I checked weather.com 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 weather.com's form. Weather.com 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.
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!