Three in a canoe

14 Aug

I am sore all over today, but it somehow feels good.  Michael took a day away from work yesterday to go canoeing with me and Jade.  The excuse was that Eric wanted to paddle from Marsh Lake to Schwatka Lake with a couple of visitors.

We put in just below the dam at around 11:00 a.m., having left home later than planned because of the tedious paperwork required for Eric to rent a canoe.  (You’d think canoe rentals, of all things, would be simple!)  We installed Jade in the centre of the canoe, on a purple foamie mat for warmth, a couple of gold pans with a collection of rocks for amusement, and a container of food, since 11:00 is her usual lunch time.

It was a perfect day for canoeing, sunny and warm, but not hot, with a light breeze that didn’t impede our forward momentum.  This is only the second time I’ve been out in a canoe this summer, and my elbow was feeling it after a little while, but since we had to get back home by 3:00 to get Norris to an appointment (which Michael told us only as we were about to launch… sheesh!) I did my best to paddle efficiently to get us back in time.

Jade snoozed in the bow after lunchtime; after some whining and crying and tired grumpiness, she got settled and I cleverly rigged up a sunshade using a receiving blanket and some duct tape I had brought along for this especial purpose – I am finally learning about mothering in a canoe!

The paddle was mostly serene, the current  relatively languid, although faster than in other years (I am told) because of the extreme high-water conditions.  The most exciting part of the trip was the short bit of white-water we navigated through the narrow funnel that is Miles Canyon.  Just as we were entering the canyon, we sighted the MV Schwatka coming upstream.  SinceMichael’s bad experience encountering the MV Schwatka in Miles Canyon during his adventure race told us we needed expect the boat to yield to our right of way, we frantically signalled Eric and his crew behind us to pull over to the side of the river.  It was too late for us to escape the canyon, but fortunately, there is a giant eddy behind a large rock outcrop right at the entrance, so we were able to sneak in there and wait for the larger boat to power its way through.

My biggest concern was for Jade to stay safely seated while we were passing through the most potentially dangerous bits, and she was absolutely a perfect little passenger.  She giggled like a maniac when she got sprayed with water after a particularly messy “draw” on my part.  I must say that her presence added a sharpter flavour to the white-water, but fortunately it was really pretty tame, and I trust Michael’s canoe-handling skills.

We pulled into shore at 2:50, too late to get our car to fetch Norris, but Eric kindly agreed to go get him, after some confusion about child car seats and other shuttling logistics.  In the end, Norris managed to make his appointment and everyone got home in time for dinner.  I was tired and sore from the hard paddling, but it was a wonderful way to spend the day with family.

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