I just returned from a painfully challenging canoeing / camping trip in the North woods. Before leaving my dry warm bed, I was somewhat concerned as to my ability to scrunch into a paddling position in the bow of a boat, clamber back out of it after the daily paddles, and somehow survive living in new locations every night in a small tent. Well, I've spent the last week TRYING to dry out, get all of my bugbites, blisters, and a myriad of cuts and scratches healed, and most importantly for me, find a new perspective. Although I had the proper gear (well, most of it), I discovered that heavy rain 24/7 for almost the entire nine days didn't exactly produce a happy camper.
I think I ended up being wet in places I didn't even know I had! The reality is, I learned a lot about myself as well as some other people. I remember an extra neat leady I met about 30 years ago, who taught me that I don't have a right to complain about a situation, unless I can and will be a part of the solution to fix it!
Admittedly, this was the first attempt at canoeing since I became bionic. I found that climbing into the canoe was fine, but I had to somehow figure a way to maneuver my lower body to sit down on a wet seat in pouring rain with two steel hips, a metal plate in my ankle, and the bonus of arthritis lurking throughout my body. I quickly found there was no graceful way to do this, so usually just let go and "gracefully" plopped into position. The REAL challenge was to find a way to get OUT of the canoe after a few hours of paddling. In spite of neat helpers, it seemed I almost needed a crane to lift me back to land. Of course it definitely didn't help that I had to climb into the water and onto large rocks wetly frosted in wet moss, lichen, and algae!
Setting up wet equipment every night, crawling into a low, wet tent and into a wet sleeping bag - these things just continued to add to the joyful experience! Ohh-forgot to mention the boulders and roots (logs) that mysteriously ALWAYS appeared under the tent making sleeping truly delightful. The most important thing I learned is that I can, and did do it. However, I really wouldn't choose to do it again. Obviously there was nothing I could do about the weather, improper equipment (from the adventure company), or the guide I really didn't care for (who was very condescending)!
However, since I am supposed to work for that company in Yellowstone in August for another canoe trip, I talked to the company and explained that my physical condition would make this trip not possible. I already had those flights reserved, so I shifted gears-I AM going to Yellowstone, but will be doing it as one of my famous road trips. With two kinds of cameras in hand (digital SLR and a 35mm), dry clothes, a warm (DRY) bed at night, and far less stress on my osteoarthritis and stainless steel body-I can truly enjoy the Grand Tetons and Old Faithful again!