04 August 2006

Rolling on the river

This past Sunday through Tuesday I went canoeing and horseback riding with several friends with whom I have worked in youth ministry and some of the youth from their various parishes. This was the first time I went canoeing and the first time in more than a decade that I rode a horse, although I have ridden a few elephants and camels since that time.

The trip was simply delightful, so much so that I hope to be able to do this every year now. We canoed for some eleven miles (maybe more) but I enjoyed nearly every minute of it. The next day, though, I discovered that the human body could in more places at the same time than I ever thought possible. It provided a good workout and helped tone up some muscles a bit and may inspire me to attempt to get in shape; probably not, but who knows!

I have wanted to have a horse (and a falcon) since I was a kid and after spending about an hour and a half on a horse named Blue this desire remains. The horse was - as the guide promised - of a very similar personality as me.

When we came to the first spot in the river to cross, Blue stopped on the shore, looked up and down stream, looked across to the other side, and finally decided to step into the water, almost as if to say, "I really don't want to do this." When we crossed the water a second time a large area of mud - several inches deep - awaited us on the other side. Blue stopped in the water, examined the mud and carefully picked his way through. At various spots the trail would split very briefly - maybe ten feet - with one path continuing straight along and another going slightly around a tree; Blue, with the exception of one, always took the straight and direct path. He only climbed the mountain we were on when he was good and ready and on the way down the mountain he decided he did not want to wind around with the trail but wanted to take the direct route through the woods (I was able to stop him in this one). Even with all of this, it was a blast!

If you have not gone canoeing or horseback riding, I highly recommend it!

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