Monday, October 19, 2009

just keep paddling, just keep paddling...

A few months ago my good friend Lara invited me to come camping and canoeing this weekend with a bunch of her friends that I'd never met before, and I think before she even finished asking me my response was HELL YES, LADY.

So I pick Lara up Friday night, and we spend the next 4 1/2 hours driving to Moabi Regional Park, off the Colorado River (on the border of California and Arizona), arriving a little after midnight.

"Please tell me we don't have to get up at 7 am or something ungodly like that to go canoeing," I tell Lara.

Lara checks her text messages and then laughs.

"Nope. 6:30 am!"

Riiiiight. Have I mentioned I'm not a morning person?

We get up grumpily on Saturday morning and I try not to walk into things as we get ready to head out for the day, then grab a van down to the shore where our rented canoes and paddles are ready to go and waiting for us. We have packed lunches, sunblock, and our cameras. We're ready to go!

Upon arrival, I immediately buckle and strap on my life vest, as I am not a strong swimmer at all, and as we are waiting for our canoes I realize two things:

1) I am the only one wearing a life vest. Everyone else just kind of throws theirs in the canoe.

2) I am definitely the only one wearing my life vest while I am standing on the shore, thus outing myself as the Goddess of all Dorks.

We get in our canoes, and here's where a couple issues arise: the first being that I am a MORON and packed my nice, expensive camera in a ziplock bag in our cooler, the second being that I stupidly also packed my CAR KEYS in Lara's backpack, so a sort of panic explodes in me as I realize that if our canoe tips over at all and we lose the cooler or the backpack at the bottom of the river, I am facing losing my very nice camera, and/or losing the keys to my car which I need to DRIVE ME BACK TO L.A.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

"Lara," I say, and the urgency of my tone of voice causes my friend's head to whip towards me. "We cannot lose the cooler or the backpack. Having the canoe tip over is NOT an option."

She stares at me, concerned, then nods. I try to feel better.

The second issue that comes up is one that happens quite frequently to me, as I am an impulsive, quick-thinking decision maker who occasionally (okay, frequently) jumps into something without getting all the facts.

We're canoeing down the Colorado River, it's 100 degrees in the air, 60 degrees in the water, I'm trying not to think about drowning or the canoe tipping over or me drowning while trying to recover my car keys at the bottom of the river when it occurs to me that I have no idea how far or for how long we're canoeing today. So I ask, and the answer I get is this:

17 miles.

We are canoeing down the Colorado River in 100 degree heat for 17 miles and oh my god please kill me now.

And I think back to those times at the gym where I've done rowing exercises or whatever and I think, when I'm at the gym and I get tired I can just stop and walk away and get into my air-conditioned car and then go eat McDonald's to go undo all the excercise I've just done. THAT was nice.

Because when you're paddling in the middle of the river and you get tired and you stop, your canoe stops too, and then it's just you and your canoe buddy and you're not going anywhere anymore except drifting down the Colorado River. So you have to keep paddling, because nobody is going to haul your canoe or your butt for you.

So I kept paddling. My arms are killing me.

The good news is that I calmed down quite a bit about the whole drowning thing about halfway through the morning, the canoe never tipped over, we stopped frequently for breaks, and when we finished at 4 in the afternoon I was still (mostly) standing.

That night we feasted on salmon, korean bbq, sausages, mashed potatoes, caesar salad, twice baked potatoes, and a huge spread of cheese, crackers, and salami. Much better than McDonald's. I washed it all down with s'mores and root beer. And then I spent a good half of the night staring up at the sky, lost in how beautiful the stars are. I really miss seeing stars.

What I have to show for my amazing weekend is: two sunburned knees (the only body part that got sunburned); 15 (at last count) mosquito bites; and really buff arms. And a very sexy farmer's tan from my t-shirt, yaaaaay.

And as promised, with my (stupid! stupid!) camera on board the canoe, here are pictures for your viewing pleasure:

ready to launch! Note the non-used life-vests...I took mine off halfway through the day out of sheer embarrassment.

view from the canoe.

some ancient Native American hieroglyphs you can find carved into the walls along the Colorado River.

Me! And Lara, in the background, doing all the hard work and keeping my butt afloat.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! I can't wait to read all about them :)


Gwen said...

