Keeler Christmas in August had quite a turn out this year.
As Grandma Jan, would have said, "Practically the whole fam damily showed up."
There is lots to tell about the four sacred days, but for now, here is just a little side story.
A small group of us took a trip down Rocky Run Creek.
I must congratulate my brother Tee Jay for getting all seven kayaks stacked in his trailer and or on top of the car, not to mention his cat herding expertise.
Congratulations as well to the rest of us who crawled out of bed for the occasion.
We were only one hour late for the ten am departure.
We were not expecting conditions to be perfect.
As Drew put it on the way to the put in, "Who cares if the water level is low? The worse it gets, the funner it is."
That is when I decided I liked Drew.
But, perhaps one should take notice of the advice in one's handbook. If your kayak guide suggests that a hand saw would come in handy, maybe one should throw a hand saw into one's boat.
A chain saw might even be been better.
Here is a before picture as we waited for the car shuttling brothers to return to the put in.
In case you do not know this, I fell in love with my kayak as soon as that semi pulled up to our place on New Year's Eve last year.
I know it is not right to love inanimate objects, but like my cousin once said, "Just because something is wrong, doesn't mean it didn't happen."
Miss Wilderness is a twelve footer.
Sturdy, safe, secure and set for comfort.
She even has a wine cellar.
But perhaps the next time I go on a Rocky Run Creek trip, I will leave her home and borrow my nephew's ten foot Pelican, so that people will stop comparing my beloved boat to that ship that clogged up the Suez Canal for a month.
You see this little rocky creek starts out extremely narrow and is very curvy.
I could have used a sharpener for my brand new number two pencil if you know what I am sayin'.
We were not on the water more than a minute when there was commotion up in the front.
And up in the front quickly came into view.
With help from the current, the rest of us ran right into up in the front, as there was a downed tree stretching across the creek.
Lordy be. It was a big one.
If you are still trying to meet the right person, you might want to drop your online search and consider finding a narrow-curvy-river-kayaking-dating-service. Sometimes you are all piled up together and it takes the kind of team work where no idea is stupid when it comes to figuring out how to get out of your current jam.
And you jam with everybody.
I think that first downed tree may have been my brother Pitter's first spill.
We all had our own techniques as to how to get over that tree and many, many, more obstacles the creek provided.
Some were better than others.
I spent ten minutes sitting on top of the double downed tree trunks that simply refused to let me go.
Finally I had to get out of my kayak. I stood crouched over like a definite non medal winner on a slippery balance beam that was draped over moving water. I managed to pull my boat almost over it all and slipped back in.
This was another feat.
I still could not move.
It is important to stick to the deepest part of the creek wherever it is when the water is low, which seems most often to run next to the trees that grow along the banks. The kind with branches that hang all the way down to the water.
My technique to get through these arms with bark and vine like lassos was to lay my paddle straight in front of me with one hand, place my other hand over my favorite hat, close my eyes, duck, and pray.
I am not sure how every body else was doing it since I had my eyes closed, but Jeanne Lynn must not have been a ducker and more of a fighter, as she thought her throat had been slit when she came through one batch.
No matter how hard we tried not to get beached, we got beached, as the creek began to widen.
We were coming up to what the guide referred to as, the marshy area.
It was a real plus in my book that there were no mosquitoes.
One giant point for Rocky Run Creek.
Although it had several more.
The lavender petals that had fluttered to the bank were out of this world.
These persistent little flowers growing out of a tree with no other sign of life.
Herons, cranes, geese.
The quiet of nature.
It had it all.
With nearly three hours in we reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River.
"How much longer?" somebody said.
"Not far," answered Tee Jay.
We paddled on.
"How much longer?" I heard again.
"I have no idea."
And then came oohs and ahs.
The spooky, porous, borehole, rocks, the guide book had referred to as we'd listened to the reader read what sounded like a Stephen King novel, while in a jam up river an hour earlier, were coming into view and they ran all along the bank.
The cave beckoned us with its entrance.
The take out was a piece of cake.
Will we be taking another run down Muddy Branch Waters next year for Christmas?
"The worse it gets, the funner it is."
Even the guy who's wallet holding his student Memorial Union membership Card, sadly the original, which is somewhere out there becoming one with nature, said, yes.