Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No turning back.

You're on a first-name basis with reality chum, but to me he's "Mr. Reality" and that just doesn't cut it when the chips are yelling.
-The Tick

Okay, so the choices were either a) Sane: walk home to dry clothes, yummy food, and a loving family or b) Not sane: continue into the flooded unknown in my flimsy toy raft. Obviously there was no choice. A few minutes later I was back in the water with wet pants and a big smile.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love Spring Creek. It epitimizes my concept of Borderlands. You never know what you see here. One weekend it'll be nature in all her glory, another time it'll be a bunch of Mad-Max wannbes in souped-up mud runners. There's a large beach halfway between I-45 and Riley-Fuzzel that is somewhat accessible to 4-wheel drive trucks and is a big party spot. Usually the party involves burning a car, boat, or assorted appliances and/or computers. This weekend was no different. A number of tents and trucks came into view as I floated past this beach. A large bonfire was still smoldering and around it were placed several large, comfortable looking sofas. No one was visible but it was a only a little past 8am. The lack of life wasn't suprising judging from the piles of empty beer cans. I was really wishing I had brought a few mortars with me but past experience has taught me hungover people respond poorly to unexpected fireworks.

It would have been really funny though. I can just imagine them waking up to BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!! But a vinyl raft really isn't a viable escape vehicle. Note to self: next time bring some delayed-action timers...

I was having fun. Nothing (uh, except my loving wife and wonderful daughter) can match a day of solitude on a river. The only thing of concern was alligators. Every so often I saw a slick, bare patch on the bank. They could just be game trails, paths worn by numerous deer taking the easiest path to water. I couldn't actually make out any deer prints in these bare areas but they may have been washed away be the heavy rains.

Yep, I told myself that over and over.

I had been in Kon Texi for about three hours at this point. One of the two floor air chambers had deflated along with the right side support tube but she was still floating proud as her namesake. I was feeling comfortable and confident. So, of course that is when the water next to me exploded with thrashing and a deep grunting noise!

CRAP!!CRAP!!CRAP!!Cra...oh. I had suprized a medium sized pig. It charged up the bank and disappeared into the brush.

Sure, I was shaking from the adrenalin flooding my body but THAT WAS SO COOL!!! Nothing spices up a life like a bullet missing... Or in this case a pig running away rather than an alligator charging. :-)

It wasn't the last one. Rounding a bend twenty minutes later I came across four more pigs rooting along the shore. They took off as soon as they saw me so the picture isn't very good.

This trip was turning out even better than I had hoped. According to the gps unit I'd gone seven miles and had almost seven more to go. I hadn't ripped Kon Texi open on some submerged hazard. Nothing had attacked me (not even any mosquitoes!). I had had a few pre-cramp twinges in my legs, but they hadn't blossomed into the full-fledged muscle-tearing cramps I had been fearing. The skin on my legs was looking a bit less pale white, but I had put a layer of 30+ sunscreen early on and wasn't worried about sunburn. Turns out I should have had more concerns there. Oh well.

Okay, roll the beautiful bean footage:

Ready to launch
ready

Morning Mist
MorningMist

Party!
party

Wrecks
wrecks

Miles to go
KonTexi

Manly Man of Adventure!
whatscoming

Dam!
dam

Pretty1
SpringCreek1

Pretty2
SpringCreek2

Pigs
pigs

Me close to the end
me

Burned
burned

I had launched at 8am and at 1:10pm I reached the end of my journey, the canoe landing at Jesse H. Jones Park. I startled a young family fishing there as I coasted up to the shore. Apparently the four-foot tall sign saying CANOE LANDING didn't suggest to them filling the water with fishing lines in this spot was a bad idea. They just stood there staring dumbly as I wrestled Kon Texi out of the water and up muddy hill. Some people should stick to Nintendo.

I called Misseswether to let her know I was safe then began deflating the raft. Other than the one floor chamber and the support tube she had come through intact. I'm still amazed by that, also very pleased. This means I can do the whole thing over again the next time it rains! Who would have guessed a $20 raft would be up to such an adventure?

Misseswether and Miniwether pulled up while I was munching some beef jerky. Hugs were exchanged followed by Miniwether demanding the rest of my jerky. I wanted to tell them about my adventure but there really wasn't the right words. Two blog posts later and I still haven't come close to describing the experience. Some of you may feel it wasn't any different than tubing down some Hill Country river. All I can say is trust me, it was different. Maybe it wasn't a multi-month expedition across the Pacific, but it was something outside an ordinary life. It was adventure. It was excitement. It was a trip through the borderlands.

Adventure! Excitement! Exploration!

1 comment:

Garden Geezer said...

Hello MrMerri
I am still enjoying your Blog. I do have a question though, and please forgive my ignorance, are there really alligators in Texas.I have seen them in Fla, Ga and South Carolina. I have not yet been to Texas but I never pictured it as a Gatorland.
All the best to you and yours,
Paul Glover