Posted by: ramblinrobert | June 28, 2008

Farewells and I decide I like the wind

The last day was relaxing and a little bittersweet. People always seem to linger around after a group trip, not wanting to say goodbye, not wanting it to end. I certainly felt this. But, the last day had some rewards.

The day before, I had seen Janey, one of the girls on the trip, playing with her camera. I asked her if she wanted to go out shooting photos, and her eyes widened and she got a big smile on her face. So, Thursday morning, we took a few minutes to talk about her camera and some of its features, then headed up the creek into the forest. My objective was to help her learn to “see” a picture, to think about its composition and how to avoid things that distracted from what she wanted to capture in her picture. She was a quick study. It was a delight to talk to her, for example, about not having elements or bright spots in the background that distracted from the subject of her picture, then to see her immediately apply this and extend it to a new picture. She has a good eye for composition and will blossom into a good photographer if she decides to pursue this.

We had a great time, exploring the forest and playing with our cameras. By the end, I felt like a Pied Piper, as the other kids found us and wanted to walk with us, too. Henry borrowed my camera and demonstrated that he has an eye for the abstract and unusual. Since he used my camera, I have his pictures; I like his picture of Janey’s foot.

There was still one learning experience I had to go through before the trip was complete. Evan is a masseur and not one who shies away from enjoying himself. So, for those who wanted, he provided mangoes and other fruit which we mixed with sand to use for a body rub. I’ve never done a skin exfoliation before, so it felt a little strange. But, I was willing to suffer through it for the experience. šŸ™‚ After a rinse in the river, we had mashed avocados for a rub to add oil back to our skin. This was a good experience; I might even do it again.

Too soon it was time for lunch and time to leave. We took our final group shot, with everyone sitting in their canoes, and the canoes in single file between the railroad tracks. This is the second year the trip has ended with this shot, so it’s become another trip tradition.

We headed off, back to the Bay Area, and soon ran into smoke from many of the hundreds of fires that have been burning across northern California. It turns out we were fortunate–those winds blowing up the river from the ocean were blowing us a daily dose of fresh and clear air. Plus, by the last day, I was no longer stiff and sore. I left the trip with much stronger arms, shoulders and back. So, although I didn’t like paddling against the winds, I’ve decided that the starry nights, fresh air and exercise were worth fighting the wind.

The trip–the canoing, the people, the food, the exercise, the time outdoors–was a delight. I can see this becoming an annual tradition.



  1. Bob;
    Thank you so much for capturing the essence of our trip. Meeting different people and being able to become such a cohesive group in such a short amount of time was a pure joy for me. Thank you for sharing. Hope to see next year.

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