Last weekend we went canoeing with the kids and Emily’s aunt and uncle. The Little Coal river is near where we all live so it is convenient and really, a pretty great river for canoeing. Like most of the East, we have been hot and dry for quite awhile so I had pretty low expectations about the quality of the water on the trip. I grew up in NW PA near the beginning of the Allegheny river. It is pretty shallow and slow there so I have plenty of experience in carrying a canoe through shallow water. I didn’t really want to carry a canoe full of my offspring over rocks and downed trees.
We threw our canoes in (actually, the kayak started down the river without us) and headed out. The water was perfect! My shallow-water-eyes were just flat out wrong. There were spots that weren’t deep but in every case, there was a ton of room to navigate the river anywhere we wanted! The last time we went on this river, the water was raging. We absolutely could not get out of the boats (and truth be told, probably shouldn’t have even been in the boats) and our trip down the river was speedy. This time, we got to really enjoy the river!
There were a few “rapids” that we got to ride. I wasn’t sure whether the kids would enjoy it but they laughed and Isaac yelled, “Caribou!” at the top of his lungs (yeah, it’s a 4th/5th grade boy thing I think). We stopped at the end of several of the rapids and walked back up to ride down in the rapids sans boat. Holy mackerel that was fun! I had to hold on to the kids the first few times because they were wary, but in no time, they were itching to go on their own…we just had to catch them at the bottom!
At one point, we saw a few cassette tapes in the water. I suspect that someones house or camp was flooded at some point as no one would just dump old Motley Crue cassettes. Anyhow, the kids saw them and asked what they were…that’s right, my kids had no idea what a cassette tape was or why people would use them instead of cds or dvds. That was a bit shocking to me but we had a great conversation about how life was when I was a kid (and that wasn’t super long ago…I can’t imagine if they had the conversation with my 96 year old Grandpa!) I enjoyed telling them about sleeping in the back of the station wagon on trips and how our legs would burn and stick to the plastic seats…how we didn’t have A/C in the house or cars and no cell phones or video games. Abigail asked me, “How did you make it through?” HA! And our lives were still pretty easy compared to people before us!
Anyhow, it didn’t take long for Diva…I mean Abigail…to get tired. She propped back in the kayak and toured the rest of the river “princess style”. We ate lunch on the river and laughed and had a great time not worrying about a thing. Our only donation to the river gods was one pair of old sunglasses. They were easily satisfied with our sacrifice. I think the river was just what we needed…and I can’t wait to go again!
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