and then rides all around it on her bike.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Shana Loves Canoeing

or: Shana Is Totally Crazy

This weekend we had an LVC retreat, and LVC retreats always mean good food in large quantities, good people everywhere you turn, and lots and lots of the great outdoors.

This particular retreat was at a retreat center near Perryville, Maryland, right up at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, right, actually, on the Chesapeake Bay.

See the view from the kitchen windows? I'm not exaggerating.

Because I intend to use an obscene number of maps in this particular post (or actually just the one, but an obscenely unnecessary number of times...), I thought it would be nice to start by orienting you with a more general, more familiar map:

This is the US. Hopefully you could identify that on your own.
In the green box is Maryland. And a little bit of Virginia, maybe Delaware, but that's actually not important.
(Don't tell them I said that.)

So zooming in on Maryland now... (have I mentioned that I love google maps?)

Again, green box, that's where we were.
Right at the top of the Chesapeake Bay.

Here is our exact location, indicated by the (small) red "X".

Alright then, now that you're all oriented.

We had some free time during our retreat, and I took advantage of this free time to undertake one of my all-time-favorite-ever activities: canoeing

It falls under the more general all-time-favorite- ever activities category of "anything that has to do with water."

Now let me just back up and say (because, Midwestern as I am, if there's one thing I genuinely like more than looking at maps, it's talking about the weather) that we had a brisk and lovely fall weekend, finally chilly enough out that you really did need a jacket, or at least a scarf, warm enough in the sunshine but cool in the shade, with a light breeze... though it was sometimes very still... and sometimes... sometimes maybe even windy...

The morning of free time I spent canoeing just happened to be one of those "maybe even windy" times...

Anyway, weather disclaimer disclaimed, back to my story.

Setting out from our spot at the top of the Chesapeake Bay on the aforementioned red X, this is an example of what would have been a nice little canoeing route for me to take on a windy fall day:

Another example - and slightly more adventurous! - would be this:

So it's not like I didn't have options.

Of course, I went with neither of those options. Instead, giddy with the sheer joy of holding a canoe paddle in my hand, I set off happily and, singing little songs to myself as I rowed along smoothly, with the wind... at my back...
and this is (pretty much) the route I took:

And it was when I arrived at this point that I started to think, uhoooooooh.... :

To help illustrate why, in the following picture I've included a few blue arrows to illustrate the direction and strength of the wind and waves. I've also included an inset to illustrate me thinking "uhoooooooh...."

I spent a good couple of minutes trying to turn the boat around before I gave up and just rotated in my seat instead, which I probably just should've done in the first place. I also spent a couple minutes thinking maybe I might not make it back to the little LVC retreat house after all...

It took me about a half hour to row out to that point, and maybe about two hours to row back. I mean, it took me a half hour of tapping at the water while I sang songs to the geese to row out to that point, and maybe about two hours of hard-core, full body, am-I-actually-moving-forward-at-all tearing at the water with every fiber in every muscle of my body to row back.

My eventual and hard-fought success was due largely to the careful route I followed, which probably looked a little something like this:

I suppose one day they will write inspiring canoeing books about me.

At any rate, I think I learned an important lesson that day:
canoeing is awesome.

Yep, it's a lesson I already knew.
But it's always good to get to know it again.

Stay tuned for many many more pictures....


Anonymous said...

i think maybe next time you should see if a map comes with the canoe. that might be a good idea. and also, i'm staying tuned for more pictures :)

DC Small said...

If you like bike rides, a good one is down to Mount Vernon...were you on that canoe by yourself? And if you like Google Maps you'll LOVE Google Earth.

amber lainey said...

you rule.

Anonymous said...

everytime i read this entry i laugh even more. especially the part when i see your return path with the canoe. it's almost as funny as christmas vacation - you know how that gets funnier everytime you watch it. it's kinda like that.