For Daniel's 29th birthday, we decided to go up to Cary, NC to stay with college friends (Heather and Jonathan) and spend Saturday canoeing. This idea came about when watching a PBS program about The Benjamin Vineyards & Winery who teamed up with the Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company to offer canoe trips on the Haw River that included paddling to the vineyard for wine and dessert. However, after some research, we opted just to go up and paddle (since we are currently on a shoestring budget).
We headed up to Cary on Friday night, then got up early Saturday to head up to Saxapahaw, NC to paddle. Unfortunately for us, the river was down due to a recent lack of rain. It was a very lazy day on a lazy river. We had to get out to portage around a dam (see photo album), but even with that the day was pretty laid back.
After our portaging experience, we had about 5 miles to paddle until our pull out. As we continued paddling, we all heard gun shots in the distance. We didn't really think too much about it initially - we are after all in a rural area and maybe there was a shooting range in the vicinity.
As we continued paddling, a couple of kayakers passed us and let us know that there were people up river that were actually shooting directly ACROSS the river at targets. They were getting ready to head back and encouraged us to follow them and to hug the left side of the river.
As we got closer to the wide open area where the shooting appeared to be occurring, we suddenly saw something skip in the water about 30 feet to our right and heard a loud "zing" sound. Some irresponsible moron (and that's putting it nicely :-) ) had shot a round up the river towards us. I don't think they were intentionally firing towards us, as we were still a long way away. (If they were, I'm quite thankful they had very poor aim).
Daniel yelled for the firing to cease (which it did). When we got closer, we saw a group of people hanging out on the right side of the river, with their targets on the bank on the left side of the river. I suppose the one shot was a stray. In all seriousness, we were pretty lucky that we didn't get hit by the stray bullet and that they quit firing when Daniel yelled.
There is a time and place for shooting targets, but if you are going to do it, you should be ABSOLUTELY SURE of what your target is, what's in line with it, and what's behind if if you miss or the bullet ricochets.
We are so thankful that our idyllic day did not turn into a nightmare.