Monday, September 3, 2007

Pulltite to Round Spring...with spelunking in between...

It's official. I'm exhausted.

At 8:00 a.m. this morning I headed to river with a slew of friends, colleagues, and students. Michael and I spent the day in a "perfect" Old Town canoe that Mr. Gum threatened us with our life if we scratched, tipped, bent, or drove it directly into the bank..."you must parallel park this one so you don't scratch the front"....was his constant reminder.

By 10 we were floating 10:02 we stopped so Justin, Lindsey, Jacob, and Michael could jump from a tree swing. A few hundred yards down the river and we were stopping again to jump off some bluffs (which I hear now is a whopping $75 if busted by a conservation agent.)Following that, a walk up to Pulltite for a group photo at one of Missouri's most unattractive falls, no bluffs, just cold water bubbling up from the earth. Thank you God, but Man, we don't need a sign and a hiking trail that leads to every spring on the Current River.

A bit later...gravel bar for lunch. Mine was cheese, salami, cantaloupe, water, triskits, yellow peppers, one bite of almond butter from Kay--delish, one bite of homemade salsa and a chip from Jimalee--delish, a cookie from Pinky--delish, and a cookie I made last night--double delish. haha.

Swimming with jumps by Justin, Michael, and Quencie from an "island rock"...NOT a bluff...followed.

An hour later....a cave. Time for some spelunking with Jacob, Justin, Michael, Chris, Josh, Caleb, Quencie, Lindsey, Kiley, and Beth. We spent an hour crawling on hands and knees, squeezing between stalactites or stalagmites...whatever...bumping our heads and scraping our knees and basically freezing our rears off in the 60 degree cave and near freezing water. We never reached the end (which was apparently supposed to be a wall with a calm pool of water we could swim in.) Frustration set in b/c we had been trekking for what felt like we turned back...much to Jacob's dismay. "We're ALMOST there," he kept adding at every twist and turn. When we finally saw natural light again and swam out to the opposite bank, the Current felt like bath water...warm and soothing.

On down the river...the two professionals, Michael and myself, crashed....I nearly broke my leg. I don't remember EVER tipping on a float trip w/o the assistance of someone else doing the job for me...but this one was bad. Michael...(I'll blame him)...led us right into a tree...that I tried to kick us away from, but the tree won...and we sunk.

We finally emptied our canoes around 5:30 p.m. and made it to The Dairy Shack at Eminence for some quality burgers and shakes before returning to Willow.

I probably won't be able to move in the morning. I'd like to curl up on my couch and sleep for a week!