Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whitewater Canoeing 101

Canoeing has so many fond memories for me and I absolutely loved it when I was able to go a few times every summer.  Running rapids, portaging, food over a campfire, and not having a schedule to follow were some of my favorite things.  I met many wonderful canoers and it gave me some alone time with my husband at the time and my stepdaughter.  

One weekend, my husband and I decided that it was time that I learned how to whitewater paddle.  After a few runs, I had all the confidence in the world that I could tackle most things, with the exclusion of Niagara Falls.  Maybe after one more day, I would have been able to conquer the falls!

photo from stock.xchng
So we decided to paddle through a few more runs of the whitewater.  My husband yelled the direction to draw right.  For those of you who don’t know canoe mumbo jumbo it meant that I was supposed to put my paddle out as far as I could on the right off the canoe and stick it in the water and bring it toward the canoe.  I did a draw without any problem.  Then I hear my husband yell a bad word (he should be thankful I didn’t plug my ears) and say, “We’re running THAT!”  There was no arguing with him because we were being pulled in… and I realized I did the draw left, instead of right.

I must tell you that I didn’t panic, but that is only because I didn’t have the time.  I put my paddle in the water and we went for it.  We got to the bottom and I turned around to congratulate him on a perfect run and, sure enough, tipped the gunnel.  We were swimming in the nice, icy cold water and , somehow, lost a paddle.  

We didn’t have towels or a change of clothes and, the worst of it all, no gel or mousse!  We were done at this point… our weekend was cut short!  By the time we got home, he had forgiven me for that, but we decided I should concentrate more on my left and right. 

 Just for the record, that was my only time tipping a canoe!

Where is one of your favorite spots to canoe?  Have you mixed up your left and right at a critical moment?

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