Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sue & Kate's inadvertent white water adventure

Hey people.  Still in TX visiting Kate & the kiddos.  They're now old enough to be left every once in a while, so it's super nice to get some sis time in on these trips that doesn't include a screaming child.  Last weekend we took off for her lake house for a little r&r.  Our first day there it was super nice (80's, sunny) so we decided to take her kayaks out. 

 She's got one exactly like mine, and another more rounded version that-- (I can now say confidently) does not track for shit.  Like all sit on tops-- (and lucky thing)-- it is, however, super stable and won't swamp (impossible) and would be pretty hard to tip over.

Their lake is massive-- a dammed river with tons of coves and bays rimmed with very arid rocky cliffs.  The sandstone-like rock runs right down into the water.  Since the whole thing is controlled/owned by the army corps of engineers, there are no docks, and no one can build right on the lake shore.

Sis doesn't get many nature breaks.  She digs it when she does.  Anyway, this is a pretty typical shot (below) of the shore.  This is how calm the lake was when we left.

Right when we got in the middle, where it's 110 feet deep, the winds picked up.  It gets SUPER windy here.  20 to 30 mph winds are considered "breezy" conditions.  Soon were were trying to plow our way through 2' rollers, and keeping the pig of a kayak I was in pointed one direction was no easy job.  By the time we finally reached the opposite shore.  It looked like this.

Katie smashed the hell out of her finger on the side of her boat fighting the waves, but couldn't check out the damage until we beached.  It was bloodier, but she rinsed it before I got the camera out-- so, unfortunately, no point sis.

Since we made it all the way across, we decided to check out this side and look for the mouth of a river that supposedly feeds in over here.  We went into a couple of bays.  It got progressively windier and wavier.  We passed a couple of drowned forests/sunken islands but couldn't get too close because of the waves.  The last cove we entered, we basically surfed the kayaks into on waves.  I thought, "Man, it's going to be fun trying to paddle out into these."  (Yep.)

By the time we found what we think is the river, it was basically a thick sunken forest we had no hope of navigating.  We'd have been torn to shreds on all the dead trees poking out of the water.   We decided to make for a nearby island and take a rest.  Just then the winds got completely crazy.  Waves were breaking over the bow and spraying all over me so I couldn't even see.  I put my head down and just kept pulling, but it was so ridiculous I was cursing, laughing, and making these loud Venus Williams grunting sounds the entire time.

When we finally reached shore we shared an apple (thank God we had that) and drank some water.  We were pretty fried, and still had to get out of the two bays and back across the huge lake.  (The beach was made of the weird lentil shaped rock discs)  ~Weird~.

This was the hardest continuous paddle I've ever done.  I've had some tough pulls with Pam, but this was so relentless.  There was no resting once you began paddling--- it was paddle for your life!  At one point a shoulder height wave broke over the side and completely soaked me.  I'm sure an open kayak would have swamped or tipped.  It was a total struggle the whole way, and with all the spray from waves breaking over the front I couldn't see half the time.

When we were in the middle there were lots of big boats and jet skis, and I could hear boats nearby sometimes and normally this would concern me.  By this time I was so wiped, I just kept my head down and kept going and thought, "Go ahead and hit me."

By the time we made it back we were both dead.  I was glad I was with Kate and not someone I had to worry about IF they could make it or not, or if they'd tip their kayak or whatever.  I knew we could both make it, eventually.  When I got in the house (we had to rest a while before climbing up the huge craggy bluff to Kate's house--- yes, the same one we also had to haul the kayaks back up-- ugh)-- I had sand crusted under my eyes, and was totally sunburned.

A fun, even if grueling day, and the sunburn was my own fault.  Really, big adventures like this where you feel like you barely made it usually turn out to make the best stories, and be the most fun memories.  (Although she wants to take the kayaks out tomorrow or the next day, in the ocean, and it's even windier now.  Might pass.  Heh heh.)


irishk said...

That sounds really frightening, yet I am sure it was also exhilarating! I am glad you are both safe, it could have been a dreadful outcome if one of you were less experienced...or wimpy:-) Think of the pipes you are building! It does look gorgeous and you are right, it will be a great story forever:-) I miss you here, but am so glad you are getting this time with Katie. Really cool blue beach glass! Nice pedicure:-)

Linda G. said...

I am in awe of your physical abilities, and the way you constantly challenge yourself. You rock!

Linda Thiltgen said...

awesome adventure. must applaud you for your gutsiness!! ~claps hands. :D

Linda Thiltgen said...

oh, and GREAT pics! Enjoy the rest of your time together. Don't bother coming back here until Spring actually appears. Not sure when that will be. :/

pseudosu said...

Yes- exhilarating! And believe it or not, that's what their little shells look like when wet, bright purple. Very pretty. :)

Linda G & T-
Thanks gals. Yes, we felt all adventurey!

Linda T-
The mountain bike trail opened while I've been away, but I guess I haven't missed anything from the sound of it. : /

Maery Rose said...

Photos are misleading. All I see is gorgeous! Reminds me of when my cousin and I were little kids and we took a rubber raft into a bay. We tried jumping out and swimming and pulling the thing after paddling was taking us nowhere. Finally ended up going to shore and walking home carrying the dang thing over our heads.