Friday, November 27, 2009

Ghost River

This morning, Team Oster woke up extra early. Not to go shopping, but to go canoeing on the Ghost River conveniently located just an hour and a half away. Our last canoe trip was two and a half years ago. We had picked a not so fun part of the Wolf River and spent the day battling downed trees and snakes. Needless to say, the kids were not excited about getting back on the river.

Warren and I had to listen to, "You mean we're just going to SIT in a canoe for 5 hours?" and other unenthusiastic responses for about a week. When one of the kids said, "I don't want to go canoeing!" I simply replied, "Tough."

I told them that they were just going to have to trust us on this one.

To make sure our trip went smoothly, I assembled an all star crew consisting of Naomi Van Tol, nature lover and Ghost River expert, and Team Banbury. Scott is an enthusiastic environmental all-star. Amy is the most badass midwife in town. Their kids, Kade and Brigid, are both super cool too.

To top things off, we had the best weather one could possibly hope for in late November.

There was no way the trip could suck. Right?

Wrong. I sucked. I have a hard time relaxing and well, I started off a little tense. I was the canoeing equivalent of a backseat driver. (A bow driver?) Warren gave me the opportunity to be stern, and that was not fun. The Ghost River is very challenging to maneuver and to make a long story short, I ended up in tears begging him to take the wheel.

Before leaving, Naomi warned us that married couples don't always make the best canoeing partners and that she would not hesitate to split us up if necessary. I giggled when she originally told me this, but uh, yeah, Warren and I had to be separated.

The Banburys graciously offered to "wife swap" with us, and Naomi invited Satchel to ride with her and Brigid. This turned out to be the perfect set up. Satchel and Brigid got to ask a million questions and have them answered by someone knowledgeable and kind.

Jiro and Warren got to ride with someone relaxed and laidback.

I got to sit in the middle of Kade and Scott's canoe and enjoy the ride. That's right, I didn't even have to paddle! In fact, I'm happy to never paddle again. It was so nice not worrying about anything.

The Ghost River is absolutely beautiful. Dare I say majestic? The cypress trees are amazing. We also saw lots of birds, including a blue heron, a beaver dam, and a preying mantis. Naomi happily answered everyone's questions and did an excellent job of leading us through the trail. We were in good hands. It's safe to say that everyone was having a great time.

Satchel and Brigid collected (and ate) Tupelo seeds out of the water and generally acted like two peas in a pod. Jiro was extremely calm and happy and entertained everyone in spurts with his "colorful" vocabulary.

The whole trip took about 5 hours and I think we all agreed that we couldn't wait to come back--especially when it would be warm enough for swimming.

It was the best Black Friday ever. Our only regret was not having any Ghost River beer to drink upon our triumphant return to the canoe pull out! (However, a nice guy with a shuttle service graciously offered us all soft drinks, Little Debbies, and a spot beside his campfire.)

As we were leaving, Satchel asked if we could go canoeing on his birthday--a sure sign that canoeing is awesome. Hearing this, Jiro, of course wanted to canoe on his birthday too. They spent the bulk of the ride home planning their guest lists.

A big, giant THANK YOU to Naomi for making one of my crazy ideas a reality. (And for knowing when to mix up the seating arrangements!)

Edited to add: Both Satchel and Jiro brought along a stuffed animal for the ride. Satchel brought home a baggie of Wolf River water to boil and drink!


Melissa said...

No, you just picked the divorce boat! Wow that looked beautiful - Team Sweazy would love to join when it's a little warmer!

Gary Bridgman said...

Glad you made it out alive. I was glad to be alone in a canoe yesterday on my second-coldest Ghost River experience

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