What a day.
It started out like an episode of Modern Family,
Cassie and I woke up early to make our parents breakfast
in honor of my dad's birthday.
We fought while we cooked, and then when our parents came out - we acted like nothing happened.
Then, with Chris and Cassie's friend Cody - we planned on kayaking slash canoeing
for just a few hours and then returning back home to spend the day with our parents.
From Chris' house to the park - this is how we drove:
Dangerous, I know.
Not so sure.
Me and Chris were in the canoe, Cassie and Cody in the kayak.
We only had three paddles - and Chris wanted me to photograph the adventure,
so I didn't have to paddle.
I wasn't complaining.
It started out pretty cloudy - we were almost worried that it was going to rain,
but not too humid - so a good day to be outside.
It was very scenic.
One of the travelers said that because it was so dry, all the creatures would be in the water,
Meaning - a great photo opportunity.
Also, because it was so dry, the water level was abnormally low
so we had to get out every 10 minutes and carry the canoes over fallen logs.
[foreshadowing a dilemma]
We were kayaking from Riverbend Park in Jupiter, down the Loxahatchee River, and back
to Chris' house.
Remember back at the beginning - how I said today was like a movie?
Well, movies are long and so is this post.
Aka - I took tons of photos today.
It was such a green day though.
[My seat in the canoe]
It wasn't named Riverbend Park because the river was really narrow,
it was named Riverbend because it bends and twists and turns and forks.
All part of the adventure.
We were Avatar's exploring the world of Pandora.
The cypress tress were so exotic and huge;
forty feet tall, with three feet trunk diameters.
We saw creatures of all sorts;
Alligators, turtles, mullets, greebacked herons, osprey, wood peckers, limpkins, and hawks.
"Just around the riverbend!"
Cassie was Pocahontas traveling with her racoon Meeko.
We stopped to eat lunch at the second dam.
Chris' mom made us great sandwiches and packed snacks.
I think it was here that we realized the trip was taking us longer than we had planned.
What took Chris and his dad two hours - was taking us double, even triple the time
with having to get out and cross so many fallen trees and low water ways.
Any animals we might not have seen were scared away because of
our laughing and shouting.
We were stressed, but we were having so much fun.
We also saw two baby water moccasins,
which after talking to my dad - it turns out - they're more dangerous than
adult moccasins because they don't know how to control their poison.
The first occasion we could've died today.
[if you look closely - the baby snake is at the bottom of the next photo]
During one of the bridges, we were going under - it split in two ways,
Chris and I were upfront so we chose one way.
It was too shallow, so naturally Chris got out to pull us through.
One step out - and he sunk into thick muck.
He got to drier ground but the canoe was still jammed,
what I was thinking - I'm not so sure,
because I stepped out and
I sunk waist deep and tripped forward - completely soaking myself in dirty water and mud.
Chris pulled me out and together we got the canoe through.
I found out my camera case was water proof - so that's good.
Cassie and Cody had a good laugh,
they went the other path and watched as we sunk in the quick sand.
And then the most dangerous part of the trip.
Crossing a mama gator and her kin.
Me and Chris were up front, and saw the mom gator.
"Turn around! Turn around slowly!"
We just stopped and watched as the mom went under the water,
a slow trial of bubbles moved closer but then stopped.
The babies were scattered on fallen logs and the bank.
We watched a little one swim across where we thought the mom was and sun itself
on a log.
It was really a neat sight - but incredibly scary at the same time.
Mom gators are very protective - something Cassie didn't quite understand,
as she sat and joked about the situation.
[Chris to Cassie:]
[Chris to Cassie:]
"Your life is hanging by a thread right now!"
"You don't understand how serious this situation is right now!"
We ended up going through it - very slowly and staying as far away from the baby gators
and the spot we saw the mom - as possible.
Heart pounding - I felt like we had just conquered the basilisk.
I got some good photos of those baby G's though.
If you couldn't tell, this happened about six hundred times:
After getting out of Riverbend,
we entered the Loxahatchee - and from there to Chris' house took several more hours.
What took Chris and his dad two hours - took us almost seven,
not because were were bad - but because we had so many obstacles.
It felt so good to make it back to safe, dry ground.
But the good feeling of being back only lasted about ten minutes,
because we had calls from an angry mother asking where we were.
Unbeknownst to myself - Mitchell was going to call at six and it was five thirty,
and we still had to get back to the park to get the cars.
It was the Race to Witch Mountain.
We had to make it back or we were going to die.
That's my mindset when madres angry, it's not healthy.
[Okay, in all honesty - I thought Mitchell was calling on Mother's day - not the day
before Mother's day - and we had no intentions of dragging out the canoe trip as long as we did]
We raced home - set up the Skype session,
and were talking to Mitch by 6:12.
[Posing for the photo - we're brothers]
I miss him a lot.
He's really happy and stressed, which is typical Mitchell.
I can't believe it's been almost 8 months?!
After our sad goodbyes,
no one wanted to press the "end call" so we just sat there saying "goodbye, we love you"
for like five minutes, we went out to eat at this little [expensive] restaurant in Jensen.
My old man is 48 today.
Almost at the big five-oh.
I can't believe how soon everything is going to change.
If everything goes according to plan - by the end of this summer, I'll be out of here.
We're becoming one of those families where the kids are all grown up,
and the parents are 48.
What is this?
What happened to those childhood days?
What happened to those childhood days?
I made the scrapbook page in my first ever scrapbook.
There's some pretty funny things in there.
but can you honestly "guess who this is"
I was really creative, even then.
Happy Birthday Padre.