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Thursday we set out and the sky looked like rain so I put on my foul weather gear and my waterproof boots. Wearing this gear I learned a lesson. The river was moving fast because of the heavy evening rain. A loaded canoe does not turn as easily as an empty one or a kayak. About noon my boat came sideways with a branch that was too low for me to duck under but too high for the canoe to be stopped against. I was stuck with the choice of jumping from my canoe and making my way to shore or dumping the canoe with all my gear in the river and holding onto the canoe. Having been in this predicament before I know that one seldom dumps a loaded canoe. So I was in the water with a fast current. As I am a good swimmer this is not much of a problem but I was having a difficult time swimming. I finally got to a log and on dry land. What I discovered was that my foul weather gear is very waterproof and as I had the jacket unzipped it had filled with water along with my waterproof boots. So I was not just swimming myself to shore against a current but was being weighted down by several gallons of water that was trapped in my clothes.
I always try to learn something from each trip and I learned a lesson that could save my life. Do not paddle wearing gear that holds water unless it is absolutely necessary. And take it off as soon as it is not necessary. Anyway I carry extra gear and dried off and we paddled the remainder of the trip. The total trip was about 48 miles. We saw only two gators but both were over ten feet long, we surmised that they had eaten the rest of them. The Little River was a great trip my only recommendations is that it is probably not paddleable at normal water levels.
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