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Gilligan Goes Canoeing


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Okay, so when diagnosed, I swore I'd spend more time with my family. With all the running around to pull off a successful wedding (Mark's oldest son), we hadn't spent a lot of time together. Since Mark's youngest son has spent the summer with us between college terms, he also was forced to enjoy a day of sun and fun on Wednesday.

(I swear, Debi from OK, we lead parallel lives...)

Wednesday dawns, warm and sunny. Thinking about how boats sometimes get water in them from the oars, we decide to take a 5-gallon bucket for the snacks and "extras" that we will take with us on our trip. Snacks are packed in Zip-loc bags, as is Mark's cell phone, "just in case".

We head to the livery with the family dawg to spend some good family fun floating down the river (same one shown in the wedding pictures posted earlier today). Mark writes a check and we remark on how much value there is in a $60 charge for a tour of over three hours for four people.

The livery owner makes it a point to tell us that once we pass the first fifteen minutes of the ride, we are out there, alone, in the wilderness. I asked about banjoes....he ASSURED me this was NOT north Georgia and NOT "Deliverance".

First thing that happens is the boys learn about steering - well, to SOME degree - as they slam into a bush overhanging the river. We get stuck in the same darn bush trying to get them out of out. As the bush is gnawing away on Mark and I, the dawg decides she may not want to go on this trip after all and attempts to swamp the boat. Mark hangs a leg out the opposite side of the canoe, righting the boat, and begins to push off from the bush. He can't figure out why the boat won't move and asks me what it's hung up on. I calmly reply "MY FLESH!" (Ouch, by the way)

We get out of the bush and take the first bend in the trip (yeah, hadn't even made the first bend before NATURE intruded on our trip). The dawg notices a mother duck and her ducklings and the boat begins to come close to flipping, not a fun thing for someone who really doesn't like water and boats (that'd be me) and thought this particular river would be a nice leisurely trip...

So we get to the place the wedding was held and use the cell phone to call my father to come and get the dawg. We keep the tie rope we had for the dawg since it had already come in handy to tie the boats when we stopped to drop off the dog and "top off" the potty issue.

Back into the water, the trip is ON! Hey, what's that? A porcupine! Wow! Thank goodness Mr. Pine stays on the bank...

We are now earnestly on our way down the river, watching little fish race by and turtles either paddling in the water or hanging out on logs. We're still within city limits and there isn't much in the way of windfall, creating a false sense of security in the damsel of the trip.

For the sake of keeping this trip light, I will be referring to my son as "Gilligan", Mark's son as "Skipper", Mark as "the Professor" and myself as "MaryAnne". Gilligan and MaryAnne have positions in the front of each boat where Skipper and the Professor are in position to steer. This WILL be important later, no test, just setting up the rest of the story...

We were told of landmarks at certain points in the trip and that the river will fork and that we have to go to the left, the right fork dead-ends for boats in a large pile of windfallen trees that the river has actually re-routed around. There's an old oil line across the river, an hour into the trip, timing on the fork was never clear and then about five minutes prior to the end of the trip there is a white brick house almost on the river.

Easy enough, we're OFF, and out of the city limits. Wait, LOOK at all the stumps and windfall! Holy cow, they're EVERYWHERE. Did I mention the current steers a boat right toward these hazards? Did I mention that one has to duck to get under the higher windfalls that cover the entire river? Did I mention the Professor is over 6' tall? Maybe I should have mentioned that...maybe the livery owner should have mentioned the hazards...

So we are now on our way, in the wilderness, down the river, watching two boys, Gilligan and the Skipper, doing their best impersonation of a pinball as they slam from one bank to the next, one rock to the next, one downed tree to the next stump... Can't say the trip didn't have some amount of entertainment value...

The Professor knows how I feel about the water and how much I do NOT want to end up in it. He's pretty good at the canoeing game, so I feel pretty safe in a boat with him and am wondering when Gilligan and the Skipper are going to end up in water up to their elbows. One thing I need to stress is that EVERYONE was wearing a jacket, my reasoning being that I can't even save myself (don't know how to swim) and would be no good at saving anyone else...

