One of the more disconcerting parts of parenthood is letting your children go to explore and go on adventures. Alyssa recently discovered kayaking, of all things. She did so well with the rental, and with researching kayaking, so when she stocked up on a 10′ kayak and all of the basic supplies, and had me drop her off at a creek with the promise that she would be BACK and for us (my mother and I) to come BACK (emphasis both mine and hers) for her, I thought nothing of it.
Of course, as the blog title implies, things went awry. Alyssa’s first mistake was deciding to not come back to her starting point, but to drift down the creek…some three miles. When I checked on her location (thank you, Google Maps), she was in the middle of the creek in the middle of the woods, with no way for me to get to her, not even with our SUV.
Her second mistake? She over-estimated her strength and endurance.
Fortunately she knew her limits, and when she realized she was in over her head — stuck in a creek, trapped with cliffs on both sides, and a steep railroad, surrounded by woods, in the dark, etc., she stopped and called for help. Ironically, she let me know she was calling for help a few minutes after I joked to my mother about how funny (but also not funny) it would be if her adventure ended with her being fished out by rangers.
Alyssa’s “simple” kayaking trip down a creek turned into a 5-hour ordeal during which two police officers struggled to find her, only found her after I sent screenshots and coordinates (again, thank you, Google Maps), both of us were freaking out because her phone battery was quickly draining (and got down to 10% by the time the officers did get to her), those same two officers ended up stranded with her because they scrambled down a cliff to get to her but couldn’t get back up, and after several hours of back-and-forth with dispatch over how to GTFO of the wooded area, they eventually climbed/walked out a good mile along the railroad tracks, with the nice but grumbly officers carrying the kayak for her.
Needless to say, lessons were definitely learned! I was just so relieved to have my baby girl back, safe and sound. No need for yelling or scolding…she learned her lesson quickly enough, as she was stranded in the dark, with limited visibility and a dying cell phone, as rescuers struggled to reach her, while she died of embarrassment at getting herself into such a situation.
Alyssa has since spent considerable time doing a lot more research on kayaking safely. 🙂