Don't try this at home

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By Charlotte Underwood

Who needs to travel to Canada for the Winter Olympics? Especially with all the snow that we’ve been having right here in East Tennessee lately? We can have some winter games right here in our own back yard. Or at least that’s what my friends and I thought last week when we decided to invent an extreme winter sport of our own-snow canoeing.

I can’t recall exactly whose bright idea it was, mine or my buddy’s’, but there we went, dragging a 14 foot, 55 pound canoe up the tallest mountain that we could find out on the farm. It took a while to get it up there, with several; unnamed persons saying what a bad idea they thought it was the whole time, you know who you are. After all that grunt work I was resolved to make the best of this single ride. I announced that we had better all get in because this was a one-time ride, or at least I wasn’t going to drag the thing back up the mountain. So we all got in; all four of us. And the dog. I had a paddle and the dog with me in the back, while my friend in the front also had a paddle. The theory was if we got going too fast we could use the paddles to slow down. The paddle was also needed to stop us before we got to the barbed wire fence that lay at the bottom of the hill.

So there we were, all of us over the age of 25, and not a one of us with the sense to not go through with the scheme at hand. The dog, which was really just a puppy, whined a little as we piled into the canoe. She knew something was amiss.

After we were all in, there must have been at least 600 pounds in that little red canoe. As the last person hopped in, the canoe started to go before any of us were really ready. Now keep in mind, it wasn’t one of those metal canoes with sharp edges that probably wouldn’t go too well in the snow. No it was one of those sleek plastic canoes