In the movie Deliverance Burt Reynolds and company go on a canoe trip and they get a whole lot more than they bargained for, when what was originally supposed to be a fun adventure, turns into a life and death struggle.
Last summer I went on a canoe trip with some friends and we got into a bit more than we bargained for. Thankfully there weren’t any crazies in the woods trying to do us in, or make anybody squeal like a pig, so the only thing we were up against was the river and our abilities.
The Santiam, from Stayton to Jefferson, doesn’t have any serious white water (at least not at the low volume river level when we went) but it does have other hazards, namely mysterious side channels, sharp turns, root balls, sweepers, and strainers, and by the time we’d reached the take-out every one of us, except the lone female of our group, had overturned at least once, and a couple members of the party overturned several times.
In my younger years I earned every canoeing merit badge possible at summer camp and I considered myself an expert, incapable of capsize. That is, of course, before I got hung up, sideways to the current, on a root ball. I was right side up when I first got stuck, and as I fought to remain upright against the force of the river, which was trying to roll my canoe over, my confidence, and the denial of my predicament, gave way to the stark reality that there was no way I could overcome the power of the river pressing me against the root ball and that there was nothing left to do but abandon ship!
In slow motion the canoe began to roll over as I pushed myself clear. Fortunately I didn’t get hung up on the root ball myself or I might not have lived to be telling you this tale. It’s not uncommon for folks to get held under and drowned by the force of the current pushing them against a hazard, and in this way “strainers” can be quite deadly.
I was able to recover all of my gear but my cell phone and a camera were ruined, along with my confidence, and I proceeded anew with greater caution and humility.
Would I do it again? Sure I would! But it would be better to break the run into two parts; Stayton to Greens Bridge, or Greens Bridge to Jefferson. Doing the whole Stayton to Jefferson run in one day is a lot of water to cover, and somewhere along the way the fun is gone and it becomes work.
Sadly I don’t have any footage of my mishap and no, that’s not me on the rope swing, or me with a canoe full of water, but I would like to thank Steve for being such a good sport!
Meanwhile, over in Europe, the Euro monetary system, on its voyage to economic prosperity for all, has hit a snag and the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) are squealing. The fact that the PIIGS don’t have the cash flow (tax revenue) to service their existing sovereign debts is beginning to sink in, and the realization is dawning that piling on more debt, in the form of bail-out loans, won’t solve the underlying problem of too much debt, and it will, in fact, only make the debt problem worse.
The math is so simple you don’t even need a calculator: Unserviceable debt + more debt = bigger unserviceable debt that will eventually go unpaid. How much longer can they fight the relentless economic current, how much longer before it’s time to abandon the ship and save the people?