Whitewater fun and adventures!
By Rachelle Siegrist
We took advantage of the splendid weather this past week, with a day of kayaking and swimming with friends Tom and Sharon. Once we arrived at the point of embarkment, Tom and Sharon laughingly announced that they just realized they had forgot their paddle….OOP’s! Well I always say, “When life hands you lemons . . . make lemonade!” So we made the best of the situation and broke down a set of paddles giving the two guys each half a paddle, which actually worked out pretty good. If nothing else it gave them a great workout!
With our two one-armed sailors amongst the fleet, we started out on our exciting journey. For some reason Sharon’s kayak seems to have a mind of its own, as the second she stops paddling, it immediately turns either 90 degrees to the right or the left, heading in that direction and almost making a complete circle if she doesn’t intervene with her paddle. Needless to say it’s quite hilarious to watch from behind, as she left a zig zagging wake behind her, making it look like a “drunken” women was at the helm, not being able to decide which way to go . . . Ha!
Obviously our group was a sight to behold as we went along, nonetheless we were having a grand time! After paddling for awhile we decided to pull the kayaks up onto the bank and swim and snorkel. Wes and I had finally wised up and ordered wetsuits, which came in this past week, from our local Rhea’s Diving Services in nearby Maryville. I was definitely like a little girl on Christmas morning excitedly putting on my wetsuit, thankful to once again be able to snorkel and swim whilst staying warm after all these years of freezing! Once I finally got my second skin on, which in itself is a major accomplishment, I stayed semi-warm most of the time, a great improvement over being without it indeed!
I saw lots of beautiful fish, including a group of ten Redhorses about a foot in length in one of the deeper pools! Schools of bright blue minnows found my hot pink mask most intriguing, gathering in front of it and swimming up close to check it out! Warpaint Shiners and Rock Bass also swam by, as well as numerous other fish. After snorkeling, swimming and enjoying the thousands of bubbles at the base of champagne falls, we were all quite hungry, and enjoyed eating our sandwiches while perched on rocks and basking in the warmth of the sun. As always, time passed way too quickly and it was time to head back, so we climbed into our kayaks and off we went . . . Two one-armed sailors, a “drunken” woman and me.
Recent rains raised the water levels of the river and made it perfect for whitewater tubing, especially for an adrenaline junky like me!!! We all got in on the action a couple of times and had a blast going over and through the likes of what we’ve named the Double Dipper, Water Tornado and the BIG one . . . The Gusher, which actually sent us each airborne numerous times when going through it!
I thought for sure I heard the sound of The Dukes of Hazard’s car horn playing in the distance each time the wave shot me and my tube up into the air, causing us both to completely leave the water before crashing back down into the frothy mix! “Woo Hoo!” I hollered each time, laughing until I could hardly catch my breath.
There are certainly times in our lives when we feel like kids again no matter our age, and these were certainly some of those times, with us all laughing and excitedly talking about and sharing our amazing experiences each time we went down. The funny thing is, that no matter how many times we go down, it’s always as exciting as the first trip!
Even with our couple of outdoor adventures, we’ve spent most of our time at the easel and in the office this past week. I’m currently painting a dog portrait commission of a precious little girl named Lily which I’ll be sharing with you soon once I finish painting it.
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Until next time . . .