Catchy movie title, don’t you think?
Pictured: Not me, and not the river we tubed on. (Source: WikiCommons)
Pictured: How I felt my day was going to end. (Source: WikiCommons)
I’m willing to try anything once, as long as I don’t think my life is in any imminent danger by trying this anything. That said, what I signed up for yesterday was a little more than I would have bargained for, but considering that I’m writing this, I obviously lived to tell the tale.
And I obviously have a sense of humor about it because I’m writing about the experience.
My latest adventure took me to Winding River Campground in Mays Landing, NJ. That’s actually the town I live in, but the campground is on the opposite side of town, in the Weymouth section. That’s about as far removed from the part of town I live in. And before you ask, no, I was not camping. The title should tell you everything you need to know from the get-go.
Our adventure of choice was tubing down the river, the choice of my co-worker/friend Brian’s wife Irene, who wanted to do this for her birthday. She’d done this before in Delaware, and my boyfriend said he did this in Laughlin, Nevada on vacation. However, their experience with this was much shorter than the experience we had. My friend Amie and her husband Ron also joined, as well as Irene’s cousin and his girlriend. Four couples on what was going to be a fun, and surely memorable day.
It was memorable, but we only decided we had fun after it was all over.
I went armed with a waterproof camera, believing this was going to be some fun trip to document. Let’s just say that thought was gone within a half hour, when I figured out the river was more The River Wild than The Lazy River. The beginning of the trip was fun -everyone was laughing, spinning themselves around in tubes, goofing off, and commenting about how great this was (no lie, I said that quite a few times early on). It almost like a psychology experiment – drop a group of eight into inner tubes and send them off on a perilous journey, and watch what happens next!
It would be fun, we said. Memories forever, we said.
Yeah, memories. I’ll always remember the giant man-eating spiders. I’ll always remember the thorn bushes I wound up in. I’ll always remember getting separated from the group on the worst part of the trip. I’ll always remember the last hour on the river, and how everyone just wanted out. We’ll look back on this and laugh (we were once it was over), but no one was ok with that last hour.
I think by hour four, we all had enough. We were done. For me, spending anytime in nature requires some time indoors, not five hours of total outdoor element without some reprieve. Sure there were places to stop and rest (which we took full advantage of), but it was often leading us into a false sense of relief. Once we knew we had to keep going, we were like “alright, everyone in the tubes again!” with about as much excitement as someone going to the dentist.
By the fourth and final hour, I was scratched by thorns, had sunburn in places I’d missed with sunscreen (I always manage to miss a few spots on my upper body), and I did more arm exercise in five hours than I do in two weeks. That reminds me – don’t do hand weight exercises this week. Or next week.
And there were casualties – two hats, a full pair of flip flops, one flip flop, and a pair of sunglasses. Thankfully, not people. Eight people came, eight people left. Oh, and we killed two inner tubes. They were already deflating, but still, the tubes had it. Our day started off as a comedy where everyone laughed and had a grand old time, and it ended as a comedy of errors where everyone had their fill. But we were able to laugh it off and say we had a good time, but only after we returned with all limbs attached.
As I said before, I’d love to show you pictures, but I don’t have any. I was too busy paddling for my life. My arms and shoulders can tell you all about it. But I can also tell you that my two friends/co-workers who were part of the group were laughing about it this morning. An obvious sign that we had a great time, despite how we felt in the moment.
As for me, this is further proof that I’m not a babe-in-the-woods type of person. Give me the great indoors, give me a swimming pool, heck, give me the Lazy River I abhorred so much as a kid. Just give me something man-made and decidedly safer, rather than nature’s cruel experiment in survival when you’re obviously not the survivalist type.
Somewhere, in the obstacle course that is Egg Harbor River, there are two hats, a pair of sunglasses, and three flip flops floating.
And wolf spiders.
Sleep tight knowing we all encountered this terror of the woods.