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I switched up my work schedule last week so that I could take Saturday off to go on a river canoeing trip with some of the people from the Sunday night Soup Group that I attend (soup, then book discussion, usually theology-related). Tangentially, the couple who organizes the group is about my parents' age, and have me over to their place for holidays when I'm in town instead of visiting my parents. I love them!

So, prior to the actual trip, I had my weekly phone conversation with my parents and told them about this river trip. Initially, they thought it sounded great. Then, as always happens in discussions about Florida with my parents, my father brought up alligators. Would there be alligators in this river? Well, I wasn't sure, but thought that it was possible. By the end of the conversation, my father decided that this trip was a terrible idea.

I thought he was half-joking.

Turns out, he wasn't.

The day of the river trip, we left town at 8:15am, arrived at the river at 9, and started canoeing. It was a really nice day for it, very sunny, but also, of course, very hot. However, we left around 12:30 in order to avoid the daily afternoon storm, so it worked out well. The river is spring-fed, so it's pretty chilly, and very clear. We went upstream a bit to see one of the spring openings, and that's a bit disconcerting - you can see the bottom of the river for most of the time, when you're not in the midst of river weed patches. But over the springs, the bottom just drops away into a deep, dark hole; I think Steve said it goes down at least 80 feet. Christy, who I was paddling with, is afraid of heights, and I'm not to fond of them either (which is a bit odd, considering I routinely dream about flying, never about falling). She says that she knows that water is coming UP out of the hole, but she always feels like if she was in the water, she'd be pulled DOWN.

We stopped for a snack/very early lunch at an inlet about a mile down the river, where there were two platforms fixed up near the opening of another spring. I jumped in and bobbed around a bit over the area where I could see the bottom; the water was refreshing after the canoeing, but very cold!

For the actual canoeing, it was a lot of fun to look around, there were a bunch of assorted birds, lots of turtles (I love turtles), and you could see the fish under the canoes. Less pleasantly, you could also see EYES peering at you out of the river weeds near the banks. There were one or two baby alligators sunning themselves on logs. Christy and I estimated that one alligator was something like 5 feet long, judging by what we could see from its head. That's pretty small for an alligator, but it IS pretty much my height, and although I'm sure that the river is generally safe (apparently it's one of the best for canoeing in the country), seeing all the alligators at close range was rather uncomfortable all the same.

NOTE: there were no alligators in the inlet where we swam. At least, none that I could see. I stayed close to the canoes.

Anyway, it was fun, I wasn't eaten, and I called my dad afterwards to let him know that I was still alive. Then I called my mother, who was visiting some of my aunts and told her that I was still alive, which is when I found out that my father actually had been seriously afraid for my safety, regarding alligators.

So in conclusion: it was a pretty river, and a good trip, but I haven't really decided if I would do it again, or canoe on other rivers where alligators live.

I like swimming better than canoeing, and I like oceans and lakes better than rivers anyway.

Date: 2010-06-29 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] artekka.livejournal.com
i'd love to see springs like that. sounds fascinating.
i do like canoeing. it's one of the few athleticish things that i seem to have a natural aptitude for. but i must admit that the last time i went on a creek w/ a canoe, we had steering problems, and got trapped between a strong current and a tree branch and had to be freed by our friends, who were tubing on said creek...

Date: 2010-06-30 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elirrina.livejournal.com
:) I wasn't steering, but my friend and I did pretty well. We did have a bit of trouble with a submerged log, but we sorted that out. It was really interesting to be able to see so well in the river.

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