‘yak trakkin’ werk perk

workperkI was a wee bit nervous about wearing my new summer hiking uniform to work — baggy tie-dyed t-shirt, short blue quick-dry skirt, and a bathing suit in place of the typical work-type undergarments. I was nervous enough that I packed a plastic bag with a longer skirt in it, just in case. But we were told to wear “picnic casual” today, I think the exact words were “wear whatever you’ll be wearing out on the river to work in the morning”. I knew I was gonna get wet so I dressed for it. And after all, I needn’t have worried. When I arrived in the parking lot, the LSCHP was just getting out of his vee-hickle. He greeted me with a gesture indicating that I was blinding him and by that and *his* outfit (which actually didn’t include a Batman yarmulke this time) I knew I was still in good standing.

Beeeeecaaaauuuusssse… It was KAYAK DAY! This is my fav-o-rite work perk ever!!! What it amounts to is that a whole bunch of baggy old software developers and systems analysts of various stripes meet up at Argo Park and kayak / canoe down the Huron River to Gallup Park, where we get picked up and dumped off back at Argo. Where there is beer!

Nevertheless, I had a bit of trepidation about this particular outing. That’s because we would be going down the [dun dun dun duunnnn] CASCADES! The Argo cascades are a man made succession of little rapids and pools. Here are pics and here’s a video someone managed to take while traversing them. I have walked by them many times and something about them has always made me nervous. I am a weird aminal whose soul possesses both love of water and not a small bit of phobia. I am erroneously regarded as a kayaking “expert” by folks at work. People who have never kayaked before will ask me to help them get started, etc. They haven’t figured out yet that I am just a decently strong paddler on relatively flat water. Rapids? Hmmm. I can do very small ones.

I had to suppress my fear about the cascades but I had so much fun! The biggest problem is that there were just enough other kayakers and tubers in the cascades that I had to wait for others to go through first. Because I was trying to do the whole thing like they showed us in the video, lining my kayak up straight. I got wet! Each cascade involved a bit more water coming into the boat and the last one soaked me and filled my yak with several inches. These boats are designed to drain water quickly and it was out of my boat within minutes but my butt was wet hours later and I ended up taking a shower when I got home just to get the whole Urine Huron River experience out of my pores.

After the cascades, the river has a current but that gradually slows, eventually enough so that you can actually stop paddling long enough to get your iPhone out of its waterproof case. This photoooo shows the front of my kayak and Mary as we approach the pickup spot at Gallup. Mary and I were not the first kayakers on the river (but close) but we were the first kayakers to arrive at Gallup. She’s a runner. Both of us like to keep moving. Others behind us were stopping to watch the wildlife or jumping (on purpose) into the water. That was fine. Mary and I like to move (although we do like to watch wildlife). When we got back to Argo, I had a beer. Some people hadn’t even left the shelter. Card games were going on and someone had a puppy there with him and I do not even know what else. I am happy that the local backwater of the huge global corporation I work for schedules events that everyone can participate in. I am glad I’m one of those that who chose to take a kayak down the cascades.

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