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In every single aspect of the word that you could possibly imagine, it had been one weird, disjointed week.  You know, that continual string of days where flat out nothing seems to work, and you just feel off kilter.  Yup, it was one of those.  I was grateful that my boating partner for the day was That Friend; the one to whom you don’t have to explain a thing.  You don’t even have to open your mouth; they just take one look at you, and they get it.

It makes sense, then, that today’s paddle was anything but typical…  As I’m driving across the city to the put in, I see a ribbon of fog lacing it’s way through the city, tracing along the base of the mountains.  We had a break in the cold weather, but the rain decided to stick around for a bit, while the temps climbed ever higher on the thermometer, hence creating this effect.  Pulling in at the put in, I am greeted with a sheet of white where the river should be.  Walking down towards the river, I finally see faint shapes on the dock, and catch wisps of conversation.  Had I not known better, I’d have sworn I was in a white out on the side of a mountain with a pair of skis on my feet.


Colleen pulls up and gets out of her car.  We look at each other; then out towards the river, and then back at each other again.  We grin.  This week is O.V.E.R.!!!  We are FINALLY about to be on the water!!  <HUGE collective sigh!!>

Boats untied and offloaded, winter gear on, and cars locked up, waiting for our return, we head towards the water.  From the dock, we hear a gentleman caution us about the fog, and about the bass boats that were already on the water.  “…’course, I ain’t never seen no fish swim 110 mph before, but you ladies still be careful out there!”, he says.

“Thank you, Sir, we will!”

Finally on the water, into the fog we head.

uuummmm, where is my boating partner?!

Into the fog... (good thing I've got reflective tape on my blades and reflective piping on my jacket!)


It is surreal, to say the least.  I hear nothing but the sounds of my paddle and boat cutting through the water.  Colleen asks a question; I answer.  I ask a question; Colleen answers.  A couple three miles later, we finally stop, take deep breaths, and actually begin to converse for the first time since getting the hulls of our craft wet.  We are finally sloughing off the week.  This odd, serene winter wonderland that we find ourselves in the midst of is completely baffling to both of us.  Being the whitewater boater that she is, Colleen recounts the only time she’s seen this type of weather effect (on the Nantahala.)  Me?  I’ve seen it a couple of times on the Tennessee River, but never from the cockpit of a boat.  Add this to the fact that I’m in a boat I’ve not paddled before (Colleen wanted to check out the Journey!) and it is all the more surreal for me, to say the least.

We catch breaks in the fog, and as it breaks, so does our tension from the week.

Now ya see it; now ya don't (the fog, that is!)

We're finally starting to let go of the week (and Colleen's dreaming of being on whitewater!)

Yup, I can chill now! Holy cow, check out the 'fro!! And that's WITH a ponytail holder!

The mood lightens, and as it does, conversation turns to the more abstract of each of our lives.  We paddle on, and many miles into our paddle, we find conversation waxing and waning, until Colleen eventually has enough and sprints off towards Lookout Mountain.


A vulture rookery catches our eyes (and a quick head turn almost sends me into the drink! That’s what I get for not paddling the Journey!)

Next up, a Great Blue Heron rookery, where we see a bird on each nest.  The birds are apparently as confused about the bizarre weather as we are!

At the point were we decide to turn back and head towards the cars, the fog has completely lifted from the river and all is finally right with our worlds.  I can’t recall who vocalized it first, but one of us said something akin to, “I’m wearing out.”  Yes, it was indeed a good thing that we were heading back downriver towards our cars.

Many, many miles later, it never ceases to amaze me how being on the water can sooth most any ailment…

Hoping you all had cathartic and healing weekends on the water, and wishing you all a peaceful week full of happy boating,