Labor Day Weekend 2006...our first trip from Camp Osto, where we pushed off and ended at the River Country camp ground downstream. Matt and I had no idea how long it would take, so we packed our beer and munchies and set out for the great adventure.
But first...we had to drop the canoe off, drop the truck off, drive back to canoe...and then we were finally on our way! (How did the Indians get their canoe's back upstream?) The weather was gorgeous and sunny, but the water was freezing. It was interesting to see what types of cabins were on the river and what types of yahoos were out and about, drunk in canoes and tubes. It took about two hours to travel to our destination, just about right for me. Lots of fun!
...and much better than our first canoe experience on the Muskegon. . . let me recap for you.
It was June 2005, just getting nice and warm. Me and Matt at Camp Osto, no kids. We headed up to the Old Log Resort (OLR) where they took us upstream for a four hour float back to the OLR. The guide told us it was a very rustic part of the river without a lot of civilization, so we were hoping to see some wildlife - maybe a deer or eagle? He said by the time we reached a cottage, we would have about 45 minutes left in our trip. Great, let's go!
Off we pushed and things were swell. Matt was in the back, I was in the front. We had a cooler, beer, our suits on, plenty of sunscreen and Deep Woods Off. We saw a turtle, a bass, a Kingfisher. Then all of the sudden, we were swarmed by deer flies.
(feel my pain)...According to the Ohio State University Extension..."Female deer flies are vicious, painful biters. They feed on the blood of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, dogs, deer, other warmblooded animals, and even humans. These flies cut through the skin with their knife-like mouthparts and suck the blood for several minutes...Biting deer flies frequently attack humans along summer beaches, near streams, and at the edges of moist, wooded areas.
Needless to say a feeling settled over me that I can only describe as *panic*. We could not escape the divebombing. Matt is in the back paddling so furiously that I am fearing whiplash with every stroke. He was dropping the F bomb right and left. Then the rain came and we hoped that it would shoo them off, instead it made it worse. We were wet, it turned muggy and we were COVERED in even more deer flies. All you could hear was Matt swearing and a sick slapping sound. At one point I dared to turn around and he had at least 50 flies swirling around his head. He did NOT stop paddling one time. Of course, I got the giggles (I think my panic manifested into crazy laughter) which only makes things worse. We continually sprayed the Off and swatted. I must have been bitten 40 times. Stroke, stroke, swat, stroke.
I don't think we looked right or left once on that trip. We were focused on one thing only - getting out of the frickin' canoe. Finally we saw the cottage - we knew we only had 45 minutes left. How long had it been so far? Who knew as we left our watches in the truck, but it seemed like an eternity! Finally the OLR rolls into view and we sprinted to the finish, pulled the canoe up on shore. The guide greets us with a shocked expression and says how quick we were - turns out we made the 4 hour trip in 2! By the way he says, "Were you using Deep Wood's Off? That only seems to attract them!" OF COURSE.
Next day = sore.
Canoe trip #2 was heavenly.