Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 7 Part One: “Hard Day’s Paddle and A New Year” by Connor Mertz

We woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to paddle to East Cape (our campsite for the next night). We had not seen “The Ball” drop, there was no partying or confetti, and we did not count down 10…9….8…etc. Actually no one even stayed up until 12, and we were all in bed by 10. We had spent the last night of 2011 sitting around a beach fire, only several feet away from the Gulf of Mexico. It was pretty awesome.

None of us were aware of the feat that laid ahead of us; a 4 mile paddle to the next cape where we would be eating lunch. We pushed of the beach and things seem normal. As soon as we had paddled half way to our destination and were 100 yards of shore the wind picked. Now we were battling wind and waves. Ryan’s pep talk sounded something like this: “The first paddle keeps you from moving backwards, and the next is actually what moves you forward.” Eventually when you are paddling that long and hard you find yourself in a “rhythm” in which you paddle the most efficiently. I know my canoe (the “Bithlo”) had found this rhythm because we were all silent, focused on reaching the point that lay ahead. After what seemed like forever we finally had reached it. Triumphantly, we enjoyed an extra long break of tortillas, cheese, and summer sausage.

-Connor Mertz

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