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Stopped just short

Posted by on February 9, 2013

Today’s miles: 5.1
Trip: 1502.6 miles

I am essentially done with my expedition, but I stopped just a tenth of a mile short of completion. This was so that friends could celebrate the conclusion of the trip with me next Wednesday. This was the toughest section yet, although yesterday was the tougher day, due to its longer mileage. Today’s 5.1 miles took right at five hours, over half of which was spent out of the boat, wading through the ~40 degree water, dragging the boat behind me. Early on, I was forced to wade chest-deep, which really ate away at my body heat. I kept moving, though, and was able to keep my core temperature up,to a functional level. One unfortunate result of the cold, though, is that I seem to have injured a big toe. I thought that my foot moved rather badly on a rock at one point, but both feet were pretty numb, so I couldn’t really tell. Judging by the color of the toe and the pain, I guess that I was right. It will heal, though. (Reminds me of 7th grade dance class: “Heal, toe, heal, toe…”)

I had a surprise visit from Ben LaChance and his grandson, Jackson, just downriver of where I stopped for the day. Ben sold me my first canoe, introduced me to canoe travel, and is a living example of what a productive, responsible citizen should be. Ben was the first person I ever met who went down the river by himself for the sole purpose of cleaning up other people’s trash.

My incredible wife, Kathy, an accountant in tax season, took off work to meet me with a bottle of champagne for our own private celebration. She remains my number one supporter and best friend. In spite of the pressures of running her business and her many civic activities, she has resupplied me, picked me up, taken me to the river, shopped, shipped supplies, and provided constant comfort and encouragement by cellphone and email. I still don’t know how I got so lucky.

9 Responses to Stopped just short

  1. Erin Fuller

    Congratulations, Papa Bear!!!!!! I thought about you all day today and am so excited for you and proud that you’re my dad. I especially love the last paragraph of today’s entry. You two are amazing! Love you both!

  2. randall lackey

    Congrats and WOW. What a trip.

  3. Kathy

    Thanks for your kind words. Your accomplishments on this trip amaze me….did you forget that you’re almost 65???? After putting my feet in the river yesterday to get a better camera angle, and realizing they didn’t thaw out for a couple of hours, I’m astounded that you were willing to be partially (and sometime fully) submerged in such cold water in order to negotiate difficult shoals so that you could complete your trip. I have enjoyed sharing your trip with others and bragging on my amazing husband and best friend. I guess we both got lucky when we met some 43 years ago.

  4. Alice Sampson

    It is so lovely to witness the love best friends who are also IN love with each other. See y’all soon!

  5. Robin

    Thanks for including me in the invite for the trip end celebration! Was wondering if this crappy weather would postpone the party… should have known better. The 5 P’s… Prior, Planning, Prevent, Poor, Performance.

  6. Dan O'Hara

    What an incredible adventure! I finally caught up with the blog just as you are completing it.

    I look forward to meeting you in person and learning more of the stories as I continue my own journey down the Chattahoochee.


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