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witty woman

Fighting the heat was a challenge as Jill attempted to embrace the outdoors.


I’ve got words of wisdom if you’re planning a relaxing summer weekend getaway. Be specific in what you consider relaxing, as others— such as your husband—may confuse relaxing with challenging. 44 her voice voice 44 Summer Summer 2016 2016 || her

Last summer we had a rare free weekend. I mentioned I’d love to get away and relax. My husband, we’ll call him TVOR (The Voice of Reason), suggested we canoe a “nice, easy” stretch of the Mississippi River. It sounded wonderful… being outside with nature, soaking up the sun while “floating” along the river. We dropped my car off at the landing where we planned to end our trip before heading north in the truck with our canoe. It was high-noon when we embarked on the river… and 84 degrees. TVOR had planned for two short “easy-floating” days, so it would be a breeze, right? Speaking of breeze, we had none. Sweat drizzled down our bodies as we paddled. Hoping to cool off, we banked the canoe to wade… and ended up knee-deep in muck! Swimming was out of the question. And did I mention the heat? How about the fact we’d launched miles north of our plan, making our “easy day” longer in our now 90-plus degree weather. What fun! Wearing black biking gloves for my arthritic hands, they felt like burnt toast as I paddled (something I’d been assured I wouldn’t need to do!) Then there was my jack-hammer-migraine from the extreme heat. TVOR suggested I put my head down, close my eyes… and keep paddling towards camp. The problem was we couldn’t find the campsite! TVOR had marked it on his GPS via the DNR website. The sun was setting and we’d paddled way past where it should’ve been. We turned around and paddled back up river, sure we’d passed it, knowing DNR signs are the size of a fingernail. Meanwhile, we searched for other possible camp options. There was nothing but mucky banks and woods. So we turned and paddled south again. In our delirious-heat-exhaustion-state, miles after where it should’ve been, we spotted the tiny sign for the appropriately named Ms Keto campsite! After dragging the contents from our overloaded canoe up the mucky hill, my husband observed my nausea-green face. Ever-helpful, he pointed out a commode for me in the middle of the woods a block from camp. While envisioning my middle-of-the-night demise, TVOR nudged me. “C’mon, let’s move this cooler.” Helping to lug the enormous cooler, my arm was yanked from its socket. “How far do we have to go?” I may have whined. “How close do you want the bear?” TVOR asked. We finished setting up the tent before dragging out our air beds… and discovered we forgot to pack the bed-pump. With determination, TVOR blew them up, swooning from light-headedness. I was busy swooning from my heat exhaustion. After collapsing inside the tent, we fantasized about a cool one while I wrangled with my rising fear. What if I needed to get to a hospital? “We’d have to get back in the canoe and keep paddling until we came across a road,” said TVOR. Get back in the canoe in the pitch-black night? No thanks. I focused on calming Lamaze breathing and checked the time on my phone. And laughed. “What’s so funny?” TVOR asked. “It’s still 84 degrees!” It was after 10 p.m. In the complete darkness I may have asked a dozen times, “What was that?” whenever I heard a sound. Eventually I succumbed to exhaustion.

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Her Voice Magazine Summer 2016  

• Making Waves: We love our lakes, but do we care enough to preserve them? Claire Steen does. • A Snapshot of Cuba: While close in distance,...

Her Voice Magazine Summer 2016  

• Making Waves: We love our lakes, but do we care enough to preserve them? Claire Steen does. • A Snapshot of Cuba: While close in distance,...