So, as I left the rest of the group to themselves, I departed on my own rescue mission to retrieve the lost canoe. It’s not as heroic as rescuing Nabil and Kaveh, but if that canoe wasn’t retrieved, we would have been charged around an extra $400-500. And we’re all college students, which makes that $400-500 we’re not willing to cough up.
I caught up to the canoe after it had traveled miles downstream and got caught in shallow water. Because sunlight was fading, I was acting very quickly without putting much thought to my actions. I tied one end of the canoe to the back of my kayak, and made the attempt to paddle both myself and the canoe the many miles upstream back to the house.
Did I put into account the current going against me? No I didn’t, and then I spent the next half hour trying to paddle upstream and only getting about 10 feet forward. And I’d yet to even reach the rapids. But in the process I had completely exhausted myself, and I wasn’t able to paddle anymore. The sunlight was fading so I had to figure out another way to get this canoe back home.
Eventually I just gave up. I moved myself towards the bank of the river opposite from where our cabin was, and I heaved the canoe onto shore. I made sure it was far enough on shore that it wouldn’t float away even in the highest of tides. Then I slung the kayak around my shoulder and began to make the walk back in the direction of the house.
It was a long walk. With each step that I took, the kayak became heavier and heavier. Soon, I had to begin to take breaks to rest my entire body. However, with all the things I was going through I couldn’t stop but thinking about the rest of the guys. I was scared that Nabil and Kaveh were still in the water, and I began to fear for their lives.
While walking back, I got to a point where there was a little tributary that came off the main body of water. It split the land in two, and instead of the shore being a gradual decline towards the water, it was a four-foot-tall cliff on both sides. Therefore, I would have to jump into the freezing cold water, then climb back up the muddy cliff. As tired as I was, it would have been pretty difficult just by itself. But I also had to carry the kayak with me the entire time.
So I threw my kayak in the water and jumped in. That part was easy. The water was at about mid-thigh level, but it could’ve been worse so I wasn’t complaining. However, the next part was extremely difficult. I figured the easiest thing to do was to first throw the kayak up onto the top of the mini-cliff and then to climb it. That proved to be much more difficult than I thought. I don’t know if it was due to my exhaustion or just me being really weak, but no matter how many times I threw that kayak, it never made it up. After about five times, I had given up. I just stood there in the water, having no idea how I was going to get myself out of this.
Soon, due to the freezing temperature of the water, I began to lose sensation of my legs. It was at this point where I remembered Nabil and Kaveh. If my legs were losing sensation after only about a half hour, I can’t even imagine how bad it must be for them. Soon, I began to imagine the worst, and I felt that I had left them there. I couldn’t just sit here while they were stuck in those rapids.
I guess this is one of those moments of adrenaline where people commit these extraordinary feats of strength. With the adrenaline, I was able to throw the kayak over the cliff and climb myself with ease, but looking back it doesn’t seem like that much of an actual accomplishment. Any grown adult should’ve been able to do it. I must have been dead tired.
I began to walk as quickly as I could, sometimes jogging, towards them. I finally got to the area where I had left them, however something was wrong.
I looked in the middle of the river, where that little island was. I saw another canoe there capsized, but there were no people. I dropped down to one knee with disbelief. I feared the worst had happened.
But then, out of the corner of my eyes I noticed something. Near the shore there was this blob of different colors. I walked up closer to it, and I saw that it was a pile of wet clothes. They had made it to shore. They were alive!
I turned my back to the shore to see where they could have gone. I saw a house, and I began to walk over to it. I had knocked on the door and when I opened it, an elderly woman opened it, and gave me a weird look for a second. I looked perfectly fine, other than the fact that I looked like I had just wrestled a pig in a pile of mud. My hands were covered in mud, and then I was soaked from the waist down, and it had looked as if I was wearing mud for shoes.
But, she seemed to realize who I was, and I think that was why she was giving me a weird look. I guess she assumed I would have seemed like I was near death after whatever the rest of the guys said to her. But I looked very nonchalant. In fact, instead of seeming out of breath or desperate, I said, “Hi, I think that my friends may have stopped by here, any chance you’ve seen them?”
So that concludes my part of the story. The next time I will tell the story of what the rest of the guys had to go through. I hope you enjoyed this one, and please stay tuned to see how everything turned out!