Horseshoe Bend is 5 miles upstream from our local boat ramp. We got an earlier start a few weeks ago and managed to take the north, then west, then south journey in time to get to the community that was 20 feet underwater in the spring. The only signs of that are a few plastic things still in the tree branches. When we drew near in our Hobie Revolution Mirage Drives, a couple sitting by the shore asked us about our pedal drives. It had taken us 1.5 hours to get to that point. The man said it took him 3 hours from the same ramp with his trolling motor. Pretty sweet!

We intended to make it to the Horseshoe Bend boat ramp just because I had driven there before and wanted to see it from the water, but though the river was really wide, it got suddenly very shallow at the apex of the bend. We pulled in our pedal drives and our rudders, but the water was going fast enough to keep turning us around so that it was too slow going to try to keep in the right direction. With the sun getting close to the horizon we turned back.

It was still a fulfilling trip because, not only did we easily* go five miles, we got to see the tallest hill in the area, Conway Bluff, which is on the far side of Horseshoe Bend (the stubborn hills are the reason for that edge of the bend), but to the east of the apex. I know it’s the tallest from looking at the topo map.

*I have had plenty of energy for these trips, but I have been bothered by right side stitches. I looked it up and found the cause is unknown, but there are two prevailing theories. One is that the liver gets engorged with blood when someone is not used to running or swimming, for instance. Another is that that side of the diaphragm gets ischemic, or lacks blood supply. When this happens to me I have to slow down and stretch, and sometimes Rachel, my partner so far, offers to tow me. When she does I can stretch out and put my feet on the sides of the boat. This is the only thing that makes it totally go away. The advice is to eat 2 hours before the activity and not to eat hard to digest foods like protein and fat. That leaves carbs, which I avoid because of my borderline hypoglycemia. More on this later.

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