We thought this was going to be a leisurely trip down the river, a "vacation fun" thing. There was never a time that we could put the paddles in the boat, there was always a hazard coming up, branches digging into our skin, and for my color-blind Professor, direction of "don't grab that branch, it's poison ivy" or "back paddle" or "more f***ing rocks!"....

Most people know better than to stand up in a canoe. We are hoping we are at least halfway through this ride from hell when Gilligan stands up in his boat. Being the mom, I yell at him to SIT DOWN. He yells back there's a huge spider in the boat, I repeat that he needs to sit down. He obeys, and as soon as his butt hits the seat, the Skipper jumps up, yelling "SPIDER"... They counted at least fifty large spiders dropping into their boat on the journey - wolf spiders that could eclipse the top of a Coke can, skeleton-like spiders measuring the same and many, many bounces off hazards.

The Professor and I hit their boat a couple of times when they got hung up because the current was a bit fast. We finally talk them into staying a bit ahead of us so we can breathe. They start calling back hazards and what side to steer toward - of course, being "the kids", this information isn't 100% accurate..

Ahh...there's the oil line! No fork....We only have more than half the trip to go! Is that a banjo I hear???

Were it not for the fact that rivers only flow one way, we would have sworn we were going in circles, we passed the same scenery so many times...

...and then, the Professor and I hear it, water rushing over rocks. Water that isn't real deep, but moving real fast. We then see the rocks and the large tree blocking the river. We try to steer to the left, to bypass all of the ugly stuff quickly coming into view but it's too late. The current has us and slams the back end of the boat into the tree. The Professor has enough time to say "it's going to flip" and we're both in the water. Thank God it wasn't a deep hole, we stand up. That 5-gallon bucket sure came in handy when we could get the boat upright. The Professor starts to bail...

...and the canoe continues to roll. We move the canoe as best we can (they're HEAVY when they're full of water) and he continues to bail while I hold the paddles, all the gear and the front of the boat. A bottle of water gets away and floats down the river. Remember how Gilligan and the Skipper are ahead of us? We have more immediate problems then where these kids are - they see the water bottle floating and paddle upstream to see what's up...

Ahhh, the pain of being ridiculed by youth...

As it ended up, we STILL had an hour to go on the trip! What level of hell were we descending to??

We get back to the landing, load into the truck and head home, as the rain begins to fall. The Skipper and Gilligan are laughing it up about how the trip was worth it to see the flipped canoe, etc. I'm sputtering that I just want to get home and get into something dry, it's very, very uncomfortable when you soak clear through to your underwear and beyond...

Thursday morning, the Professor wakes up and discovers that his wedding ring is missing...yep, you guessed it, the River claimed a prize! I think had he not sacrificed a piece of gold to the River God, we wouldn't have made it back alive. Here's what flipping the canoe did to me - it's hard to see size, but this bruise is over eight inches long in total:


...so much for cheap entertainment, and even more confirmation that I NEVER want to go camping with this bunch! :wink:

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OH MY G-D you would not believe the pictures you put into my mind !!! :roll:

So much for a leasurly canoe ride that turned into "the ride from h*ll." :shock: Good title for a movie.

But even though the Gilligan crew went through all this incredible experience..... It will be something to laugh about later on. I could just hear the boys telling people the story. :D

What a horrible wound, ouch!!! That must have really hurt. Poor Becky.. But sure am glad the water was not deep when you tipped.

Your story was a nightmare, but sorry Becky I could not stop laughing. :D

The part that really got to to me was the spiders dropping in to say hi. YUK, I hate them things. I would have been out of that canoe and into the water away from those retchid things. And I can't swim either...

Well Beck thanks for making my real boring day here something to make me laugh. Sorry, but I can't help it, especially the way you describe it in your Becky humor way, like nobody else could.

I hope you relaxed on your swing when you got home after you changed and showered. Private joke for those not in the know... ay Beck. :wink:

I think I hear the banjo's... :mrgreen:

Maryanne :wink:

PS I love that you put it in the LC SURVIVORS FORUM :lol:

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It's a well known fact that trying to have quality family time with the kids will kill you. You should see the zinger I got riding a bike with Jillian (it is not true you never forget how to ride a bike btw). Living on water and having lost lots of things to it we have a huge magnet that we drop in and swing around for whatever tool, or metal object that fell in. I don't think it works for gold though. :lol:

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