Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reconnaissance mission

Every night before trying something I have never done before, things like riding a submerged kayak with my paddle floating away downstream, I have intense "kickmyselfitis". This rare and disturbing disease flares unexpectedly but a common trigger is planning to do something that involves potential danger or dismemberment.

Our kayak trip planned for today down the Maury river is one such trigger and the most intense symptoms of "kickmyselfitis" were in full bloom. These include tossing and turning, moaning and groaning at 1 a.m. as well as muttering out loud the list of emergency supplies needed for this one hour trip described as a "mostly float" downriver. It is the part that is not included in the "mostly" section of that phrase that gives me pause. That part is class 1 rapids , riffs, and no way off the river to reach civilization and bandaids for 6 miles.

Yet there is a thrill seeking, adventurous soul wrapped in this timid body, and part of me
can't wait for this trip.

So Asherel and I explored the river yesterday . None of the canoe liveries in the area would answer my questions as soon as they figured out we owned our own equipment and would not be renting from them. I think they also considered me a huge pest when I started asking them in our tenth email back and forth "Do we need helmets?" and "Is there a hospital and helipad on the shore?"

So it was up to me to conduct a safety reconnaissance trip along the river. I discovered the wonderful Chessie trail, a tow path along the shoreline complete
with old locks and dams from a romantic past. As we started off, we noted that the Maury water level was approximately ankle high. This meant it would be less a float trip at first and more a get out of your boat and walk on dry riverbed dragging kayak behind you trip.
"this is good," I told Asherel, "Maybe we don't need the helmets and Kevlar vests."
"Will we still bring the flares and emergency survival kit?" she asked.
"We'll make that decision after we see more."
As we walked further down the gorgeous tree lined shady path, the river deepened to at least knee height and then I heard a disturbing sound of rushing water. We saw our first rapids section. Asherel was cheering as it looked to her like there was potential for fun. I was looking for how I could walk around that section.

We walked a good couple of miles. Most of the river was placid with small rapids punctuating what would otherwise be a peaceful trip. We sat to rest on a bench which is where I sketched the picture at the top of this post, when a man and his dog came by.
"Do you know if it is safe to kayak this river?" I asked.
"I canoe it all the time," he said.
"Oh good," I cried relieved, " And it is easier to tippecanoe."
Asherel smiled at my little word play but the man frowned .
"Well except for getting by the dam..."
"Yes the water all swirls around the section of the dam remaining and rushes through a channel. It creates a hole that has sucked boats under."
Never to return again..... He didn't add that part but my "kickmyselfitis" was flaring unexpectedly again.
"That is only in high water," he assured us," You won't encounter that with the water so low."

Asherel was tired but I made her walk on with me to find this dam.
"What kind of a reconnaissance agent are you if you don't reconnoiter the most dangerous part?"
"A tired and hungry one," she grumbled.
Fortunately, at that moment the dam came into view. The sound of rushing , sucking water alerted us to it's presence.

I stood watching the water there a long time. I saw the murderous channel right beside the dam and I calculated how easily we could steer far to the right of it.

So later today we may kayak the Maury or we may chicken out and just go out for lunch.
As is often the case, God did not send me a clear message on this decision. He gave me this ridiculous thing called free will that allows me to choose good or evil, love or hate, compassion or coldness, and safety or exhilarating life. The most important choice He gave me, I already made and that was to choose Him. I'm hedging my bets with the one who designed the Maury.
Stay tuned!

Psalm 61:2
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

- Nothing is impossible with God

No comments:

Post a Comment