Whats Going on in the Life of the Ward's
This Blog is my quarterly update's on what's happening in our life
This story is from one of my last trips to Alaska. One of the funnier things to do out at Pt. Agassiz where I grew up is go kayaking down the river. A few years ago around my sister’s Tabitha’s wedding I went for the first time. I got very wet as my trusty guide Tim Nelson thoroughly enjoyed himself throwing cold glacier water on me. My screams filled the air all the way down the river, much to the amusement of the experienced kayakers.
So, here I was about to tackle it once again. I had made up my mind beforehand that I was going to behave myself and not make a scene. I wanted to enjoy the tranquility of the experience. I asked my brother in-law Victor to be my guide this time. I knew he was not about to get me wet. With Tim now married and a baby on the way I figured his thoughts would be elsewhere then getting me wet.
As we got to the river everyone was getting into their modes of floating devices. There were twelve of us in all. I found myself once again in the rear seat of the Klepper a canoe/kayak made of rubber and canvas stretched over a wood frame. As I looked at this contraption I was thinking it did not look as seaworthy as I remembered it. There were spiders and old forest debris all over inside. It looked rather ummmm shall we say retired. I got in and much to my fears the canvas ripped a little. The rip was up higher and as Victor got in we assessed the damage. We decided it was up high enough that we would make it down the river without too much trouble. So away we went. It was a little bit uncomfortable as bolts were digging into my back. All in all I think I was enjoying myself. Victor handled her pretty well and I only ad to paddle from time to time. I was thinking I was happy to be where I was as I saw watched fellow river rafters Able and Sara Nelson float by. Able was blowing up his slowly deflating raft that he proudly told me he patched up with paper towels. Hmmmmm
Anyway, a little over half way down the river we found ourselves in a strong current. We ended up catching ourselves on a gravel bar in a shallow rapids in the middle of the river. We tried to wiggle our way off but it was not happening. I was screaming a little bit, but nowhere full force. I looked up to see my friend Steve, with a big smile on his face, float by. I started yelling at him not to laugh at me. Victor was about to be the gallant guide and disembark from our trusty Klepper to get us off. By my imagination got the better of me as I saw images of him pushing me off and there I go without him. So I begged “Victor don’t leave me.” My friend Mark Whitman came to the rescue. He had others hold his kayak in a lee as he got off on the gravel bar and pushed us off. Well, as he did that, the little rip got a little bigger. As Victor paddled, the water started slowly coming in the boat. I put my hand in the freezing glacier water to try and hold the rip closed. In a matter of a minute I could not feel my fingers as they turned to little nubs of ice, well maybe not little, but ice. I told Victor that I could not hold it anymore. He asked if I thought we could make it to the landing down river. I said I thought so but to roe for all he was worth. So away we went full speed leaving everyone in our wake.
Somewhere in all of this I found the whole situation very funny and unnerving. I lost it. I started laughing hard. The faster Vic paddled the more water came in the boat and we started sinking in the stern where I was seated. The more water came in the harder I laughed. I started yelling between shrieks of laughter “We’re sinking.” Victor kept saying it can’t be that bad because he didn’t see or feel any water around him. Well that’s because it was all around me. I could feel it slowly creeping up my body as I started to go numb. The higher the water got the harder I laughed. At one point Vic informed me that my laughter was waking his arms weak and could I please stop, for he was laughing by now too. Well that just sent me into higher pitched hysterics. We finally made it to the first landing. As Vic got out of the boat it totally flooded sending it to the bottom with me still in it. So there I sat with the Klepper under water and me up to my chest in water, still laughing. So now I’m thinking how the heck am I going to get out of this thing? I was stuck and soaked. My sister and Victor came over to help pull me out. They pulled this way and that way. I’m so weak from laughing and my clothes are wet and starting to come off. So I am yelling “My pants are falling off, my shirt is coming off!” Tabitha holds some of my clothes in place and I finally free myself from the submerged boat. I waddle up the bank, and try not to chafe too bad as we head our way to the road for a ride home. It took a long time to warm up and quit laughing. Ahhhh, another day in the life of Amy.
The Ward family adventures by Amy Ward