Sunday, October 14, 2012

Against the Wind

Several weeks ago, Daniel's sisters made plans to come visit us on the second weekend in October and they offered to babysit Jack so that we could go on a date. We don't have many opportunities for free babysitting -- or dates -- so we were certainly interested in taking them up on their offer.

When discussing our date options, I told Daniel that I would love to go canoeing. It has been over a year since we were on the water -- I was 7 months pregnant on our last trip and I have been anxious to get back on the water. Mountain biking was also high on my list but it requires more of a drive than paddling.

Friday night, before Daniel's sisters arrived, we loaded the canoe on the Subaru. Saturday morning we enjoyed breakfast with Jack and his aunts before heading out the door. I'm sure I left them an overly extensive list, but that is what moms do -- right?

We figured that we had a 3-hour window to get out on the water and back home. We drove out to The Docks at Goose Pond Colony to put in -- about 20 minutes from our house. We decided that our goal would be to cross the main channel of the Tennessee River.

To start, the wind was against us. We were averaging 3mph and figured the return trip would be faster since we would have a tailwind.

Lake Guntersville and this area of the Tennessee River have this lovely thing called milfoil. It is basically the kudzu of the water. When canoeing {or boating} you want to avoid this weed since it is difficult to paddle through and motors can get tangled up in it. The waterways have paths through the milfoil that have been treated, which means that you have to take specific routes to cross the lake/river. It also means that you end up in narrower channels with bigger boats. Thankfully most of the boats that passed us were nice enough to slow down when passing us, though we did get to ride a few waves.

Once we made it to the other side of the river, we took a water break before turning around.

On the return trip, the wind died down and then turned into a cross wind. While better than a headwind, it wasn't as good as having a tailwind. We maxed out at 5mph and finished our trip with 4 miles under our belts.

On the way back, we decided to cut through a section of milfoil instead of going around. In the middle of this weed, the wind died down and thousands of tiny little bugs took over our airspace. We could barely breathe as they swarmed our boat. We paddled as quickly as possible to escape the barely visible bugs. We're still not sure what they were. We hope that we don't get caught in them again. Once we were on the open water again, and the wind picked back up, they mostly disappeared.

It was great to get out and do one of our hobbies together again. The weather was perfect -- sunshine with a cool fall breeze. In case you're wondering... the only time we talked about Jack was when we discussed how soon we thought we could bring him out on the water with us.


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