Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's all about the gear

They say exercising with a cold neither lengthens nor shortens the illness. I'm not sure if this includes paddling 7 miles in the rain, but as this was my second rainy weekend couped up in a stuffy house with a 2-year-old, I took my chances.

I checked and it assured me that the area had only light drizzle and was scheduled to clear up by 1p. So as Spence drove away from the put-in at noon, committing me to a 3-hour trip, the sky opened up -- true to's form. is an oxymoron, an exercise in reverse psychology.

I guess I should thank the useless website though because it got me out when everyone else in Tennessee was under a roof. It turned out to be a delightful trip, thanks to having exactly the right gear:

- paddling boots with wool socks
- fuzzy rubber pants (fuzzy fleece on the inside, waterproof rubber-like substance on the outside)
- Marmot raincoat with hood
- my Bongo Billy ball cap from Salida, CO (which kept the rain off my face)
- camouflage neoprene hunting gloves (that I got at Walmart for $2 and are 100 times better than expensive paddling gloves - I didn't use them because it was 60 degrees)
- a bail, because my boat kept filling up with rain water
- a dry bag full of treats (Cheetos, to be exact).

About halfway through the trip came a gullywasher that was downright unpleasant, so I hiked across a field and took refuge in an old, one-room schoolhouse called Mabry School. I sat there eating Cheetos -- and watching the cows watch me -- til it let up.

A couple of curious cows:

I documented my stop with a self-portrait, but I didn't get a single pic of the river.

I only encountered one challenge (not counting the rain), which was a huge tree across the river. I had to drag my boat up a steep embankment, about 50 yards through the woods, then drop it off another embankment. It was at this point I realized I've turned into my husband. He doesn't let obstacles like illness, weather or personal danger get in the way of having an adventure. And he's perfectly happy to go it alone when everyone else says, "Are you crazy?"

I married the perfect guy!

In the home stretch, I had just a twinge of loneliness, thinking of all my friends who would have enjoyed a float like this in fair weather. But I couldn't think of a single person who would've signed up for this soggy trip, except Spence and he was home tending a toddler. (Let me know if I'm wrong.)

His eyes were a bit saucer-like when I rolled through the door 3-1/2 hours later. He had just told Caroline he was giving me another half-hour, then he was assembling the search team. He loves me!


Norma said...

I'm impressed with your ambition to experience the great outdoors but not a bit tempted to join you. Way to go!

Mother Goose said...

Oh, we so need to get together more on the weekend! I would've done it with you! I'm really into miserable outdoor experiences.

You go girl.

Seriously! Let's do a family hiking/kayaking trip sometime!

Holly said...

Yes, I am one of those who wouldn't have joined you had you asked. But glad you had fun in the foul weather!

los cazadores said...

That actually sounds like boats of fun. Craig and I would have done that trek with you no doubts! :)


Robin said...

I am extremely impressed. I don't think I could walk for 3.5 hours much less paddle down a river! Great job.

Julia said...

If I can stipulate to the gear list you had, I would definitely have gone. Looking forward to seeing y'all next week. Rod talked so much about "SpenceNLori" that I can't believe the coincidence.

I ate at Gojo last week and talked to Ahmad (?). He said he would try to find some Chattanooga Ethiopians for me =}.