Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Trip Down the River

My blog has gone from a handful of photos with a post everyday to way too many photos and a blog post or two a week. It wasn't part of my plan to blog this way, but sometimes things just evolve with the rhythm of the days or weeks or whatever. If you're still following me...great!...thanks for being there! I hope to get back to the old way at some point...but for now, here's another long one. Grab a beverage or two. :-)

I grew up in a scenic river town. There were always weekend visitors there enjoying all that there is to do and see. I avoided the local attractions as much as I could when I was a teenager. Boring, lame, bunch of tourists gawking at everything...who needed that when I could be riding my horse or hanging out with boys or doing something fun?? After I moved away I realized how uniquely beautiful the area is. How can we think we know so much as a teenager when we really don't know nuthin' at all?? Anyway, last weekend we decided to enjoy one of the local attractions in my home town. We did this....

...rented canoes and took a 7 mile trip down the river. It was all kinds of fun. A lot of people had the same idea that day.....darned tourists!....wait....that's what I am now. A lot of people had the idea to take their dogs along....like this couple that launched about the same time that we did. Happy couple, happy dogs.

This was my canoe mate....Eric. He grew up in the area and had only taken the trip once or twice himself....and it had been a long time ago. Ahoy matey!

It was a steamy 95 degree hazy, humid day. There was a nice current in the river since the area has gotten some good rain this summer.

We canoed for a while and when we saw the Princess coming our way. It felt like it could have been 100 years ago.

We moved to the Minnesota side to get out of its way....but it looked like it was coming right for us!

No worries, it follows the deeper channel in the river and moved to the Wisconsin side

It's fun to watch, the boat is powered by a paddle wheel...

....and just sort of chugs along. The paddle boat offers a beautiful trip in the fall when the leaves are turning....if you don't feel like canoeing!

Here's a very rare photo of me in a swimsuit, proof that I was there....I got to sit in the front of the canoe....it's easier.

The boys had a couple of friends along, Billy is in the front with Brian's friend David in the rear.

When we saw the rock cliffs ahead we knew that the infamous Franconia sandbar was just ahead....our plan was to stop there to swim and have a picnic.

Apparently it was the same plan as every other canoe on the river that day. We decided to find a quieter spot....

....and fast....the boys were hungry! This is Brian in the back and Jacob in the front...he's a mutual friend of the boys from our church up there.

Here is the hungry crew...Billy, David, Jacob, Brian and Eric.

The view from our picnic spot....the land on the left is an island.

Another view from our picnic spot....the land on the right is the island from the last picture.

Even though there were others using the river, it was mostly canoes and was so peaceful and beautiful that I hardly noticed that they were there.

Heading out after lunch.

Such a beautiful spot.

Hey...there's my captain again. :-) Turn around and paddle woman....oh, ok....

The trip itself was wonderful, but my favorite part was seeing this smile on Billy's face...

....and this one on Brian's face....

....and a smiling Jacob.....

....and a smiling David. After all, isn't it the smiling memories of summer that help to get us through the long days of winter?

Smiling and chatting and splashing.....
...and walking all the way across the river. According to David it was an "epic" adventure.

We paddled, we floated, we enjoyed the cool and peaceful river on a hot, hazy day....and then the bridge came into view. The bridge that meant our trip was almost done.

But before we got to the bridge we saw this little stream....

....lined with these red wildflowers. And of course we stopped, paddled back up against the current so I could take a picture....because it's a flower and it's what I like to do. And I'm glad that I did. Aren't you?
And then it was time to return our canoe to the landing. What a wonderful day. The scene from the landing on that hot steamy day made me think that a scene from the Nile in Africa might look like....
....with people doing whatever they could do to escape the oppressive heat. It was a lot like that I'd say...well....except that there were no crocodiles....and no angry Rhinos....or hungry Hippos....or water snakes! And for that, I am grateful.....grateful that our "epic adventure" was really just a nice canoe ride down a beautiful river on a hot summer day. Ahhhhh.

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