Tomorrow The River (poem by Devin McGuire)
May 29, 2016
Temple Stream Adventure (a standard debacle). PART 2
June 10, 2016
Show all

Temple Stream Adventure (a standard debacle). PART 3

Parked in the intervale of Temple Stream

barefootI wasted no time; it was 2:45 now. I paddled hard through a meandering intervale of deep pools stopping only once to stretch my legs, relieve myself and snap a few photos, and then back in it. Over a bluff to my left a dog came to the shore and greeted me with panting tongue. Not far behind was the owner on his four-wheeler who came down and asked how the fishing was. I’d told him about the trip so far and he acknowledged that it was probably late in the season. We chatted for a little bit before I paddled off around the bend for more adventure I really didn’t want. See I thought this was it. I thought that since I’d reached the intervale the rest of the stream was going to be like this or similar (at least paddle worthy) for the rest of my trip. I didn’t know it was only about a half mile of this kind of water before going right into the same kind of shit the rest of the way. I also didn’t know and still don’t know why the man on the four-wheeler didn’t warn me of this. So be it.

Now not only was I tired, thirsty, banged and bruised but I was also now down to just one covered foot that could give any kind of decent traction in this stream. The other foot was now bare. I managed another 400ft of the stream in this manner before I finally gave it up completely for the woods entirely…

The woods closed back in, the water dropped and I was back in it again. By this time my feet were getting banged up too much so I made a tactical decision to work my way down via the alder choked shoreline through the side woods. Branches whipping me there I crashed through Central Tick Station, Spider Way, and Mosquito Alley, finally crossing back over Poison Ivy Forest to the streambed when and where its waters looked maybe deep enough again. I crossed underneath the Russells Mill Rd. Bridge at 3:45 and in my fatigue (and by this point in time probable dehydration as the water was gone now) mistook this for the bridge off of Rt. 43 that is close—oh so close—to the mill dam reservoir and the end of my trip. If I’d had my wits about me I would have pulled out there and called for a pick up but no. I’m hardheaded. I trudged onward. Shortly thereafter the way took a sharp bend in a direction I wasn’t expecting. The stream widened and the water remained too shallow for kayak. I slipped on a rock in the stream here and came up with a torn out sandal. Now not only was I tired, thirsty, banged and bruised but I was also now down to just one covered foot that could give any kind of decent traction in this stream. The other foot was now bare. I managed another 400ft of the stream in this manner before I finally gave it up completely for the woods entirely. I found my way through some old dry runs where the stream eventually oxbowed away from in the past and in these managed, despite my bare foot to make good time. My kayak however often flipped in these woods and lost its contents. Several times I had to drop it and double back to pick up the things I’d lost. Close to 4:30 now I was well behind my time for a pick up. I came back through the woods to the stream again and saw that it was still the same. Still the same late-August-looking-trickle of dead stream smack in the height of Spring. Eventually I a saw there was a cabin on the shore across the stream. A few Adirondack chairs sat on the porch a few more tipped up around the fire pit. No one was there. I was beat. Hurt. Tired. Thirsty. Still feeling warm but I knew if I stopped, if I injured myself and had to stop, it wouldn’t be long before hypothermia might start setting in. Up ahead in the stream on a bluff at a bend to the right sat a house. People were there. I could see lights on. They could probably hear and see me coming. Boy what an idiot I felt like. I made my way down stream again towards this house but didn’t get very far. It was easily 100 yards off and I didn’t think I had it in me anymore to make that distance without injury. I spied the cabin on the other shore. The stream was wide here. I was tired. I didn’t want to go across it. But there’s a road right there Devin. But what if this last trip across the stream is the one that does me in? Well what options do you have buddy? But there’s a road right there Devin. With my one bare and bruised foot I picked my way slowly back across the stream dragged my kayak up over the short bank and onto a grassy flat lawn. No one home I dragged down a pine needle covered driveway to the Clover Mill Road where I collapsed in a heap and finally called for my rescue.