Suzann Ledbetter

Float Trip  

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"Float Trip"

Perhaps part of the reason I like winter better than summer is because few invitations to cruise a waterway in a canoe arise after the snow starts flying.

Although it's true, nothing beats a float trip for its up-close-and-personal scenery, I realized many moons ago that our foremothers and fathers who relied on canoes for transportation must have originated the phrase "Buns of Steel."

Being a pampered product of this century and its inventions--such as foam-padded upholstery--and after paddling along a river for a mile or so, which is w-a-y longer on water and takes w-a-y longer to accomplish, I begin to experience a modern-day phenomena known as "Buns of Numb." Depending on the duration of the outing, the level of discomfort increases to Buns of Agony, culminating in the Can't Sit Down Anywhere Without Whimpering stage.

Added to the physical distress are features of Mother Nature's river-oriented handiwork such as tree-indigenous spiders who spin gigantic, cottony webs on branches hanging precisely at face-level, and which cannot be avoided due to the course of currents necessary for continued canoe flotation--or, at least, that's what I'm always told after receiving a web-intensive slap in the ol' kisser.

As if that weren't enough to give a reluctant canoeist the willies, these incidents are always followed immediately by the absolute certainty that 1,942,871 accidentally dislodged tree spiders are now making new homes in my hair.

Being a city-kid, I also never knew snakes could swim until I was once on a float trip featuring the reptilian equivalent of a water ballet bobbing en masse around the canoe. Recalling my Girl Scout training regarding the slant of a snake's pupils indicating whether or not it was poisonous didn't help a whole heck of a lot, since the handbook failed to mention how close I had to be to the potentially deadly one's snoot to make that particular determination.

Beyond chronic Bun Abuse, spiders, snakes, and the acknowledgment that if you've seen one river-borne boulder and tree-lined bank, you've pretty much seen them all, the decided lack of available restroom facilities in the wild eventually effects my ability to simply kick back and enjoy the outing.

Granted, the dearth of pit-stops doesn't hamper the guys I've ridden the river with, which is just peachy for them. As far as I'm concerned, it's proof positive that the genders will never achieve 100% equality no matter how many laws are passed by Congress.

Okay, so except for the standard tip-over incident whereby everything I own, including my personal person, takes an unexpected swim in a murky, poisonous snake-infested area and the aforementioned canoe ends up attached to my back like a elongated turtle shell, float trips do meet the definition of a "get away from it all" outing.

And just because I genuflect and kiss the carpeting when I arrive home alive doesn't mean I'm not glad I took a day off to wallow in Mother Nature's watery wonders.

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