Water rippling by, birds curiously chirping, gravel crunching under heavy wet tennis shoes, canoe scraping as it swayed with the return of the rescued contents – sounds intensified by the absence of the usual chatter. Their immediate thoughts would be shared later, but for the moment no words were spoken by either. No ‘what-ifs’ or ‘why-didnt-you’s” or ‘I-told-you-so’s’ broke the silence weighted with relief that there were no injuries or losses. Most importantly, the two were not stranded. Normalcy resumed with the digging around for snacks and drinks before pushing the unscathed canoe into the Current.
Without a map to refer to, the distance to cover tripled in Tarzan’s mind. Any springs or caves to explore, if noted in time to maneuver to, were bypassed. Nancy’s frustration with that unexpected development would ebb and flow along the way but it was a frustration she did not address aloud. She did, however, insist on infrequent stops to stretch legs and locate trees. Taking care of business could hardly be considered lolly-gagging, she argued. Anyway, in shorter floats they were always ahead of scheduled pick-ups; she was positive they would wind up back at home way before anyone expected them to.
After the encounter with the cliff that capsized the canoe, the two mysteriously resumed their proficient paddling, hardly disturbing the glassy surface of the widening river. Zig-zagging from bank to bank was never again an issue and it really didn’t matter why. They had found their easy cadence and began relishing the new sights along the way.
About mid-day they became aware of the first fellow humans they would encounter sporadically on the float trip. Up ahead they recognized a site from their driving explorations. The river flows through several culverts at a place still called Akers Ferry, though the ferry has been replaced by a roadway. The bank there offered an inviting spot for lunch and planning the portage, which happened quickly and effortlessly thanks to a nearby canoeist’s offer to help Tarzan carry the loaded vessel to the other side. Would be hard to say which of the two was more relieved -Tarzan for not having to shoulder the bulk of the burden, or Nancy for not being again reminded of the weakling she was.
Next week-First camp of float.