Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Canoe Adventure

We were getting ready for a little canoing trip. Three female counselors, myself, and 7 campers. There weren't enough life jackets for everyone, so Donna and I said we'd be ok without wearing one. I asked Lana, the director, is this was ok. She replied, "Yes, you know how to swim.. and Beth, you're a lifeguard." I nodded in agreement and we headed towards the water for our canoe adventure.


I sat in the canoe, paddling as hard as I could with little to no progress. I was in a forever fight with the current's waves which were pushing effortlessly against me. I tried to remain calm so the camper in my canoe would believe I knew what I was doing. I concluded that I wasn't going to win the fight. I hopped out of the canoe. The water's coldness creeped through my body and I cringed. Rocks and oysters clawed at my feet but my face remained made of stone. I hauled the canoe to the shore. Another canoe full of campers floated down with the current. I swam over to their canoe, fighting against the current, and hauled it to shore. I told them to sit tight.

The last two canoes were on there way towards us. I was yelling at them to turn around. That failed. I swam through the current once more, wondering why this day of all days was the day I was stuck without a life jacket. I hauled two of the canoes together. I tried to get everyone out of the current but it just kept getting worse and worse. I yelled to a fellow counselor that we'd have to go back and get the male staff for help. Two canoes managed to turn around and were heading back towards the camp to flag down the rest of the staff. I peered out at the canoes fighting to head back towards the camp and concluded there was no way there were going to make it back quickly; The wind was too strung now. I stood up to waist in the water with my scraped feet. I decided I'd take the road back. I ran through the woods, telling the campers and two staff that were stuck to stay put while I'd go get help.

I never ran so fast in my life. I flagged down a truck and breathlessly told them the situation. He told me to hop in while he drove me back to the camp. I ran to the main building, my shoes being kicked in the air and grabbed the airhorn. I blew it twice and proceeded to sprint towards the beach were the kids and male staff were. I ran as fast as I could. Morgan, the lifeguard, saw me with worry and question in his eyes. I collapsed to the sand, clenching my sides as I gasped for breath. "Canoes.... stuck.... current.... help," is all I managed to squeeze through each breath. I managed to explain what had happened and we all headed back to the camp. Liam, Morgan, and I headed in a car and truck to where the canoes were stuck. We drove the campers and canoes back to camp.

It certainly was an adventurous day.

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