Friday, July 08, 2005

Rollin, rollin, rollin down the river…

The Mighty Clarion
On now to my tale of survival. As you know, we spent last weekend at camp. And my dad recently bought us a canoe, so we strapped that sucker to the roof racks on our beautiful white mini van and headed down to the river on Saturday.

I wasn’t sure how many people we’d have at camp with us that would want to join in on our canoe excursion on the Clarion River through Cook Forest, so I bought a couple heavy duty inner tubes so that some people could float down the river behind the canoe. Me being one of them. Turns out it was only Ryan, our friend Bill, and myself. So looking all cute and preggo in my little maternity tank top and shorts with my camp hat and sunglasses on, I jumped in my tube and tied myself to the canoe.

The river was pretty crowded with other canoe/tubers, but Ryan and Bill did a great job of steering to avoid people. Mainly it was just the big city yahoos that had never been in a canoe before that we almost running into us. I don’t know how many people I had to kick out of the way. And here’s the thing about the four mile stretch of Clarion River that people frequent; it’s SHALLOW. When I say shallow, I’m talking maybe a foot of water in some places, so you really have to know how to get around, or your ass is dragging on the bottom. Having done this many times before, we were old pros, and we laughed at the people who were getting stuck on rocks and tipping over. At it’s deepest the river is probably 7 to 8 feet deep. So it’s far from dangerous. EXCEPT. There are also a lot of places where there are big giant rocks sticking out of the water. These are the places that when you’re pregnant, and your butt is hanging down into the water, you’re going to want to avoid. Yeah, my ass scraped off a couple of big rocks. Some of them I hit fairly hard, some of them I grazed. My motherly instinct was to worry that somehow hitting my ass was hurting my baby. AND THEN.

Somehow, Ryan and Bill managed to steer us into the biggest motherfucker of a rock in the middle of the river. The current was so strong in this part that while their canoe was hung up on one side of the rock, me and my tube got swept over to the other side. I was in a slight panic because I was TIED to the canoe. So the current was sweeping me, but I wasn’t going anywhere. However, me hanging there was preventing Bill and Ryan from releasing themselves from the rocks. So my plan was to jump off the tube and untie it. I jumped off, but I couldn’t get it unknotted.

Ryan is yelling, “Get back on! Hurry up, we’re almost loose!”
I’m on the opposite side of the rock, going, “Uh… I can’t! You’re not going to be able to pull me back around!”
“Get on or untie it!”
“I’m trying to untie it!”
“Hurry UP!”
“I can’t get it, the knot’s too tight!”
“We’re going!”
“Wait! Wait! What about me! Come back! BUDDY!”

And that’s when they left me for dead.

So off they went, free of the rock, dragging my empty tube behind them. I was left standing in butt deep water, the river and canoes rushing around me. The current was fairly swift, enough so that when I moved, I almost fell over. Fear was taking hold. I knew they couldn’t turn around and come back to save me, so I gave in. I dropped myself into the water and let the current carry me down stream. I curled myself into a little ball and used my shirt as a floatation device. Bill and Ryan had pulled over to the side of the river and were looking back for me… and there I was, pregnant lady, dodging the canoes that were whizzing by me, floating down the rapids of the river using my tank top with the built in bra to keep me from going under.

Good thing there was only 3 to 4 feet of water in that part of the river. And good thing I have a sense of humor.

I happily climbed back on my tube and continued the journey… uneventfully.

I was in the sun on the river for 3 hours and I didn’t even get sunburned. Being pregnant has made my skin sun resistant. I wasn’t even wearing sunscreen. That’s survival in itself. I was worried about the stress of the situation and the effect that it might have on my little Fuzzball, but once we got back to camp I felt my organs being rearranged from some major kicking. So all was good.

And that’s the story of how I was left for dead in the Clarion River. If I can survive that, then childbirth should be a breeze.

That was a joke. Laugh.

No comments: