Can I just say that a canoe trip on the Housatonic River between Stockbridge and Glendale had to be one of the most peaceful and enjoyable experiences in quite a while! If you ever get the chance to join the Housatonic Valley Association for an adventure I would highly recommend it!
Not having been on the water in a very long time, and never in a canoe that I can recall, unless it was when I was so young I cannot recall, having grown up on the lake ~ we learned how to swim when my Uncles used to throw us off the dock. It was truly sink or swim!
We had motorboats and a rowboat with a motor along with a hydroplane and my grandfather had a pontoon boat and my brother and uncles had jet ski's. We used to get pulled behind the motorboat sitting on a surfboard as well before there were those huge tubes and crazy things they have now.
I tried for years to water ski, as all of my family could. I only succeeded in doing it once, but I forgot everything my cousin Billy and my mother told me and could not remember how to end the ride! It was crazy ~ although beautiful view around Pontoosuc Lake behind a boat! I digress, however, the time on the water yesterday afternoon taking me back over so many memories, although it was a completely new experience for me!
My friend arrived promptly at 2 to begin our journey to Stockbridge. I was ready with as little as possible to lose or get wet in my pockets in case we capsized. I did not even realize I had completely forgotten my phone until after we had arrived.
People arrived, waivers were signed and cars were shuttled to the end point a mile by car down the road. I stayed behind while my friend drove his car along with others and enjoyed the quiet peace of the empty skate park and had a cigarette away from the other participants.
I re-joined the group and began a conversation with a woman from Pennsylvania who had just arrived in the nick of time with her friend from Sheffield. I was amazed at the diversity of locations as most people were not from the area out of the 22 of us attending the junket.
We got a brief paddling lesson, donned our life jackets and started the process of getting into the canoes and kayaks. Practicing when we got in the water. The river was calm and the day was just about perfect at 4:00 when we headed downstream.
The river was beautiful and we soon caught up with a flock of Canadian Geese who were honking their disapproval at our group coming upon them, tolerating it just so long before flying ahead of us and settling down to float down the river some more.
When we arrived at the Stockbridge Golf Course it became a golf ball fest and my friend even had a golf ball picker upper that extended. I was better by far at manning the boat than I was at that contraption so I did the former rather than the later. It seemed a competition among a few of the participants as to how many golf balls they could retrieve and soon a few of us were further behind than the rest of the party.
We picked up the pace and caught up with the rest of the group, and tried to start out near the lead, so that next time we came to a hole, and there were a few along the river, where many balls ended up in the river, we would not be too far behind.
The river was shallower in some places and deeper in others. I was in the front so it was my job to be on the lookout for any logs or rocks ~ watching the path the others were taking ~ unless they were too far ahead.
We paddled by a few houses, through the golf course and so far into a peaceful zone that it did not matter where we were physically. It could have been any time in history ~ that is how unchanged most of the river is over that stretch ~ not too much of the "modern world" breaking through.
It was just long enough, me being a beginner, when we hit land and removed the canoes from the water I will admit I had to regain my land legs. Some of the group left while a few of us stayed to secure the boats and my friend had a bottle of wine in the car which the remaining 6 of us each had a toast of a delicious red wine from Argentina to commemorate our successful adventure.
We went back to the starting place and dropped off a person at her car. We were heading to Friendly's to get some dinner after the long journey, but had no takers as everyone had family and pet obligations. It was fun reliving the adventure over salad and ice cream and catching up with my friend who had been away for a couple of weeks.
I was totally exhausted when I arrived home. As I had been gone all day I stayed awake long enough to watch a show with my son. Five minutes after he went back to his computer I was fast asleep, all previous thoughts of writing a very distant memory!