Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Canoeing ... (part two) ...

Our second trip was with Bill & Ellie, friends of ours.

They had never been canoeing before, and we were a little leery about taking them along with us, but they wanted to go. They knew how much fun we'd had on our first trip, and they really wanted to experience some of that.

So, off we went. To Algonquin Provincial Park this time, where my husband had, as a boy, spent quite a bit of time learning the art of canoeing.

At the outfitters, he helped Bill select a canoe that might be the least cumbersome to transport over portages. (By this point, we had purchased an Old Town canvas canoe -- painted yellow -- that my husband dearly loved. It was 'lightweight' ... I probably would not have been able to trek it across a portage, but my husband thought it was just perfect, so there you are!)

That accomplished, Bill paid close attention as my husband instructed him in the fine art of steering while paddling. As the person in the rear of the canoe, that would be Bill's primary responsibility. Bill seemed to catch on quickly, and we set out on what would prove to be a journey of -- shall we say -- less than wonderful memories.

Gear in the middle, Ellie & I up front all set with our paddles, Bill & hubby in the back of our separate canoes, it was imMEDiately evident that all was not going to go as planned!!

There was a tremendous disparity of height between Bill & Ellie. He was well over six feet tall, and she barely five! O.K. Ellie's in front and the gear was in the middle. When Bill got in the back of their canoe, the front rose in the air a few feet ... nothing to 'write home about', but NOW Ellie's paddle couldn't even reach the water!!

So, we went back to the outfitters, got a somewhat longer paddle for her, adjusted the weight of the gear, and set off again. (It had been somewhat of a frustrating start, but they were willing to give it the old college try.)

Before I continue with this story, I'd like to interrupt with another about Bill & Ellie, if I may. Hope that's O.K.

The four of us had gone to see the movie, "West Side Story". (Dumb me. I didn't realize that it was going to have a tragic ending. I hadn't paid enuf/or probably even any attention in English literature class to know that the movie was based on "Romeo and Juliet".)

Ellie & I were seated next to each other, husbands flanked on either side. I was really enjoying the singing and dancing when, all of a sudden (it seemed), there it was ... this terribly sad ending!!

I was stunned, and crying my eyeballs out ... not making a sound, mind you, no one was ... (You could have heard a feather drop in that theater. Ellie was doing the same. Thank goodness, one of us had brought extra tissues!) ... when, all of a sudden, some woman behind us "snorted" in her now uncontainable grief.

Well, that did it for Ellie and me. We burst out into laughter just as the credits stopped rolling and the lights went up in the theater. And, to top it all off, we just couldn't seem to be able to stop laughing!!

(Meanwhile, Bill and my husband were trying to hide under their seats so that no one could possibly associate them with those two obviously uncaring, maniacal women.)

Anyway, after the adjustments, Bill & Ellie started out paddling, going around in circles for a while until Bill got the hang of it, but then we started making some headway. It was looking good. Slow, but good.

Then, the second day, the backlash of a hurricane along the East Coast hit us. We were simply drenched with rain and frequently threatened with squalls that made traveling on the lakes dangerous, almost unthinkable.

We spent most of the time hiding out under our overturned and uprighted canoes, trying to stay warm. Forget trying to stay dry! I think we might have accomplished that objective -- that of staying dry -- twice (maybe!) on that trip.

I have to hand it to Bill and Ellie. They were really good sports. The weather was just horrific!

If it had been my first canoe trip, I would have said, "That's it, folks. I'm outta here!"

No comments: