Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wild Hog Collateral Damage

A few years ago, I decided to participate in our county's Wild Hog Canoe Race down the wild Waccasassa River. The Waca race section is about 19 miles of twisty, shallow, limerock infested skinny river. The race raises money for our local adult ed center for mentally handicapped citizens.

The dilemma was which kid to take.

Eventually, I decided to go in what we call, "baby order". So, in 2003, I took Katie. In 2004 due to a cheer camp conflict, I took Jr. instead of Emma. She went as my partner in 2005. The kids are my "bowman" and I am in the stern.

It's an insane race with many portages, more S-curves than you can imagine, and razor-edged limerock when the water is low.

In 2005, the water was low. Not long after Emma and started the race we collided with an old trestle piling at full speed. I was supposed to steer so expertly that we avoided such things. She was supposed to announce such things and fend off if possible, but somehow that didn't happen this time.
CRUNCH!
I couldn't see the damage from where I was, but we bailed and paddled the rest of the 19 miles with a terribly leaky heavy canoe.
Slowly we began to fall behind people we had passed. The overloaded canoe with 3 giant college studs in it passed us, the ancient bearded octogenarian passed us, and I think I saw Huck and Tom slip by on a homemade raft at one point, but I may have been delirious from bailing with one hand and paddling a leaden canoe with the other.
At the end of the race, you must lift your canoe over a telephone pole laid across the river, get back in, and paddle across the finish line. You are disqualified if you go under the log. Exhausted after two and a half hours of struggle, we somehow got our soggy canoe over the log to finish.
We did not win.
After we hauled the canoe out, I got a good look at the damage.
Ouch.
This canoe was a wedding present from my folks so you can bet I'm fixing it.
Santa brought me a fiberglass repair kit for Christmas.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
PS: Pablo and ThreeCollie commented before the lucid prose above was added. All they saw were photos.
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12 comments:

pablo said...

Another quiz! Okay, here's my answer: Your daughter took the canoe out and hit a deer.

threecollie said...

Pablo's is good!
Did your canoe eat a straw hat?

Floridacracker said...

Pablo and ThreeCollie,
You guys are early. I've added text now. Pablo wasn't too far off.

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow, I cracked up when I saw pablo's comment!
That's quite a race...I would love to participate in races like that, but there aren't too many of them. Good luck with the repair.

pablo said...

Are you sure it wasn't Huck and Jim that passed you?

swamp4me said...

Ah, the joys of canoe repair -- we know them well. Have fun!

I was impressed to hear that you did manage to get over the pole there at the end.

robin andrea said...

That's quite a canoe-race story. I love that you take the kids on these trips, and that they are fundraisers. So, once the repair is complete, who goes to the next race with you?

vicki said...

This sounds like one of those really fun events that's more fun when you remember it later than at the moment. I was happy to see your canoe, though. One of the misc. items that showed up last week with the final load of moved possessions was our tacky plastic kayak. I can barely wait to get it out int the bayou next week. Right now, I've experiencing a slight wind chill issue...

Bobby said...

Hello, I followed links and landed on your page. Sorry about your canoe. Glad you finished your race though - that's what counts, right?

Deb said...

Ouch! Usually when I'm in a boat and hit rocks that hard, it's in a work boat and we just come away with some dents in the metal and some dings in the prop.

That canoe race sounds like a lot of fun though!

Floridacracker said...

HTeen,
It's a workout for 2-3 hours with no hope of quitting between the start and the finish. It's wild Florida.

Pablo,
No, I remember it distinctly, it was Tom.

Swampy,
It was sort of a Fosbury Flop.

Robin,
I'm thinking of Jr. because since he last went he's grown and is actually sporting some biceps for a change. I may not have to work so hard.

Vicki,
Enjoy, but remember we have tidal currents down here. Be careful and plan your voyage accordingly. You are gonna have so much fun sportin' around in a tackyak :)


Bobby,
Welcome to Pure Florida! Glad you stopped in and commented, and yes, finishing is what counts in this race!

Deb,
It's a blast after it's over, and you've eaten, gotten your T-shirt, patched your canoe, and bandaged the limerock abrasions on your legs.
Oh and sometimes there are mosquitoes. The gators and snakes lay low due to the commotion, so they are not a problem.

Laura said...

well, I suppose it's a good thing you didn't have to swim to the finish line! sounds like a fun day anyway, except for the canoe..and your tired muscles!