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HomeNL-2012-11 Village Creek

I Survived Village Creek
Two Perspectives of the Village Creek Obstacle Course
Aug. 11-12, 2012
by Paul Woodcock & Christy Long


The Nice Perspective:

Christy Long had posted a trip to Village Creek with the warning that it would be an extremely difficult trip. I was concerned about my physical ability to do the trip so I had started walking 2 miles a day and I could swim 10 laps in an olympic sized pool with a break between each lap, so I decided I could do the trip.

  The put-in

We arrived at the put-in and started to unload our gear. Christy was a few minutes late but we were all still unpacking our gear and she quickly caught up with us. We drove to the outfitters for our shuttle and he had enough space for all of us to safely park our cars. I used to have no qualms about leaving my truck under a bridge for a weekend but now I just don’t feel safe doing it anymore, so it was good to have a safe parking spot. A large group of paddlers of about a hundred had arrived before us to sign in for a trip down river and the outfitter registered them before us. It turned out to be a long wait. but it was interesting hearing them talk about last years trip. This is the only time most of them ever paddled and they were all anxious to get on the water. Watching the young ladies in halter tops and short-shorts made the time go faster, and we all swapped river stories until it was our time to do the shuttle. Fortunately they were putting-in where we were taking-out so there would not be a large crowd on the river where we were paddling.




I had done the Neches River trip in the spring and we had to drag over a number of logs but the sheer volume of log jams and strainers was a surprise and I soon discovered that I needed help to get my boat over them. I could not understand why I was so weak. Christy and Harmon took the lead in helping everyone over the logs and all the paddlers worked together to get us down the river. This is what is so good about the canoe club. We stopped for lunch, rested and continued on our way. We came to two downed trees that would have been back-to-back portages so we decided that the best course would be to just camp there. We were so tired that no one even wanted to cook so we all shared what cold cuts and salads we had. It made a satisfying supper, we crawled into to our tents and it eventually cooled off enough to get a good night sleep.

 Log jam   Harmon cutting a limb     Log jam   Over a log 

The next day was more of the same. At one point Harmon pulled out his pocket knife with a saw blade and cut a two-inch limb off. It was amazing. We all decided to shorten the trip and take out at the next place the outfitter could pick us up. I got my gear loaded with a lot of breaks and then Harmon volunteered to help me load my boat. I later was diagnosed with pneumonia, I don't know if I had it on this trip but I would definitely like to do it again. I have always loved to challenge myself physically and this trip is one that will definitely do that.

At the October meeting Christy gave each trip participant a bandana stating the year and our names. It was a nice momento for a memorable trip.

The Whiner Perspective:

When I got to the put-in the trip leader wasn’t there, Like, wouldn’t you think she would be there early so everyone could sign the trip report before unloading? At least the put-in was a good place to unload but the water did look very low. The trip leader showed up and we did the shuttle. When we got to the outfitter she had a hundred people going on a trip and she insisted on signing them up before our group - unbelievable. It was like an oven under the tin roof. She finally got to us and she wanted the license plate numbers for our cars so we had to trudge out to the parking lot to get them. When we got on the river we had to paddle through the limbs of a newly fallen tree. The rest of the morning was hauling canoes over tree trunks and portaging around them. The trip leader had said it was going to be a hard trip but she did not say it was going to be freaking impossible. We did stop for lunch and lay around in the water to cool off and then it was back to the back-breaking labor of portaging over logs. There was one about every 1/4 mile - impossible!


We arrived at a very high log and just down the stream was another and then Paul who was navigating said this looks like a camp. The sand bar was large and fairly smooth but the one we had planed on was just a 1/2 mile downstream. Every one agreed we should stay here. What's the use of having a float plan if you are not even going to use it? Everyone was too tired to cook so we just ate the cold precooked food and sat around exhausted. All the meat I had brought would be spoiled by the time I got home. What a waste.

Joe gathered wood for a campfire but no one lit it. We just sat around in a circle talking about taking-out early and listening to the same old campfire tales that Paul has told for the last 20 years. The mosquitos came buzzing around at 9:00 and there was no campfire smoke to keep them away so we all retreated to our tents. I lay there covered in sweat waiting for it to cool off enough to go to sleep. There had been talk around the circle about a meteor shower and I woke up several times during the night and guess what, no shower happened.

The next day was more of the same, at one point there were some limbs that needed to be sawed through and Harmon took out a pocket knife with a saw attachment and cut through the 4 inch limb. Wouldn’t you think someone would have a real limb saw? We finally arrived at the take out and guess what, it was straight up about three feet and some truck across the river was blaring redneck music across the river. Someone said the shuttle was ready to leave so we climbexxd in to the van with the headliner removed and the old insulation on the roof off the van looked like a huge nicotine stain. We had to wait for the driver to unload some canoes. It was sweltering in the van. Finally we got to our cars and drove back to load-up and leave. Village Creek at 2 ft. and 96 degrees - no way never again.

  Harmon with bandana
At the October meeting Christy gave each trip participant a bandana stating the year and our names.  A homemade token for a trip I hope to forget.


the earth is my mother.
the sky is my father
the animals are my brothers
the canoe lets me get closer to them