I am so glad that you didn't tip over. That's my biggest fear when we do our float trips!!! And besides we wouldn't have been blessed with such beautiful photos. So happy you had a wonderful time. :) XOXO

drollgirl said...

we have to be related. except i am the distant cousin that is hell of a lot more chicken shit and a million times more paranoid than you.

i think i would have SLEPT in the life vest the night before. shudder.

but very glad you had a good time!

Marion said...

Looks like y'all had a blast. Just reading about the food made my mouth water! We used to go canoeing a lot years ago, but the place we went was like a mud puddle compared to your trip (the Ouiska Chitto River--we call it the Whiskey Chitter...I know, totally redneck)! LOL! Glad you made it back all in one piece. Blessings!


My...I'm sure you burned lots of calories on this great adventurous trip! I want Korean BBQ now...isn't it the tastiest?! xo*

Jo said...

That looked like a great trip! And I, for one, am glad you took your camera. Fun pics! :)

Jenn said...

that looks like fun! Thanks for your nice comment on my blog, too. i love reading your blog and am glad we "met" :)

Clarity said...

It's your new bff.

Cool that you like e.e. cummings and I looked over your list of interests, up until the black nail polish (the rest are americana I'm not familiar with), that list could have come from me - I'm changing my sheets right now and typing - didn't think your bff was that nifty, did you?

As for the trip, it looks like a gift of nature, even with the exercise involved. The feast with cheese (hello) and the starry night sound beautiful too. I liked your canoe photographs.

Wine and Words said...

As a member of the crew team in both Highschool and College, I can feel your pain. At least in wasn't a five mile race. Jeeze, those were fun. NOT! Looks like a beautiful trip though.

Eeeno's World said...

This looks awesome! I've always wanted to try it. Maybe not 17 miles on my first trip, but I sitll want to try it!

And "Goddess of all dorks" is much sexier than "dork of all dorks". So, you're ahead of the game.

Iva said...

WOW!! looks like such a great time!! ohhh man....good to know I can't ever ask you to baby sit :).... mornings would have to be your thing :) bleh..hmm when was the last time I slept...thinking...thinking... :)

I am so glad you took more pictures during this trip ;)

I'm now starving after this post. :)

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Petroglyphs are the best! Glad you didn't tip :D
MK and I kayak all of the time, she likes being out on the water, and you get used to it...although we both always wear our vests!

Ida Nielsen said...

Haha.. Usually I try to sit in the back of the canoe because my little breaks from paddling wont be noticed that way ;-) I bet your arms must be sore right now?

MildlySensational said...

Congrats on the awesome weekend getaway! That is so cool! Looks like you had a blast!

I don't have the courage to go anywhere near a canoe. I was in one when I was... 7? Had a panic attack because I was convinced it would roll and my life vest was too big & would slip right off me. And then my mom waded out halfway to show me it was ok. Aaand everyone laughed. I just can't do water. Sad, but true.

Archana said...

You crack me up. :) "Goddess of all Dorks", lol, that's hilarious. The first time I went white water rafting in my life, I was paler than my non-Indian friends..and considering how tan I was problem, lol.

Anyway, sounds like a fab weekend, farmers tan & all. ;P

Nahl said...

HAHAHAHAHAH this is tooooo funny!
I have an issue with continuous workouts like canoeing...I wonder how I would have put up!

krista said...

very very impressive. i've always wanted to do something like that. and you're never a dork for wearing a life vest when you're not a good swimmer. just sayin...

Anonymous said...

Your commentary is always witty and engaging. I'm miserable at camping and pretty much anything relating to the great outdoors so this post about your trip is fascinating to me.

Kris said...

looks like a lot of fun. I'm in need of a "nature" experience!

Clarity said...

Well, the trick is two keep both hands on deck (bed) and occasionally let the right one glide over to the keyboard, like so.

It is an art. The fact that it slows down the bed making process, well. What other time am I allowed to indulge my senses online?

I am British, by way of two continents (thanks parents). Where did you stay here? What did you do?

Jmarls80 said...

Beautiful pics!

Kristin Quinn said...

But you know what Tracy? If you were on a ship and it sank, you would be the only one who would live. All because of that life-jacket everyone else refused to wear ;)

Madeleine said...

Wow that looks so beautiful! I didn't know about there being hieroglyphs there...that is too cool. Sounds like it was superfun. Just added canoeing down Colorado river to my bucket list.

Lori ann said...

I Love this story! you did great, with not much paddling experiance it sounds like. i like your pictures, cute, i see the buff arms. good you weren't near the rapid part. this might have had a different ending then. :)

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