Sunday, July 12, 2015

Scenes from a Summer Day: more caution ahead

Yesterday, a perfect summer Saturday, my Boyz and I drove out to the Berkshires for some kayaking. Of course there is a #kayaking story. It doesn't rival the #putyourkidsonthebus story but it's close: I got into the double kayak (these are inflatable kayaks, sort of like kayak shaped rafts) with Finbar in the front.  Jack gets his own kayak.  No one had warned that the double kayak, which is sized for two adults, might be hard for a relatively small, older woman to navigate with a 75 pound 8 year old not paddling in the bow.  In fact, it was not hard: it was impossible to navigate.

Finn and I meandered down the river, just doing what the kayak wanted to do, since we had no control over it, and Jack paddled ahead.  We got sucked into the middle of this big extended family traveling with a 14 year old know-it-all boy who kept giving me tips on paddling when he wasn't squirting me with his water gun.  I didn't for one SECOND hope that his kayak capsized and he drowned.  Not for one second.

The weather was perfect and we went down our first set of 'rapids' (this was, after all, a family-friendly, self-guided trip) and caught up to Jack.  And THEN we hit the second set of rapids, which was comprised of 3 inches of water over lots of rocks.  Lots and lots of rocks.  Finn and I got stuck. We rocked to get free and got stuck again.  And again.  Now we are the last kayak of 2 busloads of people on this part of the river.  We can't see anyone else around.  Jack tried to wait, but continued downstream.

After multiple attempts at getting the stupid kayak to stop grounding on rocks and to free it once it did ground itself, and determining that there was some sort of a rock magnet in it, I decided to get out of the boat and then drag it off of the rocky part, which is harder than it sounds because the current is very strong and the water is very shallow and the rocks are very slippery and I am very old.  Also, about now, Finn starts FREAKING OUT.  He is screaming and crying and saying things like "CALL DAD!  CALL HIM RIGHT. NOW!", which I might have done had my phone not been locked in the car for safekeeping and if we were not a 2 hour drive from home.  So I tell Finn to calm down and we will be FINE and just stay in the boat and look! we're almost in the calm, deep water and then I lost hold of the effing boat.  I watch Finn float downstream.  A passing freight train drowns out his screams.  With my life jacket on, I thought that perhaps I could get buoyant enough to float to him, however, because the water was so shallow, that wasn't happening either.

With great effort, I manage to traverse the rocks and get to the calm water and grab the boat and get back into it.  Finn has lost one paddle, which we really didn't need, because he wasn't using it anyway. Nonetheless, some college kids partying on a bunch of tubes and rafts had retrieved it and returned it to us as we made our way down the river.

After a bit, we see a woman in a kayak from our group paddling towards us.  She is wearing a sash that says 'Bride to Be.'  She gets to our kayak and says "Are your the McCarthys?"  Dear God.  After affirming that we were, indeed, she told us that Jack, initially quite stoic, had become very concerned when Finn and I were stuck on the rocks for probably about 27 hours.  So, he befriended a floating bachelorette party.  Yes, he did.  They adopted him as their mascot and kept his spirits up and pulled over to the shore to wait for us while the Bride to Be paddled back upstream to intercept us.

All of this is true.

We finally reached the designated snack stop on the river and were told that we had only three more miles to go.  Only?

Thankfully, the last three miles were pleasant and without incident.

On the drive home, I asked the Boyz what they would like to do for an adventure next Saturday.  After a bit, Jack said, "Maybe we can just go to the pool at the Y."

Nah.  I'll think of something.