This weekend was a great one. I went to Summerfest in Nob Hill Albuquerque for the first time in the many years I have lived here. That was…interesting. But while I was there a friend texted me and invited me along with him and his kickball friends to a float trip of the Rio Grande the next day. Sounds lovely, no?
So I woke up at the crack of dawn, made some sandwiches, crammed my kayak into my tiny tuna can of a car, picked up my friend and had a breakfast burrito, and proceeded up to Alameda. We parked the tuna can at the take out point and crammed into another friend’s car and proceeded on up to Bernalillo, where we were going to put in. The objective was to float the 12 miles down (around 4 hours) and then use my car as a shuttle back to the put in location. Easy peasy.
What a perfect day too. It was sunny, the water (yes, the Rio is pretty gross but one can’t be too picky out here) was cold and the wildlife was beautiful.
I did immediately find one floating turd that tried to follow me for a while, but I out paddled it and got along with my bird watching. The catfish were jumping and driving me crazy because I hadn’t brought my fishing rod (I don’t think my NM fishing license covers fishing on the reservations).
We giggled along, sometimes floating in groups and sometimes going solo and silent for stretches. I knew about half the folks present, and the new half were all just fantastic people. We all shared a watermelon as we came up on the ye old rope swing.
The water has been high this year. More than normal. The little bank that allowed scrambling access from the boats up to the swing was washed away. We floated on for a bit to find a bank to pull up the boats. We were sure there’d be a path from the next bank back to the swing. We found a bank, but no path, and the bush was thick and wild on the shoreline. The water moves fairly fast so my buddy Manny and I decided we couldn’t swim back up the river, that’d we have to bushwack it. So we did, about 70 yards through brush and brumble, thorns and poison sumac. By the time we got to the swing we were bruised and bloodied, and the others had figured out to park their boats on the other side of the river and simply swim across. They were already there waiting, laughing.
Now, true to Lindsay form, I fearlessly swung out over the river, high as a kite, flying across the beautiful NM sky.
And somehow the rope swing swung back, wrapped around my left ankle, tightened like a noose, and I dangled upside down in the river until the guys swam out to cut me down.
How can one fuck up going off a rope swing? I wish I knew. Freak accident.
So that’s be beginning of my summer. A severed muscle, giant ankle, a throbbing hematoma, and poison sumac. I greet far too many seasons with a limp. Le sigh.
BUT it was pretty fucking funny once the danger of drowning was passed.
I spent the rest of the river trip with my foot propped up on my kayak, an ice pack in tow, and sipping a delicious and cold Tecate. What a fun day.