Friday, August 23, 2013


I have been feeling like I have been missing a step lately, so when I had the opportunity to join the canoe adventure with my friend I was looking forward to the peace of the river.  I had not been out of my house much and recovering from the food poisoning, in the stage where I still felt sick but not sure if  it was because I had not eaten for three days or if it was from the bad food.

I was all ready to be on time when my son's Dad knocked on the door and distracted me halfway through writing my last blog.  I am easily diverted and with the help of Frisbee Golf on the WII Resort I barely had time to get in the shower and get dressed before my ride was outside my house.

The potluck had been canceled much to my dismay, but I was encouraged to bring the dessert anyway by my friend.  He had the cooler ready to go to keep it chilled until we were finished with the trip.  We headed to Lee to the home of the Housatonic Valley Association to sign our waivers and meet up as a group.

There were some familiar faces and some new faces.  As it was my second time joining the group, it is always exciting to be a part of it.  People who canoe are a nice and laid back group.  Everyone was looking forward to the paddle.

We carpooled up to the starting point in Lee where the canoes were waiting for us to bring down to the water.  I believe there were seven canoes and 2 kayaks so it took a few minutes for everyone to get on the water and get the practice time in.

The river was yet another part which I have not been on.  It was pleasant, as it always is on the river.  I always find a great sense of peace and solitude, and after my crazy couple of weeks and the solitude of my home I settled in and absorbed the power, strength and beauty of the atmosphere around me.

This was not a completely leisurely paddle however, although the river is pretty wide and somewhat deep and calm, some places were less deep and you needed to pick a line, avoiding rocks and trees which could be under the water, and other boats around you, along with the more rapid areas which were trickier and sudden where you had to be on your toes.

One more than one occasion I had to ask my partner in the back of the boat if he was still with me.  Once when we made it through a tricky spot and the second part was less doable in a canoe as say a kayak.  We had to carry the boat across the island around the impossible area, I asked where the water had come from in the canoe only to find out I almost lost him in the trees ~ oblivious as I was to the fact at the time.  I did however laugh out loud at that.  I will admit.  I was thankful that the whole canoe did not go over and that we just gained a bit of water!

We just missed seeing the bald eagle by a couple of minutes at one stage of the game, but were chasing a blue heron downstream.  There was also a lot of weeds in the river, I am wondering if it is from the high waters and extreme heat or if they are normal, as in my part of the Housatonic river we did not have weeds like that.

We were joined by Russ Cohen of the Massachusetts Department of Ecological Restoration who would stop and point out various edibles along the river, besides grape leaves (which I love to make) he located some wild spearmint, a tuber which leaves look like beans, and thistle ~ which I was unaware you could eat as well, along with another plant which I could identify by sight but not by name ~ sorry!

The trip was three miles by car which equated to about 5 miles on the river.  It was a nice time to say the least, but I was grateful to pass under the final bridge and see our exit from the river.  I knew that it would take a minute to get my land legs so I utilized that time by helping gather paddles and life jackets to put away before I helped lug some boats up to the trailer.

More carpooling back to the starting line and goodbyes and departures by some who had their cars at the end. In the end, after everyone was back and the canoes were locked up five of us were left to sit and chat and have dessert together, which is one of my favourite parts of the adventure ~ the conversation and sense of community.

We finished up and headed to one of my friends favourite places ~ Friendly's.  The way he tells it he received a coupon that very day for a buy one get one free sundae ~ coincidence   Not sure ~ so we shared a salad to help counteract the negative cholesterol in the upcoming ice cream and he told me about a crazy adventure he and a friend had on a river in California which blew me away!  All I can say is he is one brave guy to continue to be an adrenaline freak after that one!  

I was looking forward to getting home as my son was coming home that night, and he arrived shortly after I did.  It was a good thing I still had two pieces of Shepard's Pie left because he was starving!  True to form it was gone in less time than it took to heat up!

We got caught up and spent some time hanging out together, talked and watched some t.v. before I crashed.  I knew I was going to be feeling it the next day ~ which I did a little in the arms and some in the legs.  I thought it would be worse than it was, but I must be getting used to the paddle because it is now Friday evening and I am feeling great!

September's trip is full, but I may be able to get into October's trip.  I have a busy day planned for Saturday in Columbia County with an array of activities with a group of people whom I met a couple of years ago.  I was told I had to write my canoe blog first so here you go!  I hope you enjoy it!  

Here is the link for the Housatonic Valley Association if you would like to check out events or make donations it is a really wonderful organization and a great bunch of people who put in all of the work and effort and love doing it!  Hope to see you all out on the river canoeing and kayaking!

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