12: What is the most memorable adventure you’ve experienced so far?
It’s easy to go back to the story about NYE 2003, but I’m thinking about the time I almost died in Arkansas.
I “met” someone online in the early 2000’s in a chatroom, before all the predatory crap became a huge thing.
I figured, hey, I’ll go visit!
So, we had talked about canoeing prior to my visit. He had been canoeing several times, so he tell me, “Yeah, there’s a beginner’s trail we can take!”
It’s a beautiful day. Think it’s up to like, 77 F. I fell trying to get INTO the canoe. That should’ve told me how it’s gonna go. But, I’m already clumsy as fuck, so whatever.
We go, I take pictures, it’s a smooth ride so far.
We start talking about things and then I realize we’ve been on the water for quite a bit of time.
This was back before cell phones could call from pretty much anywhere. This place, it was about 40 miles from a teeeeeny town, which was about another 50 from his house near Hot Springs, I believe. It’s been awhile. And I’m too lazy to Google it.
Alright, no biggie, he says. He tells me that there are various exits along this river, we just need to look for them. Ok.
Well, we hit a bit of rough spots and we ended up getting bashed on some rocks and getting tossed from the canoe. I sprained an ankle, so I had to just swim. It’s getting dark, we haven’t eaten, and it’s cooling off fast.
I had to stop to take a break and it got fucking COLD.
Backtracking. My dumb ass wore flip flops, cause hey, it was supposed to be just a 2 minute ride and he also wore sandals.
So, there I am, no fucking shoes, and the rocks were SHARP.
It’s DARK. Again, we pull off, and I’m laying on my back on some weird little island we’d found. I’m fighting to catch my breath and I look up.
The sky is amazing when there is NO light pollution. I was admiring the view when it hit me: we’re in the middle of nowhere.
Starving, freezing, and scared, (I’m not gonna fucking lie, I was terrified) I started to cry. I told him, “No one is gonna find my body for at least a decade!” He told me we’d be fine, and as long as we kept moving, we’d be okay.
Then I saw lights. I didn’t know if I was hallucinating, but I hollered and I heard the sound of a horn and saw the lights flicker. My friend is exhausted, and I can’t get him in the canoe to swim with it. He tells me to just go.
The water feels like knives as I get back in, so I kick and kick…I’m a good swimmer, but the cold. I held onto the canoe and saw an exit with a fire truck and police. I heard hollering as I crawled toward the exit with the canoe. A couple cops pulled me out of the water and put me on the back of the truck to do vitals. They gave me the weird foil blanket and told me to stay conscious. Then, one of the dudes says to me, “I can’t believe you got in the water! From where the dad said you got onto the waterway, it’s about 10 miles from here. There’s cottonmouths that like to swim on the water and they attack other canoes. Most people have a gun on board.”
I. Passed. The. Fuck. Out.
No lies, just hearing that. I absolutely fainted. I’ll take anyone on in a dark alley in the city, but hearing that I could’ve been bitten by a damn snake while swimming with a fucking canoe that had my friend in it? Nope. I was beyond exhausted, so I slept all the way back.
While I didn’t die, it’s an amazing trip and memory. I’d go again, just be better prepared this time.
Last updated November 15, 2020