I almost forgot to write about the canoe trip we took this weekend. How silly of me.
Our Boy Scout Troop does an annual trip up to Fryeburg Maine to help the local river and watershed conservationists clean up the river.
We get to camp for free, which is nice, and the woman who runs the campground is quickly becoming a fan of our troop. In years past we have had upwards to 40 people... this year the team was smaller due to fall sports and the school year starting, and the threat of bad weather, which always causes people to bail on trips.
In the past we've done it in June, but twice it was canceled due to high and dangerous water... like this past June where we ended up camping but hiked instead of canoed and I got my ass handed to me by a 2000 ft high climb. If readers do not remember that story is here. So doing it in early September after a long dry spell meant there was low water, no real dangerous currents, and an easy go of things.
Because Geoff is not playing on the Varsity football team (he has come to terms with playing with the Freshmen and calls himself a Freshmore) he was free to go away for the weekend. Much to his joy. This is his favorite trip. He loves canoeing the Saco, and we should do it more often with him.
The troop left on Friday night, and Doug and I joined them in the morning on Saturday. The forecast was for morning showers, and those came and went before 7am while we were driving north. By the time we got there it was 68 degrees, sunny, crisp, beautiful...
We headed out with 8 canoes and one kayak, and had a blast. The water level was REALLY low, so at some points we were scraping bottom.
One of our scoutmasters got out of his canoe and walked down the river, scooping up beer cans embedded in the sand.
We found a whole bunch of treasure. Enough shoes to fill a giant box, lots of towels and clothing, and a billion beer cans.
The boys had a blast and a half, and Geoff got to do his favorite trip. He's pictured here with our good buddy Thane hamming it up on the seating in the river
The entire rowing/floating/going down the current trip was just under 9 miles. The last 2 or so miles of it we were actively rowing hard to get to the landing in time to meet the outfitter who was picking us up.
We spent a little too much time at the start of the trip picking up one or two little things.
When we made it about six or so miles down, maybe a little more, we ran into things called "strainers" which are trees in the water that catch all kinds of debris. Here is a picture of one of the sisters on the trip (one of the scoutmasters brought his scout and 2 of his daughters who are very outdoorsy and TONS of fun) at one of the strainers.
This one was particularly gnarly, and we did our best to clean. It was hard to get close enough, there were three canoes, and whoever was facing the mess got to clean it. The picture doesn't show all the trash that was above water level... We shook a lot out with our oars and sent some down river hoping it would was up somewhere easier to catch by humans. Seeing as there were so many people out cleaning that day.
I had a great time, and aside from the fact that my shoulder hurt like hell for two days, I want to do it again. Doug and I were a well oiled machine, knocking down the miles rowing like crazy... I think I could do a 10-15 mile trip with actual moderate to serious rowing (as long as I remember the Tylenol and we bring our air mattress instead of our self-inflating individual bed pads).
Here's my favorite picture of Geoff, taken through the wood smoke. He thought I was taking a picture of the fire, so he didn't get to make a stupid face of seriousness. He and Matt were talking and having a nice time, and I just happened to catch him looking like a normal 15 year old instead of a surly jerk the way he usually does for most pictures I take of him. I'm glad I got this shot... I love this kid.
All the photos from the weekend are here. If you would like to see them.