Friday, June 24, 2011

Alligators, storms and meltdown

"Choosing to save a river is more an act of passion than a careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way. " - Davis Boling

We have 85 miles behind us as of today. Miles that have given me the pleasure of seeing this great river. With the cypress trees and spanish moss, and reptiles, this river comes alive. Today I came upon a small alligator. Probably 4 foot or so. It was in this strainer in the picture. I was surprised that I could get close enough to take a picture without him ducking under. After about five minutes I was ready to leave but not before he guzzled down a fish that popped out of no where. It was very cool. I swam in this river today as we continue to go south to gator country. With the heat as it is, we take our chances. After the gator sighting, I waited till I went a mile or two before I slipped back in the water. No problem there :)
Next came the storms. We had 20 miles to paddle today. At mile 11 a storm was brewing. The sky went black and lighting had started. We got off the water, got prepared, and waited. It ended up breaking apart and moving away from us. We then continued on. At mile 17 another storm showed its face. No lighting this time, but sheets of rain. With paddle skirt and raincoat on, I raced down the river the last 3 miles. Pulled in at the takeout and it stopped. No problem there. :)
After staying to help and wait for the last 100 people to get off the water, I finally rode the last shuttle back to camp. Wanting to stay and help usually is good, right? Wrong. Problem here.
My backpack and everything I have got soaked. My clothes, pillow blankets etc. It sat outside while the storm was here and I was on the water. It was soaked terribly. We re out in the middle of no where and I don't even have a dry bed. After trying to get to a dryer with no success, I borrowed 2 blankets from a friend for Dan and I. That didn't stop the meltdown when I got in my tent. Unusual in this setting that I love, but it happened. I can dodge shoals, dams, storms and gators, but it seems that water wanted to show me whose boss.
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1 comment:

sunflowerkat321 said...

I can tell you have had a wonderful time on this trip. I've done enough wilderness camping to understand how complete exhaustion and lack of comfort, and the stresses that come with this kind of travel can (temporarily) break you. You just have to let the meltdown happen.

I don't know if I'd have the guts to get back into the water after I'd seen an alligator. Between that sighting and the lighting storm, it sounds like it was a hard day.