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Monday, August 02, 2010

A very good night's sleep

So, where did Risa go? Down the Mighty River -- one of the few which runs north. Two of her children live in the Big City at the other end, and she thought it would be fun to see how one might get there without simply pushing a gas pedal.

This was merely a symbolic gesture, as Beloved would have to meet her with the truck at the other end and bring her home, but perhaps instructive. And anyway, she's a water baby.

Risa has wanted to make this trip for years -- when she was a child, her dad talked about floating down the Savannah from Augusta to Savannah with her -- but it never happened. So it's kind of a memorial trip to her dad's long-gone boat years (he's 94 and not getting out much).

At the "put-in," day one.

A friend of ours kindly lent Risa her husband, The Cowboy, for the trip, so that she wouldn't be going alone. He's a gentleman, boat-handy, roughing-it handy, and has outstanding "situational-awareness" qualities, making him the perfect chaperone for a half-deaf old lady gadding about the wilderness.

The water was swift enough at the side-channel launch point, not far from home, that there was time for one goodbye wave to Beloved and the journey had begun before we fairly realized it. Serious paddling was necessary for several miles, so that there was a full shakedown before we reached the mainstem.

Cowboy reaches the Mighty River.

We thought we would make ten to fifteen miles a day, and had planned accordingly, with lots of food and water, and were very heavy laden and low in the water. The River however is higher than most years at this time, and moving along at a good clip in the upper reaches. We found the maps disconcerting at first, until we discovered we were covering twice the water we had anticipated.

Not being so young as they used to be, the travelers made made many "lunch" stops. 

Risa used Beloved's Rubber Ducky for the trip, a Trinity Bay Critter 9'4" long, which made for a tight squeeze with all the gear. Cowboy paddled a slightly larger boat, a Maxi Poke Boat, very wide and stable, with room for two one-gallon jugs of water. It wasn't necessary to carry a filter. Our gear, like ourselves, was very old-fashioned -- the tents, sleeping bags, survival kits and the like have seen decades of use.

Cowboy wrangles the boats around a swamp for the day's take-out.

Although the morning had been coldish, a heat wave was in the making, and at three in the afternoon it was clearly time to get off the water and recuperate. A suitable campsite on a small, nameless island presented itself, and the tents were raised and supper served -- in such shade as the small willows afforded.

Risa settles in.

The day's run was twenty-five miles. This boded well for a very good night's sleep.


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