Snapshots from the river

At the beginning of the summer I learnt a lesson: check the map, or embrace adventure.

My husband and a friend were keen to get the canoes out and explore a stretch of river not far from us. After some discussion and planning, it turned into a family outing and we headed off on a sunny Sunday to meet with our friends at the chosen put-in point.

We were all looking forward to getting out for a couple of hours, with a picnic lunch our reward at the end. Even my daughter, who has so far been less than keen on canoeing, was up for it and willing to give it a go.

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It was a beautiful day, and the river was gorgeous. A perfect day for a relaxing paddle downstream. [Thanks to our friends for the photos of us :)]

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There were however rather more obstacles to deal with than I had been anticipating, some easier to navigate than others. The term ‘portage’ is now part of my vocabulary as we did in fact have to lift the canoes over more than one fallen tree that we couldn’t quite squeeze around/over.

An abiding memory will be me, climbing out of a canoe in the middle of the river onto a tree branch, getting my daughter out of the canoe and walking along the tree to get out of the way so that my husband could lift the canoe over… Then getting back into the canoe without either of us falling in.

Oh, and the time we had to step out of the canoe into ankle deep mud.

I can laugh now.

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Then came my lesson in the importance of checking the chosen route myself. My husbands top memory (apart from me balancing on a tree) is when I asked innocently ‘…why can I hear falling water?’.

Hello dam.

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At this point our two hour canoe was hitting three hours and there was no end in sight. We had to get the canoes out of the river, walk downstream and put back in. We had our picnic at the side of the river, laughing in a somewhat strained way about our adventures so far.

It couldn’t be too much further. Surely.

Back into the river we went.

We navigated a few more obstacles. I may have had a small meltdown. The kids may still remind us that mummy swore. I may have started to lose feeling in my arms.

But, it was still beautiful and eventually the obstacles disappeared and the river widened and we followed a winding (very winding) route towards our destination.

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After six long, LONG hours we made it to the end of our route. I’ve never been so glad to pull a canoe out of the water.

At which point my friend admitted that she’d left the keys for the car that was waiting for us at the end, to take the husbands back to pick up the cars left at the start, in the car at the start.

Oh, how we laughed.

Thank goodness for Uber!

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It is a day that will live long in memory, and tales will be told. It was long and hard, but it was also beautiful and the kids loved it. My daughter has lost her fear of canoeing, we were so proud of their patience and lack of are we there yets, and we all made it in one piece.

And, NONE OF US FELL IN! That was an achievement in itself.

But folks, double check that map.

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.
Eudora Welty

Having fun with my children over summer vacation is my absolute priority. The blog comes very much second (or fifth, or fiftieth) on my list. BUT, last summer I missed keeping a photo journal of our activities. It’s such a wonderful thing to look back on, and it is the reason I started writing this blog in the first place. These ‘Snapshots’ posts are a way for me to record the moments, but not feel obliged to write War and Peace. Capture the days as they happen. No SEO, no pinnable images, no stress. Just keeping those moments from running away.


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13 thoughts on “Snapshots from the river”

  1. Memories are made with trips like this! What an adventure and you are certainly braver than us, six hours is epic! Glad you and the kids had fun and you will certainly remember it for your whole life x #countrykids

  2. What a wonderful activity to do as a family. Two/three hours sounds do-able. Six hours sounds like a commitment. No wonder your arms ached. I can only imagine how you felt when you realized the car keys were elsewhere. It does look like a beautiful stretch of water and a wonderful way to spend time together (maybe not the lifting of the boat part or mud walking) I hope it hasn’t put anyone off, especially your daughter. Think of all the stories you can now tell! #CountryKids

  3. What a memory to have created, it’s wonderful that you all managed to have such an exciting adventure together. I think I would’ve started to panic when our short canoe trip had extended itself and suddenly there was a Dam in front of us, at least it didn’t faze the kids. I bet you can’t wait to get back in the river on the canoe’s again, although I’m sure you’re going to be double checking the route 4 times before you set off!

    Thanks for sharing with me on #CountryKids.

  4. Maybe not the trip you had anticipated but the photos and memories you made looks and sound like it was worth it. I think the sound of falling water would have had me in a panic! Six hours, crikey I bet your arms were sore the next day! #CountryKids

  5. If I ignore the length and the obstacles (I wouldn’t have been happy!), it looks so beautiful. Good on the kids for keeping going that time! #countrykids

  6. Ha ha oh no! Sometimes that happens! I bet you felt good getting back to your own home and hitting the sack later that night :D I’ve always wanted to try canoeing – it looks fab! #countrykids

  7. SIX HOURS!!!!! thats super impressive, I think I may have had a slight meltdown too especially if I saw that dam! What lovely memories though and I bet you can smile about it now. And your photos are absolutely stunning. A fab adventure :) #countrykids

  8. This sure does sound (and look!!) like a beautiful place to visit! I can’t believe none of you fell in though! I would definitely have been pushed!

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