One of Adam's favorite ministry memories was the summer he (and a few other fearless leaders) took fifty-some kids canoeing as part of the summer activities we'd planned that year. I think I'd just had Sam so I didn't go, but ever since then he talks about taking our kids (and me.)
I'm the type of person who hears "kids on the water in a wobbly boat" and thinks "Certain death." But last week, Adam challenged me.
"Colorado Courtney would do it."
It was a low blow, let's be honest, but it did the trick.
So he made the arrangements and my sister and brother-in-law and Adam and I gathered our broods for some fun on the river.
After so many humid days, we somehow ended up with the perfect afternoon. The kids were excited and despite the nerves dancing in my belly, I was excited too!
I relaxed a little knowing we'd have a guide to take us on a lovely tour down the river and save us from the swirling whirlpools and imaginary crocodiles, but when we got there and they handed us maps outlined with with route we needed to take my nerves didn't so much dance as Krump.
Me? In a canoe? With my sister and two little girls? Are we insane? Upper body strength is not my forte.
We got them all strapped in and headed out--and I was determined not to A) lose an oar or B) lose a child. We got in the boat and Carrie and I steadied ourselves. The guy at the dock--Shane--was super nice and gave us a quick paddling lesson. After our crash course, off we went.
Fakest smile ever alert:
1. I think the guys set us up by putting all the girls in one boat.
2. It became instantly clear that we could quite possibly be the entertainment on this trip. Carrie and I had no idea what we were doing.
Turns out the person in the back (Carrie) steers the boat. The person in the front is like tech support. (Me.) I should also point out that the guys' canoes each had 8 year old boys as tech support...and they were doing a much better job than I was.
We set off all leisurely and nonchalant and within the first few minutes we had to make a wide turn. Picture Carrie and I in a boat with two girls asking questions like "What if a fish bites the paddle?" "What if I fall out of the boat", "What if we get turned around and go the wrong way?"
We're happily paddling and then, like in a movie, the soundtrack kicks in with the scary music and we realize we are NOT going to make that turn.
"Put your oar on the left," Carrie yells from the back... but I can't hear her because Sophia is saying "Are we going to die?" and Emery has started screaming...that high-pitched girl scream. (Moms of little girls, can I get a witness?)
I am trying to hear what Carrie's saying and I'm afraid if I turn around I'll knock someone out of the boat (I do things like this all the time.)
I glance up and Adam's yelling something at me about which way to paddle and my brother-in-law, Matt, is laughing.
All the while I am envisioning, you know...Certain Death.
"Everyone stop yelling!" I yelled in unison with my sister who I'm sure had also started wondering why the two of us were in charge of a boat on our own, and we dug in and made the turn.
Good chance I'm never going to live that down. Let's just say Colorado Courtney needs to work on her inner zen.
But we finally got the hang of it.
The tour down the river was about two hours long and even though we found one spot that was basically a whirlpool and a few other difficult turns, we made it back in one piece and everyone had the best time.
For some reason I don't have any shots of this guy in his life-saving garb:
If you have the chance, I highly recommend T.J.'s bait and tackle (and canoe rentals) for a fun summer activity. I think each boat is $35 and it's just such a different thing to do.