"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Team POW/MIA Adventure Pt. 2

Day 2 (8/29/2010) of our training weekend was very different from day one.  We arrived early at the Bird's Nest Lodge.  This place is owned by Jason, a friend of Mark's.  He had told Mark that we could come down and paddle at no cost which was very much appreciated.  He wasn't there when we arrived so we grabbed some breakfast from the buffet while we waited.  It wasn't too long before he showed up and we talked for a while about the race and what we were doing.  He also told us that the canoes were ready so whenever we were someone would take us up the river.
Ryan showed up right on time and we talked about how the previous day had gone.  He was sorry he couldn't make it the previous day but sometimes more important things come along.
Megan and Ryan enjoying the day on the river
Now that the team was all together we hopped on the short bus and were taken up river.  We were dropped off 8miles from the Bird's Nest.  I haven't had much experience in canoes so I wasn't sure what to expect out on the Meramec.  I was in the front with Mark in the back, and Megan was in the front with Ryan in the back of their canoe.  We arranged ourselves this way for better weight distribution.  We might want to rethink this for the race because Mark and I were much faster so we ended up getting far ahead and waiting for Ryan and Megan to catch up.  This allowed Mark and me to rest, but Ryan and Megan weren't so lucky because when they got close we would take off again starting the cycle over again.  In the end that's why we were out there, to find out what works and what doesn't, and that arrangement definitely did not work.
Mark in his best "River Guide" pose
Mark has the most paddling experience out of all of us having grown up on the river.  I probably have the least.  He was showing me a little bit how to read the river (stuff I had never thought about before), and I was trying to remember as much as I could.  When we came to a tricky section I would choose the route I thought was correct and see if it matched up with what he thought, most of the time it did.  How the river can change based on water level is very interesting.  Most of the paddling I have done has been in lakes or major rivers like the Mississippi where the water level doesn't change much.  So just because you've been down the Meramec before doesn't mean you know the river.
Cave and spring 
We stopped for a while at a cave with a spring bubbling up out of the ground in front of it.  The cave didn't go back very far but it was still pretty cool.  The water coming out of the spring was very cold and refreshing.  Had our legs been sore from the previous day's ride the cold water would have relieved the soreness (nature's ice bath).  Some other paddlers showed up at the cave reminding us that we weren't there for sight seeing.  This was a training day.
We climbed back in the canoes and headed back down the river.  This would have been a good time for Megan and I to switch but we didn't (hindsight).  We paddled and paddled and eventually we made it back to Bird's Nest.  We hauled all of our borrowed gear up the shore and put it away to show our appreciation to Jason for supporting us in the race and training.  He also offered to be an alternate on the team if one of us would get injured before the race.
The take out at Bird's Nest
All in all I still like kayaking more.  Canoeing is a necessary evil though so it would behoove me to get better.  Does this mean I am going to buy a canoe?  I don't know, maybe.
The Berryman 36hour is fast approaching, I hope we will be if not ready at least prepared.  It turned out to be a great weekend of training and we all learned things that we wouldn't have otherwise.
Wish us luck we are going to need all the help we can get.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice of Jason to help you out like that...and to volunteer to step in if needed. Looks like you guys are going to be as prepared as possible for a race of that undertaking. Good luck...can't wait to hear about Berryman afterwards.

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