Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Knowing When To Fold

We had our boats packed, ready to go, but the precipitation had most certainly turned from snow into a messy mix of rain and cold wind-driven sleet that stung our cheeks. Rebecca wondered, “you think this is a good idea?”

            “But we’ve got our boats all packed,” I said. “All we have to do is launch.” Hearing myself, I realized she was right: it wasn’t a good idea.

We’d woken to see calm water stretching out to spruce-covered islands coated with snow like confectioner’s sugar. Though we had been out for a few paddles lately, we hadn’t had one that felt like paddling in a winter wonderland in quite awhile, and this appeared to be it. And it was warm- hovering right around freezing. The weather called for increasing winds in the afternoon, and more snow. If we were going to get out, it seemed prudent to get out early. 

We were a bit worn-out from our previous day’s pool session in Bar Harbor, but paddling seemed the best antidote to get all those muscles stretched out and working. So we ate a quick breakfast and got ready, which takes some time—an investment of time, you might say. So that by the time we had our gear together, drove over to the ramp and got the boats ready, it felt like we were ready to make the investment pay off. But then the precipitation began in earnest, and the wind picked-up, and suddenly it seemed not such a wise investment. Hearing myself say “but we’ve got our boats all packed,” was like hearing someone else in a safety article just before they put themselves in certain peril, and I knew the answer then, even if I wouldn’t admit it.

We talked it over for a minute or two. We could put on neoprene masks, we could just go to some of the nearby islands, or even just head down to Webb Cove and back. We had to remind ourselves that we were doing it for fun, not because we needed to, or to feel rugged (or to get pretty pictures for a blog post). We had thermal flasks full of hot cocoa and suddenly my mental picture changed, from taking a break on a snowy island, to sipping cocoa, warm and dry in the front room of our apartment, looking out at the storm, knowing we’d made the right choice. 

But it was still really hard to give up on the paddle and go home. And over the next hour as the weather changed three times, we went back and forth, deciding alternately that we’d made the right and wrong choice. I’m sure if we’d gone out, I would rationalize any discomfort and say it was well worth it. But you make your choices and stick with them. Sigh.


Janet said...

Lovely imagery, and images. And I agree, sometimes winter is best observed from a warm chair by a window, sipping hot chocolate.

The weather will get better tomorrow -- or the next day.

Enjoying your blog!

Pam Powers said...

On my full moon hike the other night...someone brought spicy hot cocoa. It had Cayenne pepper and cinnamon in it. It was crazy good. It will be my new cold weather kayaking drink. Love you blog.thx for sharing a window of your world.

Gary said...

Thanks for the great pics! Where can someone park there car at the downtown launch during the busier warmer weather months? I was there in September and could not locate a designated parking area.

Gary Castella

Michael Daugherty said...

Gary- the parking situation at Colwell ramp is pretty grim these days, especially with a restaurant now open there again. There are a handful of spots on the road that parallels the water (and late in the summer owners of a house there illegally had someone towed who parked in a public space). The funeral home up the street has now posted signs against parking in their usually empty lot, and at the end of the summer, the private $3 a day lot/lawn on Granite Street was closed. There is plenty of parking closer to downtown, in the Pink Street lot and the lot further up the hill. So you can drop off boats/gear and just search for a spot or go to Pink Street and walk for about 5-6 minutes.

Unknown said...

Great Post, Michael. Sometimes the best trip is no-trip. Geoff