Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 2. Jenny Baxter. We paddled six miiles today. It was our second shortest day,, and it seemed like an abrupt end.

We got up early in hopes of beating the tide, and we did. The water felt so different. Until now, any wave we experienced was due to a passing jet ski or motor boat. But today the swells came from something much greater and more unpredictable. The look of the water was also drastically different. The water was black and brackish. Paddling on the harbor is wild! Tuesday morning traffic was thankfully pretty slow. We got to paddle right up to an aircraft carrier and also see a dolphin break the surface for a breath.

Robert led the way to Fort Moultrie. He had us line up parallel to shore and paddle in. I dug in hard,, wanting to make my last drive count, and let out a deep breath as the nose of my boat met the shore. Hon Bob had drawn a finish line into the sand, and Patrick pumped his fists as he drug his boat across it.

We got off the water at a record 9:40 a.m. The rest of the day was almost like vacation. Many of us spent the afternooon at James Island County Park's Splash Zone. I spent more than an hour on the lazy river, and now I have a rosie tummy.

We then all went to clean up for the Low Country Boil, and I got a thorough shower in. Some alumni, faculty, and staff from the college were there: Cameron Austin, Davis Whitfield, James Davison, Susan Stromberg, Wendy Jones and Amie Schiedegger. I even met a nice couple from Franklin, TN. It was a great end to the day.

The whole day seemed almost surreal. The feeling of the end has yet to really hit me. It just seems like yesterday we were loading our boats for the first time and wondering how in the world we were going to fit all our stuff into them. Then, I was paddling with people I barely knew on a river I knew even less about. Both of those facts have changed, and I, too, have changed. The personal change was inevitable.

Tomorrow we will drive four and a half hours back to our place of origin. A trip that took us eighteen days to paddle. The time, however, is not what matters. Being on the river and having the opportunity to actually see the river. Not just glimpse and say "Aw, isnt that neat!", but to see it and know it personally. That is just one of the gifts of this trip.

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