Sunday, June 21, 2009

How we got our once-in-a-lifetime kayak story

Some friends of ours tried to tell us that Juniper Springs had some dead-fall in it, and there was an indication that absolute beginners should not go on that run, but, uh, really ...

Our first indication of things to come was that getting close to nature was like being married to it. We had to duck under trees and push away branches every minute or two. Often as not, we were alternately pushing away from trees and branches.

Every bend in the run had us going sideways towards the opposite "shore." That was the only sense we made of how the water's current ruled. The current was expert at breaking all the paddling rules; expected results never came.

Hard to believe there was a lull in the stream, and Paul actually got some pictures of a juvenile white ibis.
Oh, about that dead-fall? There was the big one we didn't see ... The river dumped us.

My life vest works great! I think my glasses stayed on because the strings holding my straw hat were tightened around my chin, thus crossing over my glasses' temple pieces. Paul got the boat turned over, and started throwing stuff back into the boat: two flotation cushions, tote bag (with now-wet towel, bananas, and jerkey - aah, lunch!), sun screen, bug spray, the less-full of two plastic water bottles

In a few seconds, two canoes showed up and the people helped by holding the kayak while we flopped back into it. They gave us our paddles and Paul's ball cap, which had been floating.

My cell phone was in a pocket of my life vest, but I knew I could replace the phone itself for under $30. Our small digital camera was in one of Paul's pockets, but we have a better one at home. Paul's wallet and keys got wet, but both of mine were in the car.

Somewhere after that, a low tree took Paul's glasses, but he keeps a spare pair at home. Another tree snagged his hat and the river sucked it in.

We will never do that run again. That's why it was a once-in-a-lifetime journey.


  1. You were not prepared? You gotta have those sport thingys for your glasses and ziplock baggies for things you don't want to get wet, including towels (they make really big ones like the 2 gallon size available at your local Wal-mart if you care to shop there) It sounds like loads of fun to me.....but I'm twisted that way!

    Glad you survived all the trees!

  2. Glad everything turned out ok... that was an adventure.

  3. We were prepared. I found a camera is useless if it's in a protective box or bag. I've lost dozens of shots while trying to wrestle a camera out of a bag before a bird flys away or a turtle jumps in.

    I lost a phone a couple years ago that had been zipped up tight in a baggy.

    Hey, I brought the wife back alive! The rest is replacable. haha

    Seriously though, that was the river run from hell. We banged from one side of a rushing narrow river to the other side for almost 6 hours of agony.

    Both sides were covered in fallen trees and brush overhang and filled with deadfall that kept hitting us underwater.

    We are both covered in bruises and scratches. We just ran out of gas and were tired beyond reason.

    At least our little dip cooled us off.


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