Staycation Rewind | Epic Float Trip

Friday morning started just like any other…early. The girls have developed a bad habit of waking up by 6:30AM at the latest, and that’s only if we’re lucky. Lately {especially with Jovie} 5:30AM has been the norm. WOOF.

Luckily, the support crew was up early as well, and soon Aunt Hannah and Grandpa Hunt were reading the girls their favorite stories (which is to say:  any book they could get their hands on. We love books!).

Hannah reading to Rowan and Sienna.

When that got old, they moved on to Papa Hunt.

A promised iChat with my Mom and brother followed, and before we knew it, we were gearing up for our Friday excursion: a float trip down the Raccoon River!

Help with the girls for the day was all lined up, and the four of us were out the door just after 10:00AM. We were to embark down the river at noon, so with some time to spare, our first destination was Des Moines’ newest frozen yogurt shop: Yo2Go. With multiple flavors and dozens of toppings (including fresh fruit and dry cereal), our mid-morning snack was the perfect way to kick off our adventure…we highly recommend you try it out yourself! And after quick stop at Subway to grab a lunch for later, we were off.

Stray rain drops began to fall as we made our way out to Adel to meet up with our “guide” (who provided the tubes and our transportation), but the clouds seemed light and the temperature seemed right…so with a cooler full of beverages and a pale full of snacks, we set off down the river.

River transportation.

River rats!

Aaaand...we're off!

The going was slow and the river was shallow, but the pace didn’t bother us. The clouds kept the sun from blazing down on us, so by an hour in, we were all having a great time. Then…the rains came.

Missy, embracing the rain...

The first round was heavy and swift…a 30 minute downpour left us soaked and chilly, but thankfully it stopped as suddenly as it started. With our spirits still high, we continued down river (as if we had a choice), but our cooler and our snacks unspoiled so the fun soon resumed.

Cool Chris, bringing up the rear!

The shore crawled by at a snail’s pace as the afternoon wore on, but the rain seemed to hold off. Save for the occasional mid-river beaching (due to the lack of water in the river), everyone was having a blast. Laughing, telling stories, and making friends with other kayakers and canoers along the way. We even saw three bald eagles screaming by overhead and down the river basin…cool!

Newly-Engageds!

But then…it happened. Rounding a dogleg in the river, the winds picked up and the sky turned dark. As the water bore us towards the heavy clouds, we all knew what was coming and braced for the worst. Furiously, the rains came upon us again with a vengeance, and this time, they didn’t stop. With no other choice, we cracked another beer and floated downstream in the onslaught.

Seems about right...

My emotions ranged from anger, to laughter, to frustration, to apathy. At times we walked in the river, hoping we’d reach the end a little faster. We took turns pulling our tube chain…I stubbed my toe on the bottom, and Chris tripped on a submerged tree branch…but we carried on. Battle wounds be darned…

Finally, after almost two more hours of soaking {and just as the rain began to let up}…we reached the end of our journey. Thanks to the weather and the slow, shallow river…what should have been a three hour lazy river float had turned into a six hour escapade. But we had survived, and couldn’t get on that bus soon enough.

Cold. Wet. Tired.

Survivors!

We arrived home just in time to put the girls down to bed. Hot showers and warm clothes were in order for everyone, and we settled in for the evening with pizza, popcorn, and a movie.

We were wiped, but man…we now had one heck of a story to tell! Although it wasn’t very fun at times, I think that we will remember the trip and look back on that memory more fondly now than we would if it were a casual, sunny day.

At least…that’s what I keep telling myself 😉

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

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