Three years have gone by since my last Easter paddle -- coincidentally,
the same amount of time I've been living in that (remaining nameless)
magnetic city centre in southern Ontario. (It took IMAX at least a year to
adjust) This year's surprise return was on account I'd found myself a
permanent paddling partner. Scott Vernon -- Michigan-born, Toronto-living
-- was the only newbie on the Shubenacadie Saturday April 14. the rest of
the crew was a mix of long-time (and some shorter-time) Gonzos (Sungod,
Birder, Viking, Dipper, IMAX, and Spel Chek), some from the younger
generation (Erin Levy, Darren Gray, Mountain Dancer, Catherine Levy,
Ronnie the Roomie, Kevin Wentzell, and me, radio goddess) AND Easter
paddlers who pre-date the Gonzo proliferation -- Dave McRae, Hal and Ruth
Bent, and Joanne and Steve Donaldson.
For some reason, the Big Stop meeting time was changed from the
long-standing 8 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. -- perhaps our glorious leader wanted to
make a Sungod entrance. In any case, we filled out a long table at the
restaurant and enjoyed the welcoming barbs, jokes, and good food of a
typical Gonzo breakfast. Nobody warned us city-slickers that it was still
winter in N.S. but the snow on the bank, the chill in the air and the
falling rain and flurries were actually a welcome reminder of fondly
cherished past Easter paddles.
The river was fairly high and pleasant even though it wasn't green yet.
From tales of the just-returned Old Town Canoe Sale-ers, we would have
been a lot worse off if we'd been trying to paddle the still-iced up
Kendeskeag Stream in Maine. Count your blessings!
Nothing eventful happened from Point A to Point B -- just a leisurely
paddle with a good deal of chatter and the usual assortment of treats and
hot chocolate at the under-the-bridge rendezvous point.
Darren Gray had his news 16 ft Penobscot on its maiden voyage -- deferring
to Erin Levy to stern the craft. At the end of the run, Darren and Kevin
tried it on for size, a quick practice for Kendeskeag 2001. [I may have
overheard a few competitive words from Sungod and Viking]
All in all there were 10 craft on the water and at least one in reserve on
the trailer -- just in case. The Gonzos are nothing if not prepared!
Radio goddess, back in TO
SIDENOTE: This paddle marked the first time Scott and I had been in a
canoe together. Apparently it worked out just fine, because by the end of
the day he asked me to marry him. Obviously he's a good Gonzo candidate --
testing the waters before jumping in.