Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pathless Trails

July 4th on the farm is a day pretty much like any other. We fly a flag, but we do that from Memorial Day until sometime after the Fourth when we take it down to put it up again on other undefined occasions. Farms though don't care if it's a holiday and all the usual things need to be done. This year it's getting the barns ready for the winter hay supply.

Sometimes (although not this year) the neighbors' kids shoot off fireworks on the Fourth but otherwise it would require driving at least 20 miles to go see any shows. Years ago there was a local volunteer from one of the fire departments who would raise money through donations and put on quite a show at one of the old mill sites, but he either moved, lost interest in doing it-- or money got tighter.

July 5th, however, was a special day for us. We initiated our new canoe to water. We are beginners in canoing, but we had gotten some basic instruction from our son-in-law last summer when we went out on Klamath Lake with them. This last year, we also had acquired some books before we had bought the canoe in June.

In looking for a safe place to physically experience how our specific canoe worked, my husband heard recommended a small reservoir in the Coast Range which was about 42 miles from here. Right price in gasoline to get there, right sized lake, no power boats permitted, and some arms to explore but not so many that we would be unable to get out of bed the next day due to our sore arms.

Saturday morning we successfully got the canoe onto the Highlander, congratulating ourselves once again that we had bought a lightweight canoe; then drove west to the lake where we planned to meet Parapluie and Fisherman. He had a one-person pontoon boat and we had invited her to ride in our canoe.

The weather was perfect with an off and on, light misting rain and temperatures in the mid-60s. I hadn't thought about the advantage of having our own photographer in the canoe, but she willingly took over the 'recording it for posterity' job which led to some great photos. The lighting was interesting and changed constantly leading to photos later that looked as though they might have been taken on different days.

There are so many things I like about a canoe. I can start with its beauty, the aesthetic pleasure of dipping a paddle into the water and feeling it move the canoe forward. I like being able to get to places that from a land trail, I would see totally differently. A trail in a lake or river is what you make it, unless there are rapids or logjams to portage.

When canoing, you look ahead and think you'd like to go somewhere, to the other side, to see a family of geese, to get closer to a nurse tree (generally a cut cedar where not only new young cedars grow but many other plants), or a marsh where there might be wildflowers, so change direction or side where you paddle and off you go.

While we did have a few glitches in learning how to coordinate our paddling, they were minor and part of any learning process. I had been told by both my daughter and daughter-in-law (both families have canoes) that you can argue with the person at the back all you want, but it will be in their hands where decisions are made and control of how to get where you want to go. So the easiest thing is to give in and just ask what they want you doing.

That could sound chauvinistic, the way some would say a marriage should be with the husband dictating everything, except it could be anyone at the back... and except it's good having it be the strongest person in that position. I had tried being in back on Klamath Lake, and it was more muscle than I wanted to put into it at that point. Maybe after a year of building those arm and upper body muscles and learning more paddle techniques, it'd work better for me.

Now there will be more small lakes and easy rivers (no rapids, extreme currents or tidal conditions to pull us out to sea) to try and I am excited about going again. I had always thought I'd like canoing but it was in my mid-60s that I finally did try it. It's never too late for trying new things. How cool is that!

(All photos with the Canon Rebel. Most on the lake shots taken by Parapluie.)


Ingineer66 said...

That looks like a lot of fun Rain. And judging by the long sleeves a lot cooler than the 107 that I was watching my nephews baseball game in yesterday.

Parapluie said...

I am surprised at the quality of some of the pictures I took. And it was my first try! What fun and no wind!!!

Sylvia K said...

It does sound like a great trip and reminds me of similar ones my kids and husband made when we lived in Great Falls, MT. There is something so peaceful about being on the water.

Ingineer66 said...

PS Your comment about not wanting to put in that much muscle at Klamath just shows how lucky women are to have us guys around. The man has to be the man and is not allowed to say "I don't feel like paddling today, you take care of it." :-)

Rain said...

For me, it was a layered day and i had three to vary how much i was wearing dependent on the weather. For Oregonians, it was a perfect day.

As for nice to have men around, I never argue with that. On the lake though if my husband had requested I take the back because his shoulder hurt, and it did, I would have. He wanted to do it. I will do what I have to do in terms of muscle even if I have to do it in pieces instead of the whole hog *s*

I let a squirrel go from the livetrap today by carrying it to the back and figuring out how the clasp worked; then reset the trap and caught another one. To be honest, I more appreciate a man for that then the paddling as it's heavy to carry back there... good arm developing strength though *s*

Joy Des Jardins said...

Your first canoe trip....that really is cool Rain. You're one up on me. The pictures are great! It really looks like a lot of fun....and very peaceful. Being out on the water has always been very peaceful for me. I loved our sailboat for that reason; but not nearly as much as my husband did. I must say...you look great out there.

robin andrea said...

I've always wanted a canoe, and your day on the lake clearly shows why. What a great way to explore the world, quietly and at your own pace. Very inspiring.

Ingineer66 said...

PPS I did notice that you took my advice from the previous post and put a photo of you with a big toothy smile on this post.

Mary Lou said...

WHAT FUN!!! I have always wanted to go canoeing...But it is a bit much in the ocean, and the lakes around here are full of motor boats!

Paul said...

What a beautiful woman you are Rain !!