This past week a girlfriend and I along with her two children (one teenager, one middle schooler) took a canoeing trip down the Little Manatee River. Yes, canoeing (not kayaking) after a little bit of debate as to whether this was really a good idea. Anyway, the teenager took a single person kayak and the rest of us went in the canoe. Let's put this into perspective - I cannot steer a canoe - I can paddle. The middle schooler, a young girl, is afraid of spiders.....and well, let's just say we had an exciting adventure on this trip.
Brian gave us the information we needed for what we would be travelling. Now, having done this not to far in the past, I know you need to pay attention. And not only that, it helps to take notes!
As you can see, I took a couple of photos of the photos that Brian was showing us. Who will remember all this? (not me). Then the map.
So, do you know what all the little circles mean? That's when I said, "Can you label that?". I do know that the last time I did this trip it was dark from stormy clouds, then it started thundering, lighting and well, we got wet and we didn't fall into the river. We also took a detour and it wasn't intentional so I knew I needed to pay more attention this time! We elected to go with the 2:30 pickup time because it was now 10 and we weren't sure if we could make the 1:15.
It started out fine, we didn't fall into the water - which was dark, flowing high and fast. Since I can't steer, I loaded into the front of the canoe. After we all got loaded, this was the view.
The water is high, there is a current and I think you could probably float down a good portion of this without doing much except steering. Remember, I said I can't steer! Brian said the first part of this trip, actually the first half of this trip was going to be challenging. Hmmm, I didn't know what that meant - but I do now.
We started coming up to things that looked like this.
There was a tree across a good portion of the river. The water is flowing pretty good, you can see that going around the tree branches in the river. In order to get around this, you have to get over to the right side of the river and pass through an area that in this case was probably about 6 feet wide - maybe a little more. And the adventure begins. I didn't get the opportunity to take photographs along the way before I was to busy trying to get out of the branches that I was going through, get around the next tree, branch, whatever that was blocking half the passage way - you name it, there just wasn't time to keep putting the paddle down.
Halfway through, we stopped at the pavilion and had our lunch purchased at Publix. That sandwich tasted really good - not sure if it was all the paddling or what - but it was nice to stop and have a little relaxing lunch. Just about the time we finished, we found out whose belongings were in the pavilion with us - here came a few adults and at least 30 young children all wearing matching tie dye shirts - we finished up and headed back to our trip on the river.
We made it and we scrambled out of the watercraft. We retrieved our cell phones - guess what time it was? I kid you not, it was 1:15, the first pickup time that we didn't think we could make it was exactly 1:15. We all noticed the sign about alligators - we didn't see any, we did see a good number of turtles and the rest of the time we saw a lot of leaves, branches, etc (we actually had a good layer of debris in the bottom of our canoe when we reached the halfway point). Oh, did I mention - we had spiders....lots of spiders...remember I mentioned at the beginning of the blog post that the young middle schooler didn't like spiders? She was right up there with Ronald Weasley from Harry Potter on her fear and sharing it with us. She kept wanting to quit - like, did you want to swim back? Sorry kiddo, you're stuck in this little canoe for a few more hours, start killing them!
Well, that was our adventure and it was fun, just got a bit annoying that we kept seeing all the branches up so close.
Kayak next time!!!