Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rollin' on the River

 Last summer when Blake and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a canoe trip in Eureka Springs, we decided it was time to take Braden. Before we knew it summer was over, so it had to wait until this year. In between trips to Grandparents, baseball practice and Silver Dollar City, the planets finally aligned, so that Blake could take the day off. We knew it had to be during the week, so that Mason would be at school, and the river is usually G-Rated during the week, as opposed to the wild weekends.

 We drove about an hour to the Elk River in Noel, MO. We tried to talk it up to Braden on the way, but it didn't quite have the same effect as actually doing it. He wanted to know if we could pick our boat and what color it would be. It confused him even further when we loaded onto a school bus with 10 other people and two dogs.

 His favorite part was paddling! It was a little difficult with the boxy life jacket on, but he wouldn't hardly give me the paddle, even when Blake needed me to help steer.

 At one of our first stops we found some tadpoles. I remember catching a few of these when I was in Fourth Grade. Our teacher let us keep them in an aquarium and we got to watch them grow legs and lose their tails.

 We found three, but only one of them had it's back legs.

 There was a family in front of us that had two kids, so they had one canoe and a kayak, that the kids kept taking turns with. Braden was fascinated by this, and talked us into letting him try the canoe by himself. You can see the girl in the background.

 Of all the years we've canoed, Blake and I have a pretty good record for not tipping. Not to say it never happens but we've had many trips where we didn't tip. We explained to Braden how easy it was to flip the canoe and he did a great job of staying still. There wasn't anything special about this little rapid, but we let Braden keep his paddle, and somehow got pushed sideways into the log above. The cooler was still tied in, and the rapid was keeping the canoe pushed up against this log. Blake and I tried for about 15 minutes to get it free. We even tried to wedge the oars between the log and the canoe as levers.

 It literally took 5 guys to flip the canoe. Braden admitted he was a little nervous when it first happened, but he stood off to the side skipping rocks the rest of the time.

To be a kid predominantly exposed to swimming pools, he did not hesitate to plunge into the water. He got a big kick out of seeing the fish in the water and even caught a few minnows with some bread. We had our lunch on a shady gravel bar. I promise we spotted at least 200 turtles sunning on fallen logs, in all different sizes. Only one snake was spotted at the very start of the trip, and fortunately on Blake and Braden saw it. Traffic was very light on the river, so the wildlife was plentiful. Only one duck, but several blue herons.

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