My Aunt Ree flew in from
California for a visit and mentioned to my Dad that she'd like to go
on a kayaking trip with us.
He told me about it and I
planned a trip on the Blackwater River.
The past few times we've
been down the Blackwater we put in at Bryant Bridge – which makes
for an eleven mile paddle. It's an easy paddle but because of the
distance there isn't really much time to stop and play on the
So for this trip we put in
four miles upstream at the launch Blackwater Canoe Rental uses so we
could stop and play on as many sandbars as we wanted.
The Oldest Island Boy and
I were to meet everyone at the launch site that morning so I went on
Google Maps and Google Earth to make sure I knew where it was and how
to get there.
There happened to be a
geocache at the entrance to the road leading to the launch so when we
got up there I pulled over and found the cache. As I was getting back
into the truck my Dad drove by. The Island Girl was in her car behind
him and he said they were taking her car to the pick up spot and
would meet me at the drop off.
No problem. The Oldest and
I drove down the road to the launch, only we didn't see a launch.
There were several trails leading off the road but none that looked
like what I'd seen on the map and considering the fact that I was
pulling a trailer loaded with yaks I didn't really want to “explore”
each trail until I found the right one.
We called my Dad and told
him I wasn't sure which trail to take so he said to come back up to
the “graded road” and wait for him.
Well, the part of the road
we were on was gravel so we traveled back up the road until we hit
blacktop – thinking that was what he meant by graded and pulled
over to wait.
The Oldest and I are
sitting there and after a few minutes I see a truck pull off the main
road quite a ways from us. I couldn't tell if it was Dad or not so we
continued sitting and waiting.
Until my phone rang and
Dad wanted to know what we were doing. I told him we were waiting on
him and then I asked if that was his truck I could see off in the
He told me it was so I
asked why they were just sitting up there and he said “Because you
aren't on the right road.”
I drove up to where he was
and then followed him to the actual road the launch is on.
I don't know how he knew
where to go because Google Maps and Earth have to be wrong or else I
would have been on the right road.
We got our yaks in the
water and were off.
It was unbelievably hot
but the water was nice and cold so we stopped on just about every
sandbar we passed to swim and cool off.
There were tons of people
on the river in tubes, kayaks and canoes so we got to do some people
watching as well.
It was a great day of
paddling, swimming and visiting and I think my Aunt enjoyed her time
on the river with us.
About 4:00 we decided we'd
had all of the sun and heat we could stand so we decided to paddle on
down to the landing.
I pulled up the map on my
phone to see how much farther we had to go and was shocked to realize
we still had many miles to go.
Not believing that was
possible, Dad took my phone and then started laughing. Turns out I
was looking in the wrong direction.
Good grief! I can get lost
even when I'm looking at a map with a blue dot showing where I am!
Luckily the landing was
just around the next bend so off we went, making it back in about 5
The Island Girl's car was
there and she was going to drive Dad and I back down to pick up our
When we got to the landing
she realized that the keys to her car were in Dad's truck – miles
Which wasn't surprising -
she is my daughter.
We talked for a minute
about how to retrieve the keys but considering the fact that we were
pretty much in the middle of nowhere the only solution was for us to
WALK back to the trucks and drive them to the landing.
So Dad, my Aunt and the
Oldest Island Boy waited with our stuff while the Island Girl, E, and
I started walking.
It was still really hot,
we were sun-baked and tired and now we're hiking down a dirt road
with zero shade - and NO breeze.
As we were walking I told
them that maybe we'd get lucky and a good ole boy in a pickup truck
would come by and give us a ride.
After about 20 minutes my
wish came true and a guy and his daughter drove up.
He was coming from the
launch but he stopped and said “You aren't walking all the way back
to the launch, are you?”
Yes we are. I explained
about the keys to our pick up car being left in our drop off truck so
he told us to hop in the back and he'd drive us down there.
The Island Girl, E, and I
jumped in the back of his truck – happier than I think any of us
have been in years. As tired and hot as we were it would have taken
at least an hour or more for us to walk down there.
He turned around and drove
us the 2.5 miles down to the launch.
We thanked him profusely
and off he went.
The Island Girl and E got
in Dad's truck, I got in mine and we drove back to the pick up spot.
Sadly, that wasn't the
end. We now had to haul our 6 yaks and all of our gear up a long, sandy
hill and then secure them in the trucks before we could leave.
Finally, everything was
loaded and we were ready to head home.
I hugged my Aunt and told
her that I was sorry she'd had to wait while we retrieved the keys
but that is just how things work in my world.
She reads my blog so she
knew something would happen and told me not to worry about it. She
had a great time and fully expected something to go wrong.
It was a long day but we
really did have a good time and as soon as I recover from this trip
I'll be ready to do it again.
Only next time I'm going
to make damn sure the keys to the pick up car are with us.
Thanks for going on an
adventure with us Aunt Ree – we really enjoyed spending the day