Remember those stories your grandparents used to tell you? You know, the ones that started off with "We traveled to school barefoot and uphill both ways"? Well one thing that often keeps me going on especially arduous hikes is the idea that, contrary to my grandparents' tales, what goes up, must come down. If the trek in is difficult and uphill, the trek out will be a breeze! (In actuality, I've found the trek downhill more difficult--my mind drifts to my journey's up and down Ha Ling in Canmore, AB--but that is besides the point...)
Last weekend during my French River canoe trip, I discovered just how, well, crazy any sort of belief that an difficult trip in = an easy trip out is. As my grandparents my say, a we paddled to our campsite, into the wind, both ways.
We set out from the Hartley Bay Marina around lunchtime on Friday noon. Although the day was gorgeous and we paddled under blue skies, we also found ourselves paddling into quite gusty wind that seemed almost determined to blow us off track. I must say, our diverse group of 20 experienced trippers and greenhorn paddlers impressed me beyond belief! We arrived at or campsite in great time (albeit, with sore shoulders!) Throughout the afternoon's paddling we through around ideas about 'sailing' back (actually creating a sail out of our tarps, bracing it with paddles and rafting our boats together).
On day two, we gave our sailing idea a try. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was having none of it. The winds we had experienced the day before had all but died (although the beautiful weather she gave us left us with no real complaints!)
Waking up on the morning of our departure was when I came to realize just how silly we were to think that there was any logic in predicting that the winds would be similar paddling in as they were paddling out. We awoke to the winds having changed and to find that we would, yet again, be paddling into the wind.
After we returned home, I answered the typical post-trip questions: How was the weather? Did you see any bears? Did anything go wrong? I found myself struggling to answer the last of these questions. We had an amazing trip and if I were to stretch myself to complain, it would have to have been about the lack of cooperating winds. I'll take that over the many alternatives!