To err is human, and to do so while on an outdoor adventure is also human. Outdoor adventure mistakes can be costly and sometimes even life threatening or fatal, but most of the time they just lead to a bruised ego or some material possession broken or lost. They say things happen in threes. I hope this is the case because I have committed three stupid outdoor adventure mistakes in the last two weeks, and I am hoping this is the end of that trend.
Delavan Lake, Wisconsin
While fishing Delavan Lake in Wisconsin, I was standing at the back of the boat while my friend was up front. He caught a fish and requested assistance with the net. I leapt forward with a long stride over the seats in the middle where the steering wheel is to the right. Unfortunately, my foot caught the key chain, which was a floaty thing hanging from the key that was in the ignition. My foot severed the key and the blade was still in the ignition.
We were halfway across the medium sized lake. We continued to fish for a couple of hours. When we decided to return home to the dock, my friend Jim could not start the boat. He tried pliers to twist the ignition, but it did not work. Fortunately, we had a trolling motor fully charged up front. This motor chugs along at about the rate a fish swims, so we crossed the lake going about 2-3 mph. An hour plus later, we pulled into the dock after roasting in the sun in the middle of the lake. On the bright side, my friend Jim caught a nice northern pike while trolling.
It was a great day fishing, but not a great ending. I felt like an idiot. Jim was able to get a replacement on eBay for the ignition, so he is back in business. Hope he invites me back on his boat. If he does, I will stick to the other side of the boat far away from the ignition.
Bois Brule River, Wisconsin
The river of Presidents in far northern Wisconsin is a beautiful little river with some fun class I-II rapids. I declared in a text group of the participants from Bull Moose Patrol that I thought the rapids on the Bois Brule were easy. At least on the stretch from Stones Bridge Landing to the Brule River State Forest, which was the section we intended to do. Those were famous last words.
Related post: Kayaking the Bois Brule from Stones Bridge Landing
I just recently bought a new used kevlar Wenonah Encounter. It is not the best boat for whitewater as it is long and slender and does not turn quickly; however, it can manage class I-II. It is narrow, so it is a little tippy. It is better for lake and flatwater paddling. It felt a little more tippy than usual when I started. I hit the first rapids and almost tipped twice. I started to go in on the left and countered the tip with leaning to the right and almost tipped on that side.
A few minutes later in fast water, not even a rapids, I lost my balance and just went right over the right side of the canoe and tipped. I have not dumped in a canoe for years – in fact, I think the last time I tipped in a canoe was when I was like 12 years old in the middle of my parent’s canoe. I have never tipped in a canoe while being in the front or the back. I have tipped in a kayak. That happened last year.
Drenched Sony A6000 camera
The dump occurred in shallow water, and I was able to emerge from the canoe and drag it to the shore. I lost a little tackle box, and my Sony A6000 camera and lenses were drenched. I think the camera is now working, but I am still trying to get condensation out of the lenses.
Not too long after I dumped, I was trying to find a position to get my legs more comfortable. In the process of doing this, my seat suddenly jerked back about six inches. I realized then that my seat had shifted forward and stuck making the boat even more unbalanced. The seat is supposed to be all the way back. Once this adjustment was made, I had no real trouble the rest of the day and successfully navigated the more difficult rapids towards the end.
Namekagon River, Wisconsin
I put in at Stinnet’s Landing on the Namekagon River. Immediately, there was a class I-II rapids. On the other side of it, I cast a line for about a half an hour. I managed to catch a small smallmouth bass and had several bites. On the backpack in the front of the canoe there was some mesh netting for a pocket. The treble hook for my mepps spinner got caught on it. I had to reach forward to cut the hook out of the mesh.
While doing this, I accidentally leaned on the pole and snapped it in two. No more fishing on this trip as I did not bring an extra. I tried a strip of duct tape, but it did not work. It was my third stupid mistake in two weeks.
Outdoor adventure lapses can be dangerous
It is impossible to be mistake free all the time, but it is very important to be extremely diligent when traveling because outdoor adventure mistakes can be fatal. I think of all the people who have died taking a selfie and many of those have occurred at waterfalls and overlooks while visiting outdoor parks.
I hated to have these things happen to me, but I consider myself lucky to have made three mistakes and the only repercussions to take place were inconveniences and loss of material objects. Objects can always be replaced and loss of time is no big deal. In return, I learned to be more careful, which is something humans must continue to learn and pay the price for this lesson.
Adventure on (mistake free)
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