Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.
Two passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
So I decided to try kayaking for the first time this weekend, as my friend Keith had been asking me to go for awhile now. We decided on a moderate trip from Highway 49 down Red Creek to Cable Bridge (about eight miles). Things started great, the scenery was fantastic, the water was nice and cool and the weather was warm and sunny. We traversed the small creek, making our way past downed trees from Katrina which were everywhere and made for a nice challenge bobbing back forth to navigate past. We were having a great time when suddenly we came around a bend and saw the bridge where we had planned to exit from.
We had made great time and we were having a blast, so we decided to go to the next bridge, which Keith thought was not too far, maybe another eight miles or so. Onward we pushed as we enjoyed a bit of scenery change and noticed that the area looked much more “natural” and untouched by man. We paddled for another three hours or so, wondering when we would paddle around another bend and see our bridge and exit point. Another hour or so went by when we finally happened upon another person camping along the creek. We asked if he knew how far it was to the next bridge and were shocked when he told us that it was another five hours or so by water (about twenty two miles total from where we got in at). We started to get a little nervous as we had already been on the water for five hours and were getting tired. It was also about 4 o’clock and we started to ponder the possibility that we might have to spend the night out there. We had no preparations for this, other than water, some snacks and a change of clothes. Our wives were also expecting to pick us up from the exit point at any moment and since we had not been able to get a cell phone signal for the last few hours, we knew that they would start to worry that something had happened.
Onward we paddled, now setting a much more frantic pace in our strokes, not know exactly how much further we had to go. We were moving at a very good pace, leaving a nice wake behind us as we furiously paddled our way down the creek. We started joking about hearing the narrator’s voice from the show, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive“; telling the story of two novice kayakers now finding themselves stranded and unprepared in the wilderness. It was amusing at the time, but each of us were actually thinking about the true consequences of our ill-informed decision to carry on down the Red Creek.
We kept paddling at a pace which started to take its toll. We were both very winded and our shoulders were aching badly. The sky started turning a darker shade of blue and we knew that we were running out of daylight. Suddenly, as twilight was surrounding us, we came around one last s-curve and there it was, the Hwy. 15 Bridge!
We were then able to get up to the road, where we could get a cellular signal, and called our wives for us to be picked up. They were thrilled to hear from us as they were unsure of what had happened to make us almost three hours late from our proposed arrival time. What started as a leisurely excursion had turned into a strenuous workout that neither of us were very prepared for. My arms were like silly putty and I was as winded as can be, but we had made twenty-one miles on what was my inaugural trip! Needless to say, we’ll be checking our maps a little bit more closely when we venture out next time. All said and done though, we had a wonderful time and I enjoyed the peacefulness of gliding on the water and I can’t wait for our next outing.