Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Canoe and the Beaver

I'm a little anxious about canoe travel. I've been known to dump a fully loaded canoe. Our trip across the reservoir where we camped this week started out on a less than auspicious note, too. It was windy, a warm wind blowing dirctly out of the south, but it made the water choppy. No mishap on the way to the camp site, though.
On Friday we took a couple paddles out and around looking for signs of spring and possible wildlife activity. We've seen, in the past, a snapping turtle, an eagle, loons, otter, deer, beaver, a moose, camp site marauding bands of ducks. This time it was something new--at least I'd never seen a sight quite like it--hundreds and hundreds of toads in a marshy area in the farthest corner of the pond. It might have been mating season. Or, they might have all been on a toad holiday and were playing rousing games of horse-back rides. Oh, and then there were the dozens of butterflies floating around the little beach at our camp site. So, I guess we found our signs of spring. But my point is that there were no canoe mishaps that day either.
So, as it nearly always does, it started to rain on the last morning. We packed everything up and headed out. It was rainy but not windy/choppy and I was kind of getting mesmerized by the sound of the water lapping against the metal canoe. Paddling in very calm water has a wonderful sound. But then--clunk--we were in too shallow water and hung up on a rock. We were stuck good, too, and surrounded by more large rocks. I stopped breathing. Getting free involved a bit of rocking, very careful rocking, and a lot of pushing this way and that with the paddles. Luckily, we did get free before I passed out from the lack of taking any breath or before we were tossed onto a slippery and cold, wet bed of rocks.
We got free without dumping!! Imagine the relief that flooded over us--me especially! We got the canoe turned around in the right direction and there was a beaver swimming in front and watching us. I swear it. He was laughing at us. Laughing, the cheeky bastard.

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