My first “Canoe Adventure”. My husband popped the question Thursday night. You know how guys are? They wait until the last minute to ask you something. His work group was going on a river canoe trip the next day. Did I want to go? He thought I’d say no, because I don’t like bugs, hate humidity and don’t like getting in the water. Well, I said “Yes” anyway, and off we went!
The canoe trip was sponsored by Adventures Unlimited in Milton Florida. Located on Coldwater Creek, they offer kayaking, canoes, zip-lines, orienteering, cabins and more. We drove the hour from Destin Florida to Milton, getting up at a groggy-eyed 5:00 a.m. It was far away, and I was sure we were in some other state, lost on a back road. When we got to the site, though, it looked like a well-organized campground. I told the clerk we wanted an “upgraded kayak or canoe” (whatever you call those things), as I didn’t want to paddle, just enjoy my husband’s gondoliering skills down the creek. She said I could be like Cleopatra in the front, so just take one paddle, and it would be no problem. Uh, not exactly, as we’ll find out later.
Our next step was getting on a bus to be driven to the drop-off point, where we would get into our canoes and kayaks. The guide announced, “The special group should get on the bus first – those who are going on the 15 mile trip.” Whew, I was glad that wasn’t us. But wait — “Get on”, he said! It is YOU- you are on the advanced trip. Oh no, I felt like someone who had just enlisted in the military and there was nothing you could do to change your mind. I was in, and there was no turning back. I just hoped the 15 miles would be a joy ride.
We got to our drop off point to find out there was no extra “upgraded” canoe with the raised seat-backs for us. We could wait for one and hold up the trip, or carry on. One of my husband’s buddies whispered to me, “You really should have a paddle, too, just in case…”. “You’re right” I said, but it was too late.
At the send-off, the guide told us, you’ll be going by two bridges. After the second bridge, you’ll be close to home. Watch for the signs that say “Stop”. The trip should take about four hours. Not.
At first, getting in the canoe was glorious. A little shaky, but pleasant. Then the adventures came. We got stuck on the bottom several times, as the water was too shallow. My husband got out and towed us through the pebbles by hand. Such a Herc. I probably should have gotten out of the boat to help him out. Then the rain came. Not a pleasant sun-shower. A full-out downpour. There I was, soaked to the bone. I might as well have been swimming. I thought it was a dream. No help. No cover. In the middle of nowhere. Finally, the rain stopped. I tried to towel myself off, but the towel was sopped, too.
Onward we went. Where the water wasn’t shallow, there were huge tree limbs and stumps to avoid. They were beautiful, but banging up against them was jolting. My husband paddled on. I realized I should have brought my own paddle to help, as the rest of the group was far ahead of us. To avoid shallow areas, we had to skirt the shoreline. A little too closely at times. I did complete back flops into the canoe to avoid having my head taken off by tree limbs. That only happened three times. The last time was when all of my husband’s friends were parked on shore waiting for us to catch up. We went right into the trees, I slammed flat on my back, and they all clapped. How embarrassing.
Are we there yet? Two hours later, more rain. We were only one-third of the way through. I decided to pull a huge branch from the creek to use as a paddle to “help” out my husband. Apparently, the experienced river rats thought that was hysterical, and laughed at my “paddle”. Onward we went. Maybe we’d never get out. This was one of those movies. After each curve of trees, I kept hoping for the “Stop” sign. Maybe it was around the next curve? Nope. This is the one!? Nope. Lost on a river. Finally, six hours and 15 MILES later, we got back to our starting point. Our adventure was over.
Did I have fun? Yes! I loved looking at the beautiful nature, trees, clear water, ancient stumps, feeling the cool breeze and enjoyment of friends. Would I go again? YES. But next time? Sign me up for the short course, and I’ll bring my own paddle!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]