Sunday, February 10, 2013

"I think I am blocking the river"

While 2012 was a drought filled year that made finding acceptable water levels a challenge, 2013 has started out with a nice combination of snow and rain giving the kayaking world hope that the upcoming year will be an improvement.  As the RSVP's poured in, Dan felt like a high school reunion chairman or better yet one of the Blues Brothers as he hustled to put the band back together.  Kent, Tom, Russ, JD, Jim H. fell into place.  Hell, even Jim M. dug through his vast collection of toys and dusted off ole' yeller.  Dan smiled to himself and in his best imitation of  Animal House's Flounder exclaimed: "This is gonna be great!" But wait....something was missing.  Where was our Curly of the Three Stooges, our Chrissie of Three's Company, the other woman in our dreams of a Menage a Trois? Yep, although an original member of the consecutive month kayaking club, Pat has long established his kayaking preference is that of a loner.  He has become the Grand Bu pah of the solo yak...a Master masturyaker as it were. 

Clockwise from upper left: Dan, group, Jim H., Kent, Jim M.,  Russ, JD, Tom
  Enjoying mild temperatures in the thirties, the seven yakkers put in at Hidden Lake and headed towards the Arboretum.  As Kent and Russ power stroked ahead as if trying out for the last spot on Yale's sculling team, conversation at the tail end of the group eventually landed on the legality of entering the Arboretum via the river.  Were we trespassing or not?  Although the question has been asked many times before and opinions on the topic are unlimited, a definitive answer never seems to be forthcoming nor would it on this trip.  As the five stragglers came around a bend they saw Russ and all 12 feet of his kayak stretched across the width of the river.  Apparently thinking that the best way to get over a submerged tree limb was sideways like a high jumper doing the Fossberry Flop instead of a hurdler attacking it head on, Russ got caught up on the tree.  As the realization set in that he was now blocking the rest of the group Russ shrugged his shoulders and sheepishly said "I think I am blocking the river!"  No SH!#  Sherlock!!  After a few minutes the obstruction was removed (as well as the tree limb!) and the trip continued. Dan shook his head and muttered under his breath "FNG Russ". 
 While the increased water level provided some nice riffles in multiple sections, it did cause some concern about the chosen departure location...a gushing spillway. Despite his little mishap earlier in the trip Russ took the bull by the horns and roared right up to the fast flowing water.  The whole group held their breath in anticipation of the impending disaster. For some of us, this would not be the first time we have witnessed a fallen brethren sitting in the freezing water next to this spillway.  Much to our shock (and relief), Russ calmly stepped out of his yak onto shore like he was getting out of his recliner to fetch another brew. The ease in which he did this maneuver was surprising to everyone especially after they all struggled to get onto shore themselves.  Although I love the label, maybe it is time to remove the FNG tag.  Kent, practicing a self imposed alcohol moratorium, went to get his car while the rest of the group enjoyed a nice cold beer, next to the river a mere 100 yards from the police station.  Hard to think of a better way to kill some time on a lazy winter afternoon!  SYOTR.
The boys enjoy a cold one after a successful trip

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