April 5, 2019

Suwannee River Trip

by Douglas Blaine Matthews (author's profile)



Dear Reader

Hey! I hope you are doing well.
Suwannee River trap!

As my tribe and I landed down the Suwannee River we found ways to make it fun... and of course more comfortable.

On some days, well... most days, the sun was blistering hot. I felt like I could fry an egg on my head. So we would often find the shadows, on the side of the river, where the trees arched real high over the edge of the water. Sometimes the trees, quite literally, shot out of the ground growing sideways and dipped into the water. I take it was just because the ground was so soft right near to the water so as it grew taller the weight of it pulled it down. Well, it made fun for us... Limbo! We'd play follow the leader and the goal was to fit underneath the tree, in constant motion, and without touching it. This game got really good as sometimes there was literally only inches left to duck under for me, being in stern, it posed a little extra excitement... When we'd limbo underneath those with only inches left, I had to lean backwards, hooking my feet under the cargo bar in front of me (or seat) over the water... [emoticon face with sweat drops] Yeeeeaah, I felt like a lure for a gator. All it would have to do is leap a foot out of the water, and snatch me right out of the canoe. Like how the croc in the movie Lake Placid snatched that bear off the riverbank... but no worries, my life was spared. Ha! Ha!

So, we're limboing under a particularly low tree and the guy in the middle knocked the tree... uh-oh! He was laying back, already, with his bandana over his eyes and tried to sit up, knocking his head on the tree we were under. Well... something had fallen out of one of the tree's limbs and landed right on his throat. I saw it... the kid in bow saw it... as the kid in the middle grabbed what fell on his neck/throat the kid in bow screams - VIPER!! IT'S A VIPER!! and the kid sees the green snake as he pulls it off his throat and panic hits! He throws it off his throat + jumps up in the canoe. The guy in bow screams "Aaaa! Not on me asshole!" and he twist, rocking the canoe even more. We're tipping left + right, close to jumping our canoe. I yell, "Sit down!!! You're going to flip us!" repeatedly, glancing to the excitement on the front of my canoe and to the water. Thinking the gators are watching us + licking their chops waiting for one of us to fall in.

The guys in the front calm down + I say, "Man, that's just a tree snake, that ain't no viper", so guy in bow treats it like it's an infant, makes baby noises + wags his forefinger at it... [worried emoticon] Souped!

He then screams, "Aaa! It's eating my finger! Get it off, get it off!!!"

I'm laughing my tale off! Ha! Ha! Ha! He's holding his right hand with his left with his right forefinger sticking straight up and the "tiny" tree snake, sure enough, trying to swallow his finger! Ha! Ha! Ha! It was so funny I completely forgot about how close we came to being a gator's lunch! Ha!

I steered us over to our chief's canoe where he removed the snake from his finger. It was a very comical moment.

Unfortunately, for the snake it ended not so well. The chief put it on the end of his paddle and launched it the 60-70 feet to land so it wouldn't get eaten by a gator or fish... but it smacked into a tree and landed with a thud... we assumed it didn't make it...

As we floated in a circle (4 canoes) our light + funny moment came to an end. We were told of a tragic death over the radio our chief carried with him to keep track of the weather. In 2 days we'll be passing a place, where, just that morning, a small child was snatched off a small dock by a gator. I remember paddling over + looking up at the house and wondering what the family was going through... The house looked dark.

I hope you enjoyed this story. I have one more to tell while on this river. That'll be in my next blog. I met up with a group of manatees... before I learned they don't eat meat.

Until next time.

Yours truly,



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