Being married to a Maine guide who loves to do canoe trips, our friend Betty was quite competent in her own right. One summer she put together a girls’ trip on the St. Croix, a two nighter. All we had to bring was our own gear and we split up the meal duties. We were joined by Betty’s niece, Annette, who also brought her fishing pole.
Linda and I shared a tent, and even though I DON’T snore, she discovered that I do. We were also paired up in the same canoe, me in the front, and she in the back. This was feeling familiar, as we struggled with the meaning of “Left!” “No, the OTHER left” and so on as we tried to dodge rocks and other river hazards.
We spent a lot of time hauling our canoe over gravel bars, being that the water was at October levels, even though this was July. What an arm workout we got! We had a hard time keeping up with Betty as she and Annette outpaddled us hour after hour. We would think we were just getting ready to catch up, get stuck on another gravel bar, and they would disappear around the next bend in the river.
On our last morning after packing up our gear, we lined up facing the river, and did our Tai Chi form before hopping into our canoes. Linda and I were a bit humbled that we’d been doing this form for a couple years, yet here’s Betty and Annette keeping right up with us and following along as if they’d been practicing it too!
Sleeping out, canoeing with friends, meals shared over a campfire, and the conversation, sometime serious, sometime hilarious, all form a bond that is unlike any other. Since then, we talked many times about doing the Allagash. A repeat trip for the experienced Betty, but on the bucket list for Linda and I. How many times did we say, “We’ll do it for sure next year, gals!”??
For Linda, it matters no more, and for me, it’s still on my bucket list. Maybe next year.