We broke camp and were paddling back to the boat launch by 9:00am. It was beautiful and perfectly calm, altho we could tell that some weather was moving in. Somehow–we still can’t figure out how–we took a wrong turn and it took us nearly 3 hours as opposed to one hour return trip.
We were paddling away, enjoying the sights when, suddenly, nothing seemed familiar.
So, I cranked up my iPad in its waterproof pouch and Googled “Where Am I?” Don’t you just love Google? I was lead to Google maps and a screen came up with a nice little map showing us exactly where we were…..heading down the Tule River as far from the boat ramp as we could possibly be.
This is a big lake, and going towards a destination looks totally different than going away from said destination. Plus, our arrival was late and it was raining….we weren’t thinking about looking from whence we came….let that be a lesson to you all. Always…ALWAYS leave yourselves some mental bread crumbs for the return voyage. And buy yourself a GPS if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. We will be doing that for the Canada trip.
Be that as it may, Google showed us what we had to do and I was following our route. And then it stopped.
Perhaps I didn’t have enough power to get the whole map downloaded, because I tried to find out how well we were doing on our new and improved return to the boat ramp, and all I got was a marker of where we were, but no map….just a white screen. Talk about frustrating! I was extremely nervous, I can tell you, and I began scanning the shoreline where we were looking for a place to pitch a tent just in case. (I tend to get a tad extreme when alarmed.) We were in the midst of reeds and muddy boggy yuck at the time.
We had a hard copy of the map handed out by the park, but it wasn’t that detailed. I wrote an “X” where Google had said we were before the screen went white. I reached way back and handed that to Al who reached way over our stuff in the middle of the canoe to get it. I envisioned it fluttering away since our calm lake was or river or wherever we were was becoming rougher by the moment. That didn’t happen. That was my having-seen-too-many-disasterous-type-movies-imagination coming forward.
Fortunately, Mr. Al is also Mr. Lake Man, and he knew the general direction of where we needed to go. Me? I was totally confused. And I hate not knowing where I am. We were in the river and then we were in all these marshes and then back in the river and at one point in some sort of levee deal. (The lake had reclaimed some farm land when levees broke several years back…Lake 1, People 0). We saw deer, turtles, interrupted several pairs of ducks, got a couple of terns totally annoyed with us for being too close to their nest, and disturbed a cluster of white pelicans. I took a picture of the pelicans. They were rather nice to look upon.
I thought we’d be paddling forever. I had to reel in my imagination and trust Al. He said he knew what he was doing. Just because I didn’t, didn’t mean all was lost, now did it? The wind was picking up, so we got in quite the workout. Looking on the bright side, that meant more food to eat when we once more found civilization.
We work well as a team, Al and I. After I cornered my imagination and locked it in its room, we began cracking jokes to keep up our spirits. And we kept paddling. Sometimes on both sides as the wind pushed at our canoe. Other times, Al told me to quickly switch over. Our shoulders began to burn. Our hands began to cramp. But now I’m being dramatic.
Obviously, we got back to our car and back to our home, because here I am, scratching the mosquito bites encircling my ankles (note to self: mosquitoes will find places to bite if you don’t spray every place.) And I’m clean! Nothing like a hot shower after days of camping.
I can’t wait for our trip up to Canada next month! Mr. Lake Man had 90% of all our needs met. The list of the last 10% of items needed are just creature comforts…like a tent broom, a yoga mat for the front “room,” some water boots for me, 50 bottles of Deet for the mosquitoes…things like that.
I loved being on the water. I loved being in the canoe. I loved solving our problems and learning to trust. And I especially love a happy ending.
And in the meantime, I shall be practicing using my Go Girl. Will let you know how I progress. I’m sure you’ll be wondering.
Will be posting pictures in a few days (not of my practicing with the Go Girl….no need for alarm.) Ahjumawi State Lava Springs is beautiful not to share! It’s too beautiful to visit only once as well. We will be back.