Double_duckie_2Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, and the Barista is on a double duckie on the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania. This kayak trip down the Middle Yough is the centerpiece of the Memorial Day family reunion (other side of the family, you can be sure) and is billed thusly:

The ultimate family float trip is how most refer to the Middle Yough. Its calm and scenic Class I and II rapids are gentle enough for the young and enjoyable enough for the young at heart.

Hmmm. We saw it a little differently.

The ultimate last-ever family float trip is how most we now refer to the Middle Yough. Its calm and scenic Class I and II rapids are gentle harrowing enough for the young the Barista to lose her sense of humor for four straight hours and enjoyable the nine-mile journey is enough exercise for to cause blisters and COMPLETE MUSCLE FATIGUE in the young at heart middle-aged. You may especially enjoy the fact that after NO INSTRUCTION WHATSOEVER, you are launched into the Middle Yough with your 13-year-old nephew, and within seconds your boat turns around and you are heading downstream backwards because you don’t know how to steer the thing. You discover that your lake kayaking skills are not only completely useless, you never had any; it becomes painfully apparent that until now every kayak you were ever in was really powered by your husband, who is now, unfortunately, in another duckie. For that special sense of invigoration, sit in REALLY COLD WATER for hours, and for that extra challenge, kayak against the wind the whole time. For special excitement, enjoy GETTING PINNED AGAINST A LARGE ROCK and watch your husband’s cousin and his five-year-old daughter FALL INTO THE WATER trying to save you. FEEL UTTER DESPAIR as you try pushing your oar against the rock and discover THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LEFT IN YOU. After you miraculously break free and get to the take-out point, climb onto dry land on wobbly legs and proceed to sob. Then learn that your 12-year-old son, who was ahead of you on a single duckie, FELL INTO THE WATER downstream from you, but LUCKILY HELD ONTO THE BOAT AND IS STILL ALIVE. Return to car, where four children will fight about food for an hour until all paperwork can be completed and you can begin 45-minute return trip to hotel. Sleep.

9 replies on “Outward Bound for Baristas”

  1. See? If you had stayed in town, you would have attended a lovely party on Saturday afternoon and had your spirit nourished in the morning!

  2. And adding insult to injury . . . you coulda been at Yankee Stadium in pretty good seats watching the Bronx Bombers against the Boston Red Sox.
    Then again, after the game was over, we felt kinda like you wrote, what with the outcome.

  3. Nightmarish!! Next time, do like I do– the “Jap” vacation– nice hotel, no cooking, piles of novels, and perhaps a little paddling about the pool.

  4. Barista, do you really call that a kayak?
    Real kayaks you get thrown from, that thing you just slip off….

  5. Was the outfitter really Outward Bound? I’d be surprised, as they normally give you so much instruction beforehand that you might need to batter the instructor with your paddle just to get near the water…..

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