What Were We Thinking?

Waterway Trail - the way it looks just before a really scary thunderstorm...My friend Sue and I had quite the adventure today.  I checked the weather forecast in the morning.  Honest I did.  It said possible thunderstorms late in the afternoon or early evening…  Well…  unless 11am is now considered late afternoon/early evening…  Anyway, we’re still alive, did not get struck by lightning (though one crashed so nearby there was no time to count even a single second between flash and noise!), and didn’t suffer hypothermia.

The whole idea was to explore a part of the Marden Cobb Waterway Trail for my Hike Chautauqua blog.  I wanted to get some pictures along the way, experiment with my new polarizing filter, etc.  My camera spent most of the time inside the dry bag, so I don’t have many pictures to share.

We got a bit of a false start trying to decide where to put in and which direction to paddle.  We finally put in at the Levant launch and paddled upstream a little ways toward Ross Mills, then swung around and returned to Levant.


I wish I could show you pictures:  A great blue heron, green herons, some sort of sand piper or yellow legs, some swallows or martins, and some LBBs (little brown birds) graced us with their presence.  (Sorry I’m not more specific on the species… I’m a Reluctant Birder, don’t forget!)  A couple of flocks of Canada Geese honked overhead.  Fish jumped and flashed their tails.  At least 4 different kinds of dragonflies went by – too far away to identify postively.  Flowers were plentiful, too:  several species of smartweeds, cardinal flower, blue vervain, jewelweed, arrowhead, some new yellow thing that I must learn…

We're going to have to paddle like h*#! to get back to the car before the storm!After we had been paddling for 45 minutes or so, we thought we heard thunder.  We turned back right away.  After a bit of paddling downstream, the temperature dropped noticably and the sky darkened.  Lightning flashed.  It began to sprinkle.  We thought it might be wise to pull the canoe close to shore, munch on some trail mix and wait a bit.  Let’s just say it got a LOT worse before it got better.  Now you know that I love rain and I don’t mind taking my camera out when it is a bit drizzly.  Yeah.  Not in this rain, though.  It came down HARD and fast and the lightning flashed all around us for some time.

When it seemed to be slowing down, we paddled a bit further… but the flashing started up again… so we found “cover” under a shrubby willow.  Sue laughed… She had just returned from a camping trip in the Adirondack’s yesterday.  Our Trusty Canoe... filling slowly with water...Out there, she had to sign waivers and release forms assuring everyone that she understood the danger of bears and knew the precautions one had to take to avoid an encounter.  Here we sat in our own backyards in more serious “mortal danger” than she had been amongst the bears…  “If a lightning strike doesn’t kill us, maybe hypothermia will…”  Hmmm… But what a way to go:  doing what you love – and snacking on chocolate at the same time!

I'm smiling.  But I'm thinking... Ball cap - in the car.  First aid kit - in the car.  Space blanket - in the car.  Raincoat - in the car.  Thank the Goddess the chocolate is here with us!

After we got back to the launch and wrestled the canoe back to the top of Sue’s car, I hopped in my car and turned the heat up all the way.  A nice hot shower and a nice hot cup of coffee later, and I felt I could type again…  Next time, we’ll be more prepared… We’ll bring twice as much chocolate and a thermos of coffee to go with it!

If you click here, you can read Sue’s “Canoeing Adventure”.

9 thoughts on “What Were We Thinking?

  1. Oh Jennifer, I’m glad you two are OK. Lightning always scares me when I’m outside and I heard on the news yesterday that some people in Wisconsin were killed by a nearby lightning strike while they were out standing in some floodwaters during flood clean-up.

  2. We have had afternoon and evening storms this week. Today I noticed a large tree by the river that had been struck by lightning and had fallen across the path. Pretty scary, if you were out in a storm that could do that.

  3. A PFD that doubles as a rain bonnet–you should market that idea–I’d buy one!
    Last summer on a canoe ride we spent most of the afternoon sheltering under a leaky tree to wait out a storm that surprised us on the lake.
    I feel so vulnerable on the water–it’s like you’re wearing a bullseye.

  4. Pingback: The Conewango « A Passion for Nature

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