So…we decided to take a little break from the daily grind and head to the great outdoors! We found a place that rents canoes about 45 minutes from Nashville. Jill has had many experiences with canoeing (mostly in New Hampshire), but it was Kate’s first time canoeing on a river. We signed up for the 4 hour trip…packed lunches and were looking forward to some nice time in the sun…relaxing in nature
Upon arriving to literally this tiny “shack” that rents canoes, a seventeen year old “Zac Efron wanna-be” took our money and drove us in an old, beat up van with canoes attached, down to the drop site. Kate kept asking him for instruction/insight or any useful tools for canoeing. All he replied was “If you wanna go right, paddle left. If you wanna go left, paddle right.” (Imagine that being said in a really ‘Southern’ accent.) He put our canoe in the water, handed us the paddles and waved goodbye. Guess we were good to go…?
So, there we were floating down the river and all of a sudden these little rapids started popping up. Nothing major, but we would paddle pretty hard and the current still would pull our little canoe whichever way it wanted. We bumped into a tree once, which freaked out Kate to a severe degree, but we continued on our way. There were a lot of trees and debris in the river due to the floods awhile back and there were also areas of total calm water…very peaceful for the most part.
We stopped on a sand/rock bank and ate the lunch we had packed. The best decision all day was to a) bring the cooler and not just throw lunch in a plastic bag and b) to put our keys, wallets and cell phone in a zip-lock bag and put that inside the cooler.
So far so good…right? Keep reading…
When we had been out for about three and a half hours, we were approaching a curve in the river with a huge tree tipped over in the middle. We debated which way to pass and decided it would be best to go on the right…we started paddling hard, but alas, the current was too strong for us. It took us and slammed us into the tree, then scooped us sideways. We tried pushing off of the tree, but the current was too strong underneath us and our canoe flipped right over.
PAUSE: OUR CANOE FLIPPED OVER AND IN 0.5 SECONDS, JILL AND KATE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER. The current was SO strong that it sort of pinned us to the canoe and we watched out shoes, shirts and towels float away. Kate was hanging onto the boat for dear life and Jill was determined to get the cooler which was wedged under the boat. We needed our keys, wallets, and phone after all! We were both freaking out a decent amount, but Jill calmly kept wrestling to get the cooler out and Kate just kept saying that we were gonna be okay and that standing in the middle of the river really wasn’t so bad. Neither of us had planned on getting in the water because of the slight chance that a water snake would want to be friends…so not freaking out about being stuck in the water was huge people, HUGE.
After about ten minutes, Jill got the cooler unlodged (woop woop)…we both hung onto it and floated in the current to the shore. We looked helplessly at our canoe jammed into the tree in the middle of the river. Kate’s cell phone was damp, but working…but unfortunately, there was NO SERVICE. So there we were, no shoes, no shirts (thankfully we still had our swim suits) and not any type of service.
After about 5 more minutes another canoe came along with two brothers and their dog inside. They decided to go to the left of the tree. We were waving them down and they didn’t seem to be paying any attention to us. Jill got a little perturbed until all of a sudden she realized that they TOO were flipping over! Their dog was scrambling and getting sucked away with the current…one of the brothers grabbed him by the tail and saved him! We helped them get their canoe to the side–theirs luckily didn’t get stuck–and then they tried to help us get our canoe out. One of the brothers was able to get it unlodged a bit but then it just got stuck in a different spot even more!
The kind brothers Sheldon and Marshall took us in their canoe with their dog down the rest of the river to safety! We never thought we’d ever really have to play the damsel in distress card so much–but man…these two boys totally came to our rescue!
We don’t have any pictures of our canoe adventure because we didn’t want to use the cell phone for anything besides getting us to safety.
It was super scary, frightening and we probably wont be canoeing on a river anytime soon.
Be safe and stay away from canoes.