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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.