Caroline, a kayaking pal of mine, and I decided we needed a little adventure on the river. It was a beautiful morning as we carried our kayaks down to the river's edge, and it was very quiet... not one boat in sight.
The Withlacoochee has many side waterways to explore and so we slip off to the right and paddle though a narrow path that opens up into a small tributary. We then paddle to the left for a short time before we happened upon a jam in this little rivulet made of small branches, hydrilla, duckweed and other debris. As I peer over my boat, I can see that it opens back up just past the jam. So we ponder a moment and decide to give it a try and push through the jam.
With much struggling and man-handling our boats, we manage to get through most of the jam. Just about a half boat length left.....and we will be liberated!! I push forward and hit something in this weed patch that just won't budge, but I am determined to get through… I really don't want to turn back around!! So again I push forward with all I've got! Still no budge. And now I am stuck on top of what ever it is... under my boat. Suddenly I begin to see little creatures crawling out from under my boat. I take a closer look…
"Oh.... #@%@^#!" I say out loud... Caroline says, "What? What?!" "I JUST HIT A GATOR NEST!!" Caroline says, "Oh....#&^@%@!"
In this impossible veggie soup, we are madly trying to turn our boats around. Paddles flying everywhere! The baby gators are grunting and crying for mama... causing a commotion of their own. I am pushing with my paddle hard against the weeds and dredge up all kinds of nasty smelling, fermented debris.... that is now attached to my paddle.... And as I pull my paddle up, this fowl concoction lands directly on my head. I brush it off quickly along with several unidentifiable critters attached to the vegetation.
"Just keep moving!" I tell myself. "Don't think about what's crawling on you... or the smell." - Yuck! the smell - "Not now....LATER....just keep paddling!"
Once we were out of the fine mess we got ourselves into.... and cleaned up.... without a spoken word, we decided.... that was enough adventure for one day!
Written by: Carla Bak - Hernando, FL
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