You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Monday, August 11, 2008


Last weekend, me and Matt went to visit my parents in Onalaska. My parents had arranged for us to all go canoeing on Saturday on the Black River. The last time I had taken this canoe trip was when I was ten and we had just moved to the area. That was the canoe trip from hell. Me and my brother didn't even have a canoe; my parents borrowed an inflatable raft from the neighbors so they would only have to rent one canoe. The raft was attached to my parent's canoe by a 30-foot rope - which was a good thing because, well, have you ever tried to paddle in an inflatable raft?

My brother and I knelt, squatted, and sat in this glorified inner tube trying to paddle our way down this very shallow, sandy, slow moving river. Eventually our parents ended up pulling us the entire way. My sister Kelly was probably the only one who had a peaceful trip. She sat in the middle of my parent's canoe and watched the scenery.

The only funny part was getting stuck on the sandbar, my dad pushing the canoe and my mom pulling and then falling backwards into the river, and the rest of us screaming with laughter.
We arrived at our destination about 5 hours after we started, exhausted, sore, sun burnt and mosquito-bitten, looking like, well, like we just got off the boat. Bewildered and shell-shocked. I think I heard more than one person say, "I'm NEVER doing that again." I think I was one of them.

This time was not bad. We made it down the river in three hours, even catching up to a group of boy scouts who'd started an hour before us. After we passed them, we had lunch on a sandbar. Matt decided to wade out into the middle of the river and eventually the screeching tweens arrived.
Word to uninformed: Sound travels EXTREMELY well over water. You can hear some talking in a normal voice about 100 yards away. One of the kids didn't understand this little fact when he said to his fellow paddler,"Ten bucks to hit the guy in the river. Fifteen to knock him over."

My mother was surprised. "What did HE say?"
I yelled to Matt, "They threw down the gauntlet! They're coming for you! Get ready."
Matt just stood there like Charon and smiled at them as they floated past. I thought he should have tipped them over.

You gotta watch out for those boy scouts.

Thankfully, we finished a few minutes ahead of them and got the first van back. You could hear them hollering all the way down the river. Towards the end I said to Matt, "Hurry! Paddle! They're gaining on us." My imagination has a habit of getting away with me and I was having all sorts of "Lord of the Flies" thoughts. I felt a little like Burt Reynolds in that movie. You know, THAT movie. Now there was a canoe trip from hell.

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