Saturday, December 12, 2020

Escape from Black Friday 2020 - trip report & photos!

 My favorite photo from my wonderful Escape from Black Friday. Click any photo for a slideshow view!

Finally getting back to this after getting a little bogged down after my "Masked Marauders" post. Remember how happy I looked in that post? 

This was an extra-special Escape. Other years it's just been a given that I'll get out for something, outside, hiking or paddling depending on conditions, the day after Thanksgiving, but this year, I was still recuperating from my October illness and had conditions been anything but perfect, my "escape" would most likely have been limited to a short stroll in Prospect Park, or maybe the Coney Island Boardwalk. Either of which would have been nice enough but not quite as "escapeist" - so I was just thrilled to bits when the stars (and weather, and a lovely offer from a friend) all aligned so that I was able to get out on the water for the first time since our vacation in September! 

And I had OPTIONS! The Sebago Canoe Club traditionally has a paddle & leftover potluck the weekend immediately following Thanksgiving. This year's COVID rules precluded the potlucking but one of our best trip leaders did put out the call for people with winter gear to join her on Saturday. 

That was VERY tempting - I hadn't seen folks at the club in so long, and although I do like the Escape from Black Friday theme, I'm not dead set on Friday if something neat presents itself on Saturday. This time I was hesitant to join a club paddle, though. I was at a stage in recuperation from October's illness where if I was sitting in a chair at home, I would feel like I could do anything I ever did, but then I would go out for a walk and be utterly out of gas after a mile or so. So I really had no idea how I would do in my boat, and I absolutely didn't want to be the one who set out from the dock full of beans and happy to be there and then after a mile have to ask someone else to cut their paddle short to escort me back to the club. Someone would have done it and most likely would have been great about it - we do watch out for each other - but I would've felt very bad about cutting into their fun. 

And I did have another option, which in the end I decided was more sensible. One of my closer paddling friends who's been keeping abreast of my medical woes had kindly offered to take me out for some low-key paddles to ease back in; I found out from her Facebook page that she was around for Thanksgiving, and Friday's forecast was actually stunning, with lighter winds than Saturday - perfect for a test paddle! I got in touch with her, and on Friday morning, we headed for the club - where we found a subset of "the usual suspects", the group of friends I'd been doing a lot of paddles with over the summer, arriving at the same time! The group was small because of the club paddle the next day, but what a nice surprise to see them there. 

And I had a nice surprise as far as my paddling stamina - I'm definitely not where I was in September, but M. and I set out with them and I was able to keep up (even getting out in front for some of the time) for quite a while, before deciding that I had probably gone far enough after a bit over 3 miles (just to where you hang a right to head out of the inlet). When I was being discharged from the hospital and given recommendations for getting back in shape, they warned me to remember that as I increased my walking distance, I would still need to get back from wherever I went - definitely the case for paddling, too. M. and I had explained what we were doing before we launched, so nobody was worried when we got to the inlet and I decided that would be my turnaround point, and that worked out well. I think having the others turn up gave me a little more energy and confidence, when I'd been feeling a little timid about pushing it, but we did go back to the club in a much lower gear, with a tea break midway back, and I was quite ready to get off the water when we got back to the dock. 

In other words - just about as perfect a first paddle as I could've asked for. I'm so grateful! 

Unfortunately the next weekend was stormy, and this weekend I've just had a chemo port put in & paddling was definitely not on the list of approved activities for the day after that procedure (I wasn't even allowed to take a shower today) - but I'm really hoping to get in more good paddling over the winter. 

And here's more pictures!