Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A short float trip on the Emory river in Harriman.

Yep, I'm stealin' pictures again, and it's gonna get worse before it gets better. I guess I was too busy havin' fun there in Harriman to remember to take pictures all the time.

Anyway, Mushy took these great shots of us as we all got ready to head out. It'd be silly not to use 'em. The first three and the last two shots in this post are his. Credit where it's due, "and everythang".

That's his Brother-in-law, Ron Baldwin, on the left, and most of this stuff is his gear. That's my life jacket on the hood of Mushy's truck, where Denise is fiddlin' with my rain gear, decidin' whether or not to wear it. It was a little chilly to her that mornin', but she decided in the end to leave it behind.

I've done enough canoing in my life to know that the life jacket is usually enough to keep you warm in the morning, before the sun starts beatin' down on you.

I also know, from experience, that you need to get your feet wet right off. No sense in tryin' to stay dry on a float trip. It's enough to avoid gettin' a full dunkin' but you really haven't enjoyed the full canoing experience if you haven't at least gotten your feet wet.

First, let me say that I'm so glad Mushy didn't get a shot of my crack hangin' out! You know that's what he was goin' for though. Freak! I'm surprised he didn't photoshop it in, with a load in my shorts to boot.

Denise is NOT a canoer, but she'd been in a canoe with me once before, on the Guadalupe, and showed me then that she can handle a paddle just like a pro. There's no piddlin' around, puttin' just the tip of the blade in the water and sight seein', like I've experienced with a lot of women and some men I've had in the front seat.

She digs deep, forcin' me to keep up. As a result, we spent most of our time way out ahead of Ron. Made me feel bad now and then, lookin' back and seein' him a few canoe lengths behind us. So now and then I'd tell her to just coast so he could catch up. He was floatin' along with us in his cool little Old Town kayak, pointing out things of interest and tellin' us about the stuff we were seein'.

The scenery along the river was beautiful and interesting, taking us under bridges and past homes along the river where people live a sort of life that I've always dreamed about living. As you can see above, the water was calm and mirror flat, with a cool breeze blowing now and then, cutting down the impact from the morning sun, which was rising in the sky and directly overhead by the time these shots were taken.

After a few miles we got to the end of the road, where the rapids stop you from going any further. Not enough water to carry you over the rocks. Typical summer water in lots of rivers I've floated that are mostly rain fed.

We got out to look around and found some of the beautiful red flowers that Ron had been pointing out. I don't remember what he said they were, but they're beautiful, growing in little clusters along the bank. (Ron tells me that's a Cardinal Flower. Purdy!)

At some point I lit up a fat little Gold Label Macanudo and handed the camera to Ron so he could get this action shot. I tell ya, that's about as close to heaven as I can imagine in this world. If I could do it, I'd live my life from the back seat of a canoe and never get off the river.

Reminds me, I've been meanin' to get those "The Woods" posts goin' again, and will at some point here. When I do, I'll be talkin' about when I started to get back into the woods in the early 1980s, when I discovered the joys of canoing. Be patient with me. It'll happen. I've got lots of great pictures from those years that you'll enjoy. Funny stories too.

In the end we floated the boats back up to the put-in, findin' Mushy standin' there, recording it all for posterity. He'd been readin' (nappin') in the truck, waiting for our return. Originally he'd been plannin' to go along with us, and I'd been very disappointed when I found out he'd backed down. But he's got real issues with sitting in the front of a canoe and bein' able to get in and out without bustin' a gut. So it was cool.

Ron showed us a great time! I'd read lots of posts on Mushy's blog about him paddlin' all over this area, and we'd emailed back and forth about gettin' out on the water the next time I came. He made it a wonderful trip, showin' us all the sights. Maybe some day, if I can ever get them to come down here, I'll get to return the favor and take Ron down to float one of the rivers around Austin. Or, even better, I'll be able to talk these guys into meetin' me in northwest Arkansas and floatin' the Buffalo. That's my favorite river. I know they'd love it, and I'd love to share it with them.

After we got back Ron offered me an opportunity to try out his kayak. I'd never tried one before but they've always intrigued me. Never though I'd ever find one I could fit in till about a decade ago, towards the end of my active canoing life (meaning back in the day, when I did about 3 or 4 trips a year).

I got in and pushed off backwards, thinkin' it was gonna capsize at any second. As you can see above there, I couldn't get my legs all the way in the thing, makin' me very top heavy and tippy. It was shaky at first, but I started to get used to the rockin' as I paddled it back in to shore. It's very different from a canoe. In stead of sitting in the boat, with a kayak you're basically wearing the boat, making you much closer to the water and meaning that any turn of your hips has an immediate impact on the boat.

I'd always though it would be weird to use one of those double bladed paddles, but that came to me quite easily too. One of these days I'll have to rent one somewhere for a short trip and check it out.

Anyway, next time I'll tell you about our trip to Gatlinburg. I tell ya, but the end of the day I was POOPED! Later. Cheers.


Mushy said...

Good post brother...makes me tired all over again! You are hard to keep up with in my advanced age!

Chuck said...

You wrote,

"If I could do it, I'd live my life from the back seat of a canoe and never get off the river."

My only question would be, how would you take care of those needs...You know, the ones that only a good woman can help you out with...if you're living in the back of a canoe? Talk about rockin' the boat! LOL

Great pics and yeah, I'm still sorry I missed out.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Mushy - Oh shit, whatever. You do a good job, leadin' the pack. Old silvebacks ain't supposed to work up a sweat anyway. Just sit back like you're runnin' things.

Chuck - Dude, leave it to you to reveal the obvious glitch in the plan. We'd camp out each night along the river. Build a fire and ... You know, make sweet love over and over again under the stars. Now, tell me that ain't livin"!

NO, not you and me! Jesus, you freak!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Chuck - And yea, next time dude. Next time.

pat houseworth said...

Makes me tired too....great shots your stole from Mushy! ;)