The first time we put the canoes in water, I was terrified. Seated in the middle, I tightly gripped both sides of the canoe. "Don't worry," said one of the other girls in the boat, "it's really stable." To prove her point, she grabbed the sides and rapidly leaned back and forth, rocking the canoe from side to side. I shrieked, and she finally stopped. Our inaugural voyage continued and we soon came upon a rocky area with rapids. Having received only minimal instruction on how to handle a canoe in rapids, the other girls made a valiant attempt to go straight, but succeeded only in getting caught in an eddy, resulting in the canoe hitting the rocks and dumping us all out into the water. Since it was a shallow area, I managed to again keep my head out of the water, but as I stood up I was crying and shaking in fear.
Our primary chaperone wasn't unsympathetic, but he didn't coddle me, either. "You're fine," he said, "it's just water." He was right, of course, and I had no choice but to get back in the canoe and continue. It wasn't too long before I actually began to enjoy canoeing, and by the time camp ended, I was one of the most enthusiastic paddlers in the group. (And I have never since fallen out of a canoe. They really ARE very stable.)
|I learned to love canoeing, but I was never crazy about having to portage.|