Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camping and Canoe Trip

Have you ever been outside at night where sources of light are scarce, and looked up at the sky?  What a vast profusion of stars can be seen on a clear night!  It is completely amazing! 

This past Friday night several of us from my Sunday school class drove from Prattville, Alabama to Milton, Florida for a night of camping and then canoeing on Saturday.  We arrived at the State park after dark, setting up our tents by flashlight (I was glad the one I borrowed from my co-worker was a pop-up tent!).  Tall pines towered above us and between the pines you could see the night sky.  It seemed to me that every space available in the sky was covered with stars!  I couldn't stop looking, putting myself in danger of a serious crick in my neck. 

Me in tent, Travis in background

We went to bed, but I couldn't sleep.  Whether it was the excitement of the coming day or sleeping on the ground, I don't know. But around one in the morning I woke from a light sleep feeling that I couldn't breathe.  I noticed a lot of condensation on the roof and walls of my tent (hold your comments about me being full of hot air, I already knew that!).  I unzipped my tent flap and moved my head close to the opening, listening to the songs of the crickets and frogs, and once again couldn't take my eyes off the stars.  As I was praising God and remembering King David's words in Psalm 19:1-3 ("The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."), I was rewarded by seeing a star streak across the sky, vanishing in an instant.  I wish I had the proper camera equipment to have captured that night sky!

Travis, me and Amy, getting ready to paddle!

Saturday morning we awoke to a beautiful day!  The sun was up before 6 in the morning, and so was I.  I was ready to get the day started.    We arrived at Black Water Canoe Rental early -- we were scheduled to be on the river at 9:00.  We didn't want to miss our slot and have to wait until 10:00!  We drove to the site where we were to be picked up, then loaded onto the back of a pickup truck that was outfitted with bench seats down the sides and front, and rails that reminded me of cattle truck rails along the sides.  Off we went to the river! 

Once at the river, we loaded our canoes down with our supplies for the day, donned our life jackets (I can't swim!), and climbed in.  I was with Amy, and we had one other canoe which was manned by our Sunday school teacher and one of the guys from our class, who happens to be blind.  Amy and I promised each other we would do our best not to tip our canoe.  I was most insistent, since I wanted to go back to work and brag to my co-worker that we didn't tip, which he had previously assured me we would -- we didn't! 

Rope swing hanging over the river.

The Black Water River is one of only a few sandy bottomed rivers in the United States.  As the river winds through the forest, you see many sandy white beaches in the bends of the river just inviting you to stop and rest for a while, which we did several times.  It was wonderful to sit down in the river and let the water flow over me.  Of course you have to wave and talk to all the other canoers and kayakers.  One beach we stopped at had a rope swing hanging over a probably 3 - 4 foot deep area. It was fun to sit in the river and watch adventurous guys show off for their girlfriends by swinging out over the river and plunging in! 

Travis, Amy and Bro. Joe

Towards the end of our canoe trip we started getting into some heavy traffic (canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and swimmers).  Amy likened it to driving down Interstate 65 near Montgomery, Alabama.  I told her it was a good thing we had practiced all morning weaving in and out of fallen trees, trying to avoid getting hung up on snags (which we did once) so we could get around all the people in inner tubes and swimming!  It was fun though, seeing how well we could maneuver and not run over anyone!  A couple of little guys swimming looked up and said, "hey, look how fast those girls are going!"  Two things I was tickled by -- they called us "girls" and they thought we were going fast!  Good thing there's no speed limit on the Black Water...

If you ever get a chance to canoe, kayak or inner tube on the Black Water River, I would highly recommend it.  I personally want to go again!

Psalm 118:25
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

NOTE:  Even though the photos are date stamped April 2010, they were actually taken July 2011.  I used my old camera and did not realize the date stamp was on and incorrect.

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