown in earlier) Since my ex and I are on very good terms I took him over to the river and asked some questions, and talked him into taking my daughter and son in law on the same route so he could tell me what I did wrong. He was happy to get out on the water again. When he got back he said “Barbie”, “if you got down this route without tipping the canoe you did really good”, it’s a pretty hard and narrow route”. I am so glad that I am not the only one having a hard time navigating this end of the river.
I want to take some “lessons” with my hubby….so that “he” can be the driver in the back of the canoe from now on…..everything he learns he does WAY better than me (he’s one of those “he can do anything kind of guys” and do it GOOD) and he won’t have to RE learn it EVERY time we go out on the river!
Now my sissy and brother in law can go home and say they canoed down a class 5 river in the GREAT NORTHWEST on their vaca!
No, it’s not really a class 5!