If you are not from NH, you must know that this summer we have been under some evil voodoo hex. It has caused so much rain that my socks mildewed. Actually, that may be a function of poor hygiene, but the fact remains that this has not been the sunny, bright summer that one likes to reminisce about in one's dotage. More like the gloomy, gray, moist funk wafting out of a high school locker room.
Noisome, intimate bodily functions aside, we did have at least one bright sunny beautiful day just a few short days ago. I jumped on my bike and zipped around town, delighting in the breeze through my hair, the sun on my face, and the swarms of insects peppering me like birdshot. On my approach home, I have a delightful 4 mile stretch along the Piscataqua River where I can ride in relative peace, soaking in the natural beauty and having only to remain vigilant about the hundreds of cars zipping by–every driver desperate to either get to Goffstown or leave Goffstown.
As I reveled in the beauty of the river and enjoyed the tickly sensation of the thousands of bugs wriggling along my lips and mouth, I saw a kayaker stopped at the bank of the river listening to the music from an annual blues festival that comes to town, um... annually.
Of course, this made me think, "I should bring my fragile children on a life-threatening ride down the churning, rain-swollen rapids of this river in a large, hard to control, inflatable raft!" Perhaps it was simply the giddiness of all the Vitamin D surging through my sun deprived system, but this was indisputably the best idea I had ever had. Of course, the kids agreed whole-heartedly. They're good like that.
We unearthed the raft from beneath the porch, scoured it, inflated it and strapped it to the roof of the car. We dropped my truck off at the proposed end-point for the ride and Kerri drove us all to a spot several miles upstream so we could 'put in', as the pros say. For us, it might be more accurate to say that we dropped the raft into the water and flailed and dived for it as it was whisked away in the current. After scrambling aboard we settled in for what proved to be a delightful sojourn down the river. There were a few bumpy parts that were a lot of fun (save for the crippling pain of bouncing off a rock with my knee) but the rest of the ride was smooth and fun. In the interest of absolute honesty, I feel that I need to post an uncropped copy of the exciting looking picture at the beginning of this post.
The glamor and high excitement is somewhat lessened, I know. The river loses some of its potential as a raging force of nature when you see how calm most of it is. In the background you can see the bridge leading into the fairgrounds where the blues show was being held. You can also see the man who warned us, "There's whitewater up ahead there." then sat back and ghoulishly watched to see if the guy with the two kids careening down the river might wind up on the news that night. "Hey," he could tell his wife, over dinner, "I warned them..."