Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Day the Saco Claimed My Soul.. Almost

How hard could it possibly be to paddle 7 miles in the dangerous depths of 3 foot water? You'd be surprised.. especially if you're a novice.

In mid-August, eleven of my friends and I traveled to North Conway, NH for a weekend [read: day] of canoeing down the Saco River. An annual "couples" tradition, I was added to the roster last minute due to the unexpected relationship circumstances of a friend of mine. I was pumped! Not for my friend's emotional woes, but for the opportunity to participate first-hand in a trip I'd been hearing about for a couple of years.

I should have known upon setting "float" in the river that I was in for something unsafe. After looking around at all of the other canoes, I took note of the fact that all of the males were planted in the rear of each vessel. We didn't have that option.. I, the one without any steering experience, led the directional charge of our canoe.
Canoeing happily - first pit stopThings seemed to be going relatively smoothly, until we got to a point in the river where the rapids became a bit more aggressive. As the current picked up, my canoeing partner and I noticed that we had about negative 5 seconds to make an imperative decision in turning ourselves left or right.. or else, we were going to land directly in the arms of a large branch that sprouted up from the bottom of the river. Guess who got rear-ended right into the branch by a rogue canoe?? It was too late to do anything, but attempt to stabilize the canoe - or ourselves.. emotionally. Well, neither of those goals were achieved. I watched my friend's white, leather handbag.. yes, I said leather.. get swallowed by the current and spit down the river.. followed by our life jackets, adult beverages, the one pair of flip flops I had foolishly packed, our paddles, and eventually my canoeing partner and her death grip on our canoe..

Now, obviously the ultimate consequence did not prevail as I'm sitting here typing this story for any interested soul to read, but if you have any guesses as to what might have happened next.. ENLIGHTEN ME.

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