Sunday, April 04, 2004

We had quite the adventure camping over the past 4 days at the Black Water campground. This time, we brought the kid's bikes.

There were only 10 or so campsites within our circle. The circle thus provided ample safe biking. Even Gabrielle had a great time on her bicycle!

It was so good to watch the kids get so much exercise!

Our campsite was 5 minutes from the Black Water River. Naturally, the kids wanted to swim.

We saw the usual warnings.

Being diligent parents, what did we do?

Provide excellent supervision, naturally. Here Kurt is working on the "eyes on the back of his head" technique.

The kids had a great time!

And no one spotted any alligators. I did see another kind of reptile, however.

Sunning themselves on a branch in a nearby lake were a family of turtles.

The first weekend in April is free fishing weekend, where no fishing license is required to fish the freshwaters of Florida. So we brought along our fishing gear.

Kurt spent most of the morning trying to figure out how the reel worked, while the kids waited.

I came to take picures and found it thus. Fortunately, I asked a hiker in the area for a lesson and received some instruction in the use of our equipment.

Nevertheless, we had hotdogs for lunch.

The ultimate adventure this weekend involved a small yellow blow-up boat. The Black Water river is famous for canoeing. But we didn't have a canoe. We had a small yellow blow-up boat.

Someone had to bring the boat and family up the river and then bring the car back to the campground. I volunteered. Kurt loaded up the boat.

We drove upstream. Kurt and the kids planned a three hour tour. A three hour tour. . . (Yes, this is from the theme to Gilligan's Island. . .)

The kids were very excited.

Kurt assembled the oars. . .

My family set off down the river. . .

What did it matter that everyone else had a canoe. . .

A blow-up boat is like a canoe. . . Isn't it?

I shouted my "good-byes" and went back to camp for a couple hours of knitting and spindling.

Meanwhile, out on the river. . .

Kurt soon found out that a yellow blow-up boat doesn't glide through the water like a canoe. It took a great deal of muscle to guide it in and out of the current.

After the first oar broke, Kurt's anxiety grew. There was only one oar left. If that one broke, the current would send the little yellow BLOW-UP boat into any number of hazards that could POP it. They would be stranded far away from civilization and without any means of summoning help. They started to pray.

After a few hours, Kurt realized the little yellow blow-up boat was not as fast as a canoe. The setting sun reminded him of the river night life, and ALLIGATORS.

As the sun continued to drop, Kurt knew he would never make it back to camp before nightfall, and ALLIGATORS.

Meanwhile, anticipating the arrival of my family, I had leashed the dog and headed for the beach. We started what turned into a 2 hour walk, winding our way up the river bank as far as we could get.

The sun disappeared behind the trees. Finally, Kurt spotted some guys fishing! He beached the boat and asked for a ride back to the campsite. They agreed relunctantly. Abandoning the boat, Kurt and the kids climbed into the back of the truck, which promply died. After some work on the engine, the truck and my family bounced back to camp. They jumped out at the ranger station and then gratefully ran the half mile back to camp.

In the meantime, I had decided to head back to camp for a flashlight. We met and the details of their adventure were relived.

Then, the kids found a new activity.

The Black Water campground provided a nice playground in the center of the campsite circle.

The kids at least, lived out many more great, imaginary adventures within the safety of the campground.

All in all, however, we really did have a good time!

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