The Adventures of Canoeing

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It always sounds like a fun, relaxing and peaceful time but at least for me canoe trips end up being a painful mistake. I still haven’t discovered the pleasure in a laborious ride that equates into a full body workout, yet I’m repeatedly tempted whenever I see a river. Each time I’m hopeful of finding the relentless attraction to canoeing.

My most recent excursion was totally unexpected and in a moment of mental weakness, which seems to be a rather regular state of mind. Anyway, to set the scene I had spent the day in Indiana, helping my girlfriend get things packed for a move, so I had already exerted much more physical effort by lifting box after box, after box after box, than I’m accustomed to. Then I rushed back in order to report on the Great Float held at Adventures on the Great Miami. Thought I’d just take some pictures and maybe talk to a couple people, as I didn’t even know what the Great Float was.

Everything then started happening so fast it was like I was caught in a whirlwind. I arrived at Adventures on the Great Miami and was told to get on a bus that was just getting ready to pull away, so I did. Everyone on it was so excited that I thought something really amazing was awaiting us. I felt so fortunate that I had made it in time. We were then dropped off along the river on 571 and the site before me seems totally obvious now, but at the time, wasn’t what I expected. There was a large herd of canoes and kayaks.

I turned around, seeking salvation, but the bus was already gone. I was without my cell phone. Miles, or maybe a few hundred yards, away from civilization, my only escape was via the river. I couldn’t do it alone though, I’d still be out there, and most everyone else had set sail.. It’s in times of such turmoil that I’m reminded most that there is a God who looks after me. The last remaining individual was a young woman, claiming to be an experienced canoeist, who asked me to be her partner.

If she had been expecting a nice, leisurely trip down the river; her plans had totally just been changed. I warned her that I had barely survived my previous canoeing adventures and I have the battle scars to prove it. She was still confident though that she could lead us on a successful journey.

Despite her being approximately 100 pounds lighter than me, I suggested she sit in the back of the canoe to be the captain. I was actually feeling pretty good and anxious to enjoy the scenery and the majestic peacefulness of nature. With a capable guide, canoeing may not be so bad. No wonder so many people like it….Those thoughts lasted for about the first two minutes, then my arms began to ache.

“This probably isn’t the best time to tell you, that I’m in terrible shape,” I said, but she remained positive.

It quickly became clear, why canoeing isn’t a hobby of mine. It’s the same every time, my arms are crying for relief and there is still a long way till the finish. You can’t just pull off to the side and quit, there is no way out. You have to keep going. Yet people do this for fun?

I couldn’t just stop, and let her do all the work. It’s bad enough that she had to get out and push the three or four times we got stuck in shallow water. Hey, she had water shoes on! And I did help by leaning my weight forward, after she started to hyper ventilate.

The trip was nearly mile, and she was as relieved to see the end as I was. Of course I could hardly see it, because I was near unconscious from exhaustion. “I think I over estimated myself,” she said, several times during the second half of the ride, between gasps for air.

I don’t know where she went when we reached dry land, she quickly disappeared, while I crawled over to the food table.

While canoeing may not be my favorite activity, I do highly suggest Great Miami Adventures, 1995 Ross Rd. it’s a beautiful grounds and the owner Chris Jackson will do everything he can to make your trip a delight…Just don’t ask me to be your partner.

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