lessons learned on the delaware

There’s no better place to be on a hot July day then on the water.  It’s been a hot summer so far and we have spent many days in swimming pools and lakes, swimming the day away.  My (spoiled) kids were beginning to become bored with swimming, so we decided to try something different- a trip down the Delaware River.  We decided to go on a 6 mile float down the Delaware with some friends.   The trip taught us some valuable lessons that I figured I would share.

Lesson 1:  four adults and eight kids equals some major logistic planning.  Between us two couples we have an 11year old, two 9 year old’s, a 7 year old, a 6 year old, a 5 year old,and two 4 year old’s.  Our first question was do we have enough boats and, if so, how will we would fit in them.  We actually did have enough (2 canoes and 3 kayaks) and, after some discussion, we had a place for everyone.  Next came discussions on food, where to go, how to get there, where to leave what car, and who would drive and who would stay.  We were exhausted before we even began the trip!

Lesson 2:  kayaks make great homes for mice.  The day before our trip my husband  Jeff retrieved our canoe and two kayaks from the back of our property where they have been stored since last summer.  He discovered that numerous mice had made nests in them and there were ants and ant eggs everywhere.  They smelled so bad!  Lots and lots of scrubbing and rinsing was required.  Yuck!

Lesson 3:  it’s really hard to remove mouse smell.  The next day you could still smell mouse in the boats.  Jeff actually submerged the boats to clean them some more but they were still stinky!

Lesson 4:  suntan lotion burns eyes. I sprayed my four year old with “baby” suntan lotion and some got in her eyes.  She cried and cried until I rinsed her eyes with soap and water.  Jeff put some lotion on for faces thinking it would not bother his eyes but, as soon as he started sweating, it ran right into his eyes and burned and burned them.  He was quite miserable (and may or may not have cried)!

Lesson 5:  nothing like a current to keep things moving.  The river was running slow due to lack of rain, but there was still a current, and with kids any current helps.  Paddling was very slow but at least we were always moving!

Lesson 6:  you can still manage to lose your kids on a river.  My friend and I were talking when we suddenly realized that my son, who was paddling a kayak with his 4 year old sister, had suddenly disappeared.  We picked up our pace and in a few minutes passed some people who pointed up ahead and said “they’re up there”.  They probably couldn’t figure out why a couple of kids were kayaking the river alone.  We found my son and daughter up around the bend just where the man had pointed in the water swimming!!!  My son said “don’t worry mommy, I was watching Anya”.  Lecture ensued!

Lesson 7:  all kids really want to do is play in the water.  I think their favorite part of the day was at the end of our ride.  We finished the 6 mile trip in 3.5 hours (which means the current did most of the work!) and landed on a small beach.  While our husbands went to retrieve the other car and load the boats, all of the kids had a great time catching tiny frogs, crayfish, and spiders and swimming in the river.  They were thrilled!

All in all it was a fun day (my husband may disagree on that!) and a great trial run for all of us for boating with the kids.  My eleven year old did a great job paddling himself and no boats flipped so I considered the day a success.  I highly recommend a trip down the Delaware or any river that you may live near.  It’s a fun, relaxing (if you don’t have kids) way to spend a hot summer day!

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