Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 Day 9 Rest

Although Day 10 is designated as an official day of rest for both races, Jim talked me into taking mine on Day 9.  Actually he lured me with a canoe trip on the Susquehanna River as bait.

Jim is coaching Sabrina and DJ toward their rookie entry in the Adirondack Canoe Classic, a 90 mile 3-day staged race.  Jim has run it 13 times and won it 3 so we figure he is the local expert.  DJ invited us to come along with some friends of theirs for a nice day trip from Owego, 12 miles downriver to Nichols, NY.  Since the forecast was for relative coolness, (80's) and sunshine I gladly accepted. 

We rendevoused at Hickory Park in Owego about 10:30 but, as most group trips go, didn't get on the water for another 0.75 inches of a sock on size 0 needles.

The day was glorious --- sunshine, a few high clouds, a good breeze and folks in a congenial mood.

This river is not very deep this time of year in the Southern Tier so, fortunately, we had rain (well really a deluge for several hours) a couple of days ago.  The rain made the water a bit murky but deepened it enough that we only had to walk the boats twice over slippery green algae coated rock gardens that are often situated all the way across the expanse of the river as it lowers itself foot by foot on its way to Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake.

Jim and I paddled so well together we were often out ahead of the pack.  Leaving Basel home was a good idea for 2 reasons, the sunshine and the fact that he likes to move his whole body from side to side as he looks at the scenery.  Since I am in the bow, a 90 pound dog plomping himself on one side of the boat or the other without my knowing it makes for some tetchy moments while we find our balance again. 

Our party was made up of 10 people, two in solo kayaks and the rest of us in tandem canoes.
Being out in the sun without the intense heat and humidity of the last week was a distinct pleasure, although after almost 4 hours this north easterner had had enough sunshine for a day or two at least.

There is a huge Great Blue Heron rookery starting about 6 miles west of Owego.  Herons flying.  Herons wading.  Herons fishing for miles.

There were also more damselflies than I had ever seen on one waterway.  Hundreds of iridescent blue insects skimming over the surface of the water, feasting and mating.
I gave these guys big thanks for making sure our picnic lunch was bug free.

Why I thought we would be back by mid afternoon is a mystery. We finally did get home about 8, after a spirited social dinner at a local diner. Then I checked my email, caught up on Ravelry and tried to spin, really I did, but kept falling asleep.

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