Our “Jungle” Adventure

While we were off on our camping excursion, we decided to visit Randy’s and my hometown for a little journey down the end of Chautauqua Lake. This extension….I guess it is a river, goes quite some distance, but we were to travel only two miles.  No big deal.

Mark had us stop by a marina on the lake to ask the flow of the current and to find out if it was okay to kayak this. Oops…I forgot to mention to the guy I talked to that we were going to go down in our little inflatable kayaks.  He told me two things: 1. the current flow, and 2. people refer to this adventure as the “jungle tour”.  Actually, he told me three things, the third being that we needed to keep the speed of our craft at five miles per hour…hahaha….

Let me enlighten you on the particulars of this day….It was H-O-T! While *normal* (whatever that term means….) temperatures at this time of year are about 72 degrees, Fahrenheit,  on this day, the temperatures climbed well into the 80’s. (nearing the 30 degree mark  on Celsius thermometers)

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We entered the water at Celoron Park from a public boat launch.  Celoron was once noted for a rather fabulous amusement park.  I do not remember anything about it as I think it was torn down when I was very young.  Oh, and Celoron is also the hometown of Lucille Ball. Not sure if the crazy redhead ever made it across the “pond”, but here in the US, it seemed everyone tuned in on the television to watch the crazy (mis)adventtures of Lucy and her Cuban band director husband, Ricky Ricardo, on the I Love Lucy Show.

Okay, so, now we know that the temperature was up there, and….I HATE hot weather. (or, perhaps IT hates ME!)  We pumped up our little inflatable boats….phew. That in and of itself was a monumental task in the heat.

As soon as we made our way into the water, the winds began to blow.   Ah, a bit of a cooling effect, right? W-R-O-N-G! Imagine placing a fan in front of an open oven and blowing the heated air at yourself.  There, you have it!  Did I mention that my life vest is made of Neoprene? Thick-walled, float your boat neoprene? Neoprene does NOT breathe. Not at all. Oven-like air blowing at me in my neoprene vest. Terrific.

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Yup…there is the buoy warning us (hahaha!!!!) not to exceed five miles per hour.

Remember the fellow at the marina telling me people call this the “jungle cruise”? Here am I feeling as though salt crystals are popping through the pores of my skin in my HOT life vest.  Add to that the HOT air sweeping over the water.  Ahhhh…..

Take a look at this scenery!

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Yes, it rather *did* appear as though we were touring the jungle! Okay, you *know* that I am rather steady with the camera…..even with image stabilization, this poor camera was bobbing about in my boat, along with me!  Those (heated) winds were blowing directly the opposite direction we were paddling!  As I held the camera up, the image would quickly end up on the right hand side of the LCD screen as I drifted backwards!

As we paddled onward, Michelle uttered things like….I really am not *that* fond of kayaking.  And, (this one I loved!) Dad always finds these LONG trips for us to paddle! I couldn’t help but giggle and laugh!

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Every now and then, the water would calm down and  we could actually make some time with our paddling!  Good sense said we should have climbed out at this pretty little dock where the owner waved to us as we passed by…..

But, we ventured on, in the company of some terrific looking skies above us!

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When the sun hid behind those clouds, we were ever-so-thankful, as it seemed as though the temperature dropped about a zillion degrees! But, we had come so far and we must continue on……

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Michelle saw a big patch of lily pads and she advised us to stop for a break.

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Randy and Ben both heeded Michelle’s request,  but I ventured on. I just HAD to place a phone call……

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You see, Michelle had blurted out that this trip was six MILES long….UGGHHHH!!!! No way! I just HAD to call Mark and ask him. But, I didn’t want the others to hear in case I needed to SCREAM!

As it was, Mark plotted the route on his GPS, (well, following a straight line, not the route the river flowed) and it measured two miles. We probably paddled about two and a half miles.

As I spoke to Mark, I told him Michelle was getting really tired.  The paddling was a bit tough as we were going against a very brisk wind. (it was about 20 miles per hour)  At times, the wind blew across the water, splashing water up on us.  I told Mark we seemed to be heading along an “S” shaped part of the river, and he told me we were nearing the end. Hurrah!

Ben grumbled when he saw that I had unzipped my neoprene prison and just snapped the snaps on the outside of my vest….he threatened to tell Dad, which had little to no impact on me. At this point, I was so overheated, I was sure I was going to pass out!

We paddled on, and sure enough, the end finally came into sight.  We were thrilled as Mark beeped the horn of the truck, telling us to get out a bit sooner than we planned!

As it was, we got out and delflated our boats. Everyone was moving so slowly, as we were all so tired! The good news was that we were going to meet my parents for dinner a little later. How I was looking forward to that!

As we met my parents at the restaurant later, my mother said, Oh, you got dressed up for dinner! Little did she know that only about an hour or so before, I had been paddling in that same t-shirt and where the neoprene vest was, it was soaked! Although I do not sweat, I guess I did under that neoprene!  My face was beet red from  the sun and wind!

We ate our dinner, enjoying the air-conditioned surroundings.  It certainly seemed like such a good end to a rather trying paddling experience!!!! Oh, and my face is STILL red from our “jungle cruise”!

 I spoke to our neighbor who paddles a canoe. She showed me her cute little vest she uses. It is a kids’ vest, so it is short and won’t end up around my ears! I tried it on and I think it will work. No more melting inside a non-breathing vest! Now…I just need to find one!