6.30.2008

A River Runs Through It...


What a weekend! We're back from the wilderness and we all survived... though just barely for some of us. We're a little sleep deprived, a lot dirty, very smelly, and full of harrowing stories of adventure. It was fun... LONG.... but fun.

We spent the weekend at the Alexander Valley Campgrounds in Healdsburg, California, about an hour north of San Francisco. Twenty-six family members gathered for this used-to-be-annual canoe trip down the Russian River; though it was the first time for most in this group. My dad, (aka The Admiral), had been coordinating the trip for the past 4 months; making reservations, scouting camp sites, sending e-mails. Finally, the big weekend was upon us.

We all arrived in the late afternoon on Friday, and after setting up camp, we cooked dinner, made s'mores and sat around the camp fire until midnight. Unfortunately the camp site was mere meters away from a fairly busy highway, and when we went to bed the sounds of passing vehicles was almost deafening, and continued throughout the night. So much for communing with nature!



The next morning we ate breakfast, got organized, packed ourselves up, and marched down to the river around 11 am (slightly later than we had anticipated). After our 1-minute orientation and lesson, we strapped on our life vests, loaded up our 9 canoes, and pushed off on our 10 mile journey down the river. We all started out strong, laughing and giggling, and drinking a brewski or two... until ten-minutes into our trip when our first canoe tipped over. Whoosh... down go the oars, the shoes, the cooler, the camera, and the kids.

Now slightly delayed, we began paddling harder and faster so that we could make up for lost time. We were told there were markers at the 1/3 and the 2/3 points. It took so long to get to these course markers, we were sure they kept moving them. Oftentimes, it felt like we were rowing backwards... One mile of rowing seemed equivalent to 5 miles of walking ... and hot darn were we tired! The hours of monotony were broken up by minutes of excitement as we hit some fast moving water, which caused havoc upon the rowing novices as they capsized. Seven hours later, we arrived at the end of our journey, sunburned, wet, exhausted, yet satisfied of a job well done. All of us could have used a hot shower, and a good night sleep... neither of which we were going to get.

We returned to the campsite around 7 pm, got changed, and started dinner. It was another late night of eating, drinking, and smoking cigars, before putting our overly tired bodies to sleep. Strangely enough, the traffic noise didn't seem to bother anyone as much that night.

Sunday morning we sat around and had a leisurely breakfast before we broke down camp. We took tons of photos, cleaned up our areas, and said our good-byes before hitting the road. A straw poll was taken among the little ones on whether they would be up for another canoe trip... the answer was a unanimous, "NO". I think most of the parents agree. This certainly won't be an annual canoe trip. While we all had a fun time getting together and camping, 10 miles canoeing was a tad much.






Despite all the beefing, moaning, and complaining about the physical rigors of the trip, no doubt, a year from now, once the soreness has dissolved, and the sunburns heal, this will become a wonderful memory.

However, I still need another 11 months...




Make sure you turn up your speakers...

Many thanks to Uncle Scott for helping me with this slide show.

I couldn't have put it together with out him!

12 comments:

Sarah said...

That sounds like such a wonderful time - def making memories of a lifetime.

AnnieG said...

While the kids might not want to go back, I bet they will always remember it!

Diane Mandy said...

A memory that will last forever. I'm glad you survived (even enjoyed) the adventure!

karey m. said...

awwwwwwwwwww! glad you're back...and you're so good with the slideshows!

mary said...

What an adventure! It sounds happily exhausting. :)

San Diego Momma said...

I wish I took trips like that. It sounds delightful and bonding.

I'm glad you had fun!

Deb
sandiegomomma.com

Amy said...

That sounds amazing. How lucky you are to have a dad that would go to all that trouble and a big family to join in. Fun.

Eve Grey said...

I loved the slide show!
Camping is soooo much work! Just looking at that truck filled with stuff gave me shivers thinking about unpacking it all...
Funny how sometimes the things that seemed such a pain when you
were there become a fond memory after. (:

Emily said...

Looks like your dad did a fab job planning the trip. Fun!

Hyphen Mama said...

OMG. That looks like such a great trip! Wonderful family memories.

That makes me really REALLY want to get a raft trip (we do rafts in Colorado, canoes tip over too easily for my taste) with my family.

I LOVED the video and the music. Great. Thanks for sharing.

Hyphen Mama said...

p.s. now I'm going to have to rent that crazy movie because the song's stuck in my head.

Mrs4444 said...

Loved the video; your kids will remember this trip for a lifetime!

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