Canoeing to My Destiny
Copyright© 2012 by Lance Manne
When I finally came to, it took me a few seconds to get my bearings. Someone was holding my head. When I moved to see who it was, I noticed that the face and hair were shimmering with light. Later, when I regained my senses, I realized that the sun had been directly behind the person, giving the impression of an aura. Two hands were cradling me gently.
I quickly took a survey of my injuries. My head was throbbing, my side was aching, and my ankle was in a great amount of pain. It didn't feel like anything was broken, so I started to move. I heard a woman's voice instruct me to lie still for a little longer. I was in no big hurry, so I followed her instructions and lay there, analyzing my current situation.
My head hurt, but I didn't feel sick or nauseated. My side was sore, but it wasn't anything that I had not endured before. My ankle was my big concern. How would I be able to portage if I had a major sprain or break?
As my eyes began to adjust, I noticed two men standing over by my canoe. They appeared to be in their mid twenties. They nodded at me when they saw me gaze in their direction. I told the person who was holding my head that I wanted to get up. When I attempted to sit up, I became dizzy, so I laid my head down on her lap again.
Gradually, I was able to sit up and turn to look at my rescuer. I was very pleased by what I saw. She had an incredible head of hair, which was a beautiful shade of red. She had a few freckles on her cheeks and one of the most beautiful faces that I have ever laid eyes on. And her eyes, they were a beautiful shade of blue. It was the coloring of blue that you rarely see in a person's eyes. They were deep and clear. I was very impressed by her beauty, and quickly averted my gaze when I realized I had stared too long.
With an amazing voice, soft and feminine, she related the events of the last few minutes. First, however, she asked one the guys to run to the canoe and retrieve her backpack. With the pack in hand, she located an ice pack, the kind you shake to get cold, and placed it over my ankle. Then she handed me some aspirin and some water.
She told me that they had been paddling by and saw me stumble and fall. When I didn't get up, she instructed the guys to paddle over to the landing. Upon touching the shore, she jumped out of the canoe and ran over to where I lay. She checked me over and then gently cradled my head in her lap. She said she had wanted to get my head off the wet earth.
I learned that she had agreed to come up with these guys because she had always wanted to travel in the canoe wilderness, having heard so much about it. She told me that she really liked what she had seen already and planned on coming back in the future.
She said my ankle appeared to be sprained and my pupils didn't seem to be too dilated. She said that it was fortunate that my head hit one of the logs, rather than striking one of the large rocks that were along the trail. When she came over to check the back of my head, I caught a whiff of the most incredible aroma. Her hands gently probed the back of my head and then she informed me that there appeared to be a medium sized bump that was forming. She took another one of the ice packs and placed that over the back of my head.
I could not believe my luck at being administered to by such a beautiful lady. I wouldn't say that she was a classic beauty, by definition, but to me, she was off the charts. There appeared to be some chemistry happening between us. I could see it in her eyes. She really looked at me, and looked deep into my eyes. Maybe I was just imagining it and she was really checking the dilation of my pupils. For me, however, I was becoming very interested in this woman.
The guys were getting anxious, so she told them to go ahead and paddle over to the visit the waterfall. She said she would stay with me and made sure I was OK. They were more than happy to leave and I watched as they climbed into their canoe and paddled away. I noticed that the sky was clearing and it looked like it might turn out to be a very nice day.
I discovered that the guys must have lifted the canoe out of the trees and placed it over a nearby log. I began to think about how I would go about traveling back to my camp. Fortunately, the portage was short, and I would probably be able to make it by leaning on a canoe paddle. Paddling wouldn't be difficult, but getting out of the canoe, back at camp, would present a few challenges.
I figured I would just lie low for a few days, and try to recover as best I could. I had taken several weeks off, so time was not an issue. My main concern was the condition of my ankle. I had left my taller boots back at camp, since I knew this portage was short. Maybe I would be able to tape them up to provide some extra support to my ankle. For now, I just sat and rested.
I was beginning to get a little warm, so I removed my jacket and laid it over a log. I noticed that she was looking at me, so I flexed a little arm muscle. From the corner of my eye I could see that she was still looking. I must admit, even I like to admire the flexing of the bicep/triceps muscles. I saw her look away, but I thought I caught a glimpse of a tiny smile.
I started to get a little upset at my current situation. I am not used to be being on the receiving end of sympathy. I am usually the one who endures the pain, helps the needy, and sucks up any inconvenience. Now, it seemed, I would be dependent on this woman for a short period of time. I didn't like it at all.
I looked around and found a canoe paddle lying close to me. I grabbed it and tried to use it as a crutch to stand up. I was rather clumsy, but I was finally able to stand on one leg. I couldn't see how I would be able to get the canoe and pack across the portage, so that I could return to my camp.
The woman, who had come to my aid, put out her hand and introduced herself as Dawn. Instantly my mind began racing, Dawn, the start of a new day. What a beautiful name. I immediately had visions of early morning sunrises. I could hear birds singing their morning songs. I could smell the sweetness of the dew, as the sun began to rise. Then reality kicked in.
She had come up here with two other guys and she had just been kind enough to help someone in trouble. What was I thinking? Where was that protective wall that I had been surrounded by for so long? I somehow managed to shake her hand and introduce myself. I told her that I appreciated her help, but I needed to get back to my campsite where I could rest and recover from my injuries.
She said she was more than happy to help. Before I could stop her, she had my canoe on her shoulders and was walking it down the portage. With my paddle as a crutch, I followed carefully after her. While I sat on a boulder by the shore, Dawn went back to get the rest of my equipment. My ankle was really hurting, so I didn't protest too much.
After she placed the gear in my canoe, I noticed that the two guys had come back from their trip to the falls. Dawn went over to them and I saw them talking quietly. They would look over at me from time to time and nod. Finally, they headed back to their canoe and Dawn came over to talk to me.
While my head had been lying on her lap, I had told her that I was camping on the lake on the other side of the portage. Anybody who travels these waters knows enough to purchase a map with the location of the campsites. Since there was only one campsite on this lake, she was able to tell them where I was camping.
She informed me that she was going to help me get back to my campsite and make sure I would be OK. The guys were going to go fishing and would stop over later to pick her up. I tried to protest, but she would not listen. She told me how it was going to be and that was that.
I really didn't protest too much. Secretly, I wanted to spend a little more time with her. There was something about her that was drawing me to her. It seemed like she had cast a spell over me. I mentally slapped myself and decided it must be a mental lapse as a result of the injuries and my unstable state.
I carefully made my way into the canoe. Dawn pushed us off and we began paddling back to my camp. It wasn't too difficult sitting in the canoe, as long as I could stretch my leg out. We commented about the beautiful scenery around us. It didn't seem like much time passed before I could see my tent.
It was really nice having a woman at the front of my canoe again. Her hair looked beautiful against the sky. Her shoulders and arms were strong but very feminine. "Stop it!," I told myself. She is just a kind person helping out a fellow traveler.
I maneuvered onto a rock and watched as she pulled the canoe up onto the shore. I rolled up my pant leg and dangled my foot in the cool water. It felt very good and I hoped that it would help to prevent any future swelling.
Dawn found a rock to sit on and we began to talk. We had a good talk and we discovered many things about each other. I learned that she was a waitress, but she was studying to become a nurse. She had met the two guys; she was traveling with, at the sport bar where she worked. They had invited her along and she thought it would be fun. She had been on numerous backpacking trips and several other canoe trips with friends.