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Bill and the family
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Friday, 24-Jun-2005 00:00
The Sierra Club Float pics
When I wrote the post on the blog about the fact that we would do this, I purposely didn't say when because there were those that were harassing us again, hiding in the woods, watching our place, breaking in the trailer, messing with the computer, tampering with the truck, etc. I wasn't about to advertise the fact that we would all be gone all day long on this float trip. But we did it anyway. They don't control our lives! We have fun anyway from time to time and when we need a break from the stress of it all.

I guess calling it an "official Sierra Club float trip" is actually a bit more than it really turned out to be. The local Sierra Club head out of Little Rock, Bill, came and was supposed to bring someone, but that didn't happen for whatever reason, so it was just our family and him. He camped out on our riverbank in the area cleared for camp-outs. It's pretty nice, actually, complete with tent, picnic table, fire pit with folding grill and ready-to-use firewood, hammock, and comfy chairs, etc. Pretty nice, actually. Nice and level and on nice soft grass, which we freshly mowed and raked up to save for the chickens' bedding and nesting material (some of it we used, though - they LOVE that, all the bugs and seeds and all), so he had it pretty good.

Anyway, he came in that Friday night eight after I wrote about this happening, and we left out the next morning for Oden, but only made it to Shirley Creek because Laura's Mom's canoe sprang a bad leak, ad they started sinking. They are both quite old canoes they bought cheap from a canoe rental place and had been freshly patched this year, probably fr the last time. :( We certainly have gotten our money out of them (ours was only $75 for a 15-footer, and hers was only $90 for a 17-footer!), but we need new ones badly! Hers didn't take the dragging over the rocks that ours did, as it was patched with a different type of material and had more weight in it than ours did. Even Laura's 82-year-old grandmother went! And we didn't let a couple of thunderstorms ruin our float, either. But then, of course, once you are on that river, there isn't much choice but to keep pressing on. You just shelter under a tree when it rains and wait it out, then move on. Not too bad, and you get cooled off nicely. We are good sports about that kind of thing, anyway. The thunder and lightning was worrisome to some of the party but it was a ways off, so Laura and I weren't too worried but it. Though, just to be safe, we didn't touch the metal parts of the canoes, which are made of fiberglass - the best type of canoe to use on this particular river because of the rapids and rocks. Besides, they are light when you have to drag them, too! :)

Anyway, we had a wonderful time and picked out two bags of trash out of the river, quite a few feet of trot lines and throw lines, Styrofoam, Wal-Mart bags, and other assorted things dangerous to wildlife and just ugly and that didn't belong there. Some people are worse than tacky. I hope there is a special place for them at the end of their lives whereby they spend a L-O-N-G time picking up trash from the environment! I do have to say that the person who left the Tyson chicken livers container next to his throw lines that we picked up ended up doing us a favor, as Laura's grandmother used it to bail out the water to keep Laura's mother's canoe from sinking as we frantically paddled for Shirley Creek. Boy, were we sore when we got there! Instead of leisurely paddling and taking our time, enjoying the river and the float, all of a sudden it became a race for the pull-out place as we watched her canoe sink lower an lower in the water!

Anyway, since the truck was parked under the Oden bridge about 4 miles away, Laura decided to hitch, figuring that she would get picked up faster than anyone else. I offered to join her, but she said that no one would ever pick us up if they saw me with her. She was probably right. I look a bit rough anyway but after a day spent on the river, we all did and especially me. LOL She shook out her long hair to look a bit more feminine (it was in braids and under a Boonie hat) and started walking. It wasn't the first time she has had to do this, and she knew the ropes well. Well, her mother decided to join her, never having hitched a ride in her life and looking on it as a big adventure. They picked a few ripe blackberries for nourishment along the way on the back road out to the highway, and it wasn't long before someone stopped (maybe 10 minutes; they said it was only the 3rd car) - a very nice college student from Mena headed for school.

All in all, it was a fun trip - storms, leaks, hitching, and all. We are good sports, and nothing stops the River Rats! (And yes, that is actually painted in our canoe, complete with a pic of a rat someone drew, when they bought it, even though Laura's family was calling themselves that already when they moved up here and lived in tents that first summer. Was that canoe meant for them or what?) LOL

(Oh, and btw, when Laura shows her mother the proper way to scan and send pics by email so that we can get them a little bigger, we will replace these with better ones. Her mother is, shall we say, technologically-challenged. ;-) )

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