Thursday, December 4, 2014

Canoe Trip

Now, let me just begin by saying this: Simon and I are not campers. Or hikers. Or hard core out-doorsie people. So going on a canoe trip of any length is broadening our horizons a bit. But plop us down for a 23 mile one, and oh yeah, we are sleeping in a tree house for a night; You just never know what might happen.

Along with the fun day at Biltmore House, Simon's parents planned out an awesome 2 day canoe trip. (Actually, up until a few days before, we all thought it was kayaking, but I digress).  13 miles on day one, 9 miles on day two, and an overnight tree house adventure in between. :) 

Group pic before.  Look how clean we look...

I like a good picnic as much as the next girl, and I like to get out there and experience nature. But I was definity a little nervous about what might unfold on such a long commitment. 

Despite any wariness I had about the unknown, I'd say we all had an exhaustingly fun time.  
Preparing took nearly a whole day. Although there would be lodging, we had to provide almost everything we would need for the trip. Food, water, toilet paper, linens, etc. And it all had to be canoe friendly.  (AKA it could survive a capsize). 

We packed coolers, trash bags, and ziplock bags full of our necessities. And some unnecessities that were much appreciated by all... Like soap and wet wipes.  Plus we each packed a backpack.  Honestly, the water for 2 days was the most challenging part. Packing enough as well as keeping it cold. 
Simon had the great idea of freezing the day 2 water and having it act as ice packs for the perishables. Then it was still nice and chilled for the second leg of our trip. Genius! 
Our trip was from a Sunday morning until a Monday afternoon (holiday/long weekend). 

Early Sunday morning we loaded the car and drove to the welcome center/starting point. We didn't have a guide, but we did have an instructor who gave us the skinny on what to do and not to do, as well as pointers on finding our tree house, etc before we set off. 
Once we has been instructed on procedure, and warned of snakes and gators (not kidding) we were on our own. There was one other little family in the info session; they were also spending the night in a tree house that evening. We passed each other back and forth over the trip, but it was mainly just us canoeing by ourselves.
We had two canoes between the four of us. One for me and Simon, and one for Martin and Irene. :) aren't we cute. 

Martin and Irene pushing off from our starting point

13 miles is a lot y'all. 

There were "mile markers" along the way. Or so we were told. We probably saw 6 the first day, maybe. And I think 2 or 3 the next day. In the beginning we thought we had gone so far and when we finally saw a mile marker, we hadn't even gone 4 miles yet. Pfew. We were working hard. 

Us on the river

We stopped for lunch along the bank. 

We were sweaty, tired, and so over the hot sun when our tree house came into view. 

Canoes safely docked

There was definitely a feeling of accomplishment in knowing we had come so far.  After parking the canoes, and an ungrateful dismount we surveyed our home base. It was a bit larger and cleaner than I had imagined. There was a ground level picnic area with a gas grill, and upstairs was the cabin. It consisted of a large living space and small kitchen. Then, a ladder led up to a loft with a giant pallet floor. 

 There was another couch mirroring this one on the other side of the cabin.  

 The little cook top was great for breakfast and for washing dishes the next morning

The walls were full of screened windows so the small cabin was flooded with the sunshine. Between our battery operated fans (feel free to tease) and our lanterns, we were prepared for the evening. 

A creek pool at the front of our camp site allowed us to wash up. Clean hands and face, and a fresh set of clothes really does wonders for four weary travelers. Our spirits were instantly lifted when we all congregated in the picnic area to get dinner started.

Thank The Lord for propane. 
Chicken breasts, baked potatoes, corn on the cob.  Ahhhhh
You could feel the collective deep sigh as we all took the first bites. 

And, you can't camp without s'mores! So naturally, that was our dessert. Martin and Irene had never tried a s'more so we felt it was our responsibility to amend the unjustice!  :)
They were a hit! 

First bites haha.  Messy as promised!

The lanterns allowed us a few extra hours after the sun set to play some games and plan our tomorrow. 
We all agreed that a good night's rest was needed, but an early start would make the whole day smoother. So early to bed, early to rise. 

We had the cabin packed up and cleaned out at dawn and we were pushing off from the bay with the mist of the morning still filling the air. 
Farewell treehosue cabin

 Packing up in the morning

Off they go again!

We all had a few hiccups along the way, but Martin and Irene had some unfortunate luck, on a couple of occasions, and got a little tangled up in some branches here and there.  In the background of this picture you can see them having a battle with some tree branches.  I had to add this in there :) heehee  And also, my handsome husband as we began day two.  

The first few miles, serene and fresh, allowed us to take in the beauty of the perfect morning. A completely different world than the humid, stickiness of the previous day. The morning brought with it a wild calm that saturated the waters and the foliage as we glided by. You almost felt as though the slicing of our oars through the waters would somehow lift the magic, but it went on like this for several miles.

 My camera lens was fogging around the edges because of the morning moisture in the air.  

With the rising of the sun,- came the sticky air and the need for sunscreen.  Day two was only 9 miles (our treehouse was nearly a mile further than the other tree houses so our first day had been closer to 14 miles) we decided not to even stop for a snack or lunch, but rather to just take turns having a quick granola bar. The idea of reaching the end faster, and being back into town at a reasonable hour was very motivating.   

I think the relief was almost tangible as we saw the docking area come into view.  

I meant to take an "after" picture of us all, but I think we were all so gross and tired, that no one even thought about taking a picture in our state.  

But, picture or no picture, we made it! 


  1. You really did a great job in describing it! In hindsight it was nice and it was fun to spend that time with you, but I confess that I will never ever do that much canoeing again!

  2. This looks so amazing, tiring,but so much fun! Did you see any snakes or alligators?! That would have freaked me out.