August 19, 2013

No matter the weather


Every day before going to our boats, we gathered for a morning meeting. Paddlers would stand around in clusters, putting on sunscreen or packing rain gear, cramming cameras and snacks into dry bags. Sometimes Hickory, the lead paddler, would tell us something about the tides or the winds, and let us know what to expect.

One of the organizers would tell us where we'd be stopping for lunch. And often we got messages that stuck with me all day just because they were so simple. "Remember, " Chief Edwards would say before we got into our boats. "Be kind to each other." Be kind to each other. I loved that.

I can remember one morning, when the sky looked ominous, a nervous paddler who had just joined the day before said, "Last night, the news said a 40 percent chance of rain. Do we have an updated weather report?"

Chief Jake Edwards looked at him and said in his deep voice, "There's a 100 percent chance of AWESOME."

Everyone cheered.

It did rain sometimes. The most spectacular storm happened after we'd already landed and were setting up our tents on a grassy lawn near the edge of the river. The wind suddenly rose, and the sky above the river turned white. We could see the storm coming. When it hit, it was spectacular: driving rain, thunder and lightning, winds that twisted ropes and tossed clothing off lines. As I ducked into the tent to stay drive, I could hear a bunch of the teenagers yelling, yipping, cheering.

The storm came and went, and it meant that our afternoon program became an evening program instead. The speaker was a clan mother from the Beaver Clan who began by saying, "We had to delay the program because of a storm. I guess that shows us where the real power is."

A late afternoon storm on the Hudson.


Sam said...

Not sure what's happening with blogger, but it's taken me ten tries to leave a comment.

I loved the "100 percent chance of awesome" forecast.

jo(e) said...

Yeah, something weird is going on with the blogger interface. Sorry it took so many tries!

robin andrea said...

Love reading about this journey.

Urban Sophisticate Sister said...

Wow - what a beautiful place to camp! Is this a campground, or someplace that hosted you?

jo(e) said...

In the bottom photo, we were camping in a park right in Cold Spring. I don't think it's a park that usually allows camping. Most places were like that -- we'd borrow any lawns we could, set up about 100 tents all very close to each other, pile the kayaks and canoes somewhere near the water, and bring in about ten porta-potties.