PADDLE 3 - 9k - Newnans Lake - night
Before we get to Newnans Lake proper, we have to negotiate a really cool cypress swamp. It's like boat tetris trying to fit our canoes and teammates through the maze of trees and knees. Erl and I get through a bit more quickly than Rev3 because we only have 2 people to manage, so once we finally pop out into the lake we have a few minutes to soak it all in before we're joined by Rev3. And soak it in we do - the shoreline is protecting us from the bitter winds for the moment, and the clouds are ripping across the nearly-full moon. We play "what does this cloud look like?" game for a bit, and then settle into the business of paddling across a very wavy, dark, and cold lake.
|Rev3 playing boat tetris in the Newnans Lake swamp.
More hallucinations (boat flips and water treadmilling), plus now the trees on shore are morphing into New Orleans-style houses with ornate iron fences. It's actually kind of scary because falling asleep now would mean almost certain disaster - capsizing in a really cold lake. Not fun. We follow Rev3 along the shore as we try to locate the final CP on this stage. If it wasn't for Erl in the back of OWWWP's boat, I would be super freaked out as we paddle through crosswinds and lots of chop on the water, but I trust his paddling so much that I was mostly just concerned about keeping my eyes open. Finally, we slip into a side channel to the take out and are greeted with calmer waters.
TA - Kate's Fish Camp - very early morning
|Kate's Fish Camp during the day...we arrived in the dark.
TREK 6 - 12k - Prairie Creek Pet Cemetery - morning
There are 9 CPs in this section, separated into clusters of 6 and 3. The group of 3 is pretty far away in one direction so we decide to skip the whole thing, attacking the group of 6 instead. The 5 of us hike out of TA, the sun already lighting up the sky with a beautiful sunrise, but things are tense in Rev3/OWWWP-land. Joe got super stressed out by the tough conditions on the paddle, and is having a hard time focusing on the maps. We do our best to support him, but to me it's unclear if he needs silence or hugs to feel better. We stumble on the first CP almost by accident, since it's hung next to the trail but plotted much farther away. But that first flag seems to help Joe click back into the maps and pretty soon we are pinging the next 3 CPs around a swampy pond with ease.
On the way back, I realize I've been wearing 6 layers (LS baselayer, SS jersey, LS shirt, LS fleece, waterproof vest, waterproof jacket, plus gloves/buff/hat) since we got out of the boat, and I'm still not sweating or overheating. This is another affect of multi-day racing that's new to me: the inability of your body to regulate temperature effectively. I peel off layers as we shuffle back and it's like watching clowns emerge from a tiny car...it just keeps going! When we get back to TA, race staff inform us that the final 2 CPs were mis-plotted on the race maps which is why they were so difficult to locate. No idea how Joe figured that one out, but his I am in total awe of his skill as a (angry) navi-GATOR. Go team!
BIKE 4 - 120k - afternoon/evening
|Re-uniting with my people!
|Me pretending to help Joe.
|me and Britt: can we get off our bikes yet?
TA - State Park - sunset
|OWWWP legs. scratched up but still stylin!