Lately, I’ve been yearning for adventure. While my day job provides plenty of challenges, spending the day in an office just doesn’t give you the same kind of satisfaction that I imagine one would get from, oh I don’t know….building her own log cabin and living off the land in complete isolation from the outside world, befriending only woodland animals….Yes, I have thought about this scenario. Blame TV. Practically every program on my DVR takes place in Alaska and involves some self-reliant type who tans elk hide with his own urine.
Well, adventure I wanted, and adventure I received. Brad and I decided to take the kayaks downriver. The tides were going to be perfect for paddling with the current out to the beach and after hanging out for a couple of hours, taking advantage of the change in tide to get back to the spot where we launched. An experienced fisherman who always has his eye on the marine forecast, Brad checked the weather before we left. Thunderstorms were supposed to stay west of us and the wind was supposed to be a little gusty but it wasn’t anything we were worried about.
So we hopped in the river and headed to the backside of our favorite beach. The paddle to the beach was amazing. I wish I had brought my camera so I could share with you the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. A raccoon, on the marsh at the edge of the river, hunting for crabs! The little guy/gal thought we were a pretty strange sight as we kayaked by, but then went about his/her business. We had a nice little breeze at our back, which kept us cool all the way to the beach.
But the wind picked up just as we landed on the beach. We ate a quick lunch but decided that we’d cut our visit short and head back as soon as the tide changed. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get back upriver knowing how hard it would be to paddle against this sustained wind. And if the wind had changed, maybe the thunderstorms were headed for us too.
Making it to the other side of the channel from the beach, without bumping into any boats, was our first challenge. I dug into that water harder than I ever thought I could (thank you Melissa Bender), and started making headway. Waves were crashing up over the bow of my kayak and soaking me. But we got past the anchored boats, and it was time to take a right turn and head upriver. As I turned my kayak, I started taking on waves broadside and nearly capsized! This was getting kind of scary.
Luckily, Brad, the seasoned fisherman was methodically steering us toward the next leg of the river where the water seemed much calmer. Presumably, this was going to be much easier once we got to there.
Oh, was I wrong. Although the current was going with us, the wind was against us. Very, very against us. We paddled and paddled and seemed to go nowhere. But no worries, this was the shallow part of the river and it was low tide. We would just get out of the boats and walk them. Um…yeah. Have you ever tried walking through a muddy-bottomed river, hunching over to drag a boat as the water swooshes through your legs and the wind does its very best to knock you over backward? Not that fun.
But I saw an escape. To the right of us, across a big stretch of mudflat and marsh, was a barn. A little beyond the barn was a house. There was a pickup truck parked next to the house.
We would pull the kayaks out and give my parents a call. They live in town and could pick us up on whatever street this house was on. Easy Peasy.
Brad was of the opinion that we should stay in the river and tough it out, fighting the wind to get back to the truck. I was of the opinion that I had a few new episodes of “Alaska: The Last Frontier” on the DVR, and as it turned out, it was much more fun to watch than to emulate.
So, we decided to go to land. So, I decided to go to land and Brad followed me, grumbling the whole way.
Brad dragged the kayaks across the mudflat and through the marsh (not as easy as it sounds), stashing them beneath a couple of bushes, while I called my parents and asked for a bailout. I estimated our location and asked them to drive to the road I thought we were on. The road was surely just beyond this hill, where I would be able to read the number on the mailbox and tell them exactly where to pick us up.
I was feeling so smart and Bear Grylls-esque that I hardly noticed Brad prattling on about being marooned on an island and how we should have just kept paddling. OK, know-it-all, how did that pickup truck get here if we are on an island? Clearly there’s a road here. We just need to get to it. A little more walking and a little less talking, OK?
But when we crested the hill, there wasn’t a road in sight. We had just traipsed though a field of high grass that was laden with poison ivy and deer ticks, me proudly leading the way, and there was no road. Even so, I wanted to keep walking until we found the road. There was a pickup truck here, right? There had to be a road. But Brad couldn’t drop the dumb idea that we were on some kind of mythical island that has houses and cars but no road to the mainland. I was getting tired of his whining, so I let him take over. Better to let him prove himself wrong.
He decided that we would walk another 500 yards through the yuck and knock at the door of the house to find out where we were. I stayed at the edge of the driveway while he went up to the house. If these people were serial killers, it was probably best that only one of us was sacrificed.
A woman came out, followed by a man, and they started to talk with Brad. The wind was whipping so ferociously, that I couldn’t hear what they were saying. However, I’m a pretty proficient lip-reader, and it looked like the word “island” was getting thrown around quite a bit.
Feeling pretty comfortable now that this man and woman were not going to brutally murder us, I walked over to join the conversation. Just in time to hear that the truck had been BROUGHT IN ON A BARGE.
We were on an island.
An island inhabited only by Lois and Tom, and only on the weekends. Umm…sorry Brad. My bad.
Thank the Lord for Lois and Tom. They drove us back down through the yuck where we retrieved our kayaks. Then they brought us and our boats around the other side of the little island where the mainland was just a quick paddle across the river. We called my mom and dad (who had since looked at a map and also figured out that we were stuck on an island – yes, I was the last one to accept this concept. And did I mention that by now, we were about 3 hours into this ordeal?), and told them where they could find us.
We were saved. Well…I was saved. I’m pretty sure Brad had it under control the whole time.