Canoeing like Dummies

It’s summer in Missouri, which means that there are two ways to escape the heat and, ironically enough, the humidity: water. Mrs Missouri and I were invited to come canoeing some time ago, an opportunity we immediately grabbed. We met the family that invited us at their house and drove off to Steelville. On the way over, I was reminded again that Missouri can be beautiful to drive through; the hills, greenery and rocks along the way make even the highways pretty beautiful.

missouri

When we arrived at the resort, we hopped into a school bus and were escorted to where we’d take off. I was pretty excited to go canoeing, even though it became clear that Mrs Missouri and I were both really, really inexperienced, and the rest of the group appeared to have been canoeing since Lewis and Clark. Even worse, the moment I got up from my seat to get out of the bus, somebody recalled an anecdote about snakes falling out of the sky into the canoe and comforted me by saying it ‘only happens once in a while’. Of course, this was quite a paradigm shift in how I’d experience my trip. To be fair, no snakes fell into the canoe, but I saw one swimming right in front of our canoe, and to my surprise, it was the most casual thing I’ve ever seen (I looked up a video to show you, but the videos were not casual at all, but old-fashioned creepy).

The picture is really midway. You could imagine it being adorable, but the shape of the snake still  reminds you to rattle your spine in horror.

The picture is really midway. You could imagine it being adorable, but the shape of the snake still reminds you to rattle your spine in horror.

The trip was all downstream, which provided plenty of opportunity for shenanigans of all sorts. When you join a group of canoeing experts, it seems very easy to stand up in your canoe and swing your paddle at tennis balls like a baseball bat, but just before I tried, I reminded myself that every corner in the course had called for a strategic plan, lots of agony and even some gnashing of teeth, so I remained in my seat, hopelessly trying to throw a ball or frisbee from a seating, unbalanced position (being in the back anyway, we volunteered to pick up any tennis balls that missed their destination, but every time we attempted to throw it back, we ended up picking it out of the water just a few seconds later).

Take this for a setting; just add flying tennis balls and falling snakes, and you've got the picture.

Take this for a setting; just add flying tennis balls and falling snakes, and you’ve got the picture.

Other shenanigans included the ‘washing machine’, a medieval torturing technique that is loads of fun when you are wearing goggles. The idea is that someone climbs into a submerged canoe and holds his breath, and that all the others start flipping the canoe around its axes. I tried it, and had trouble holding my breath, just because I kept laughing so much. I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home, even when it is this much fun, but if you do, you didn’t get this idea from me. If you ever get invited to go canoeing with some veterans (canoe veterans, not the ones they name highways after), by all means go, because they might just open up a whole new world of water fun.

 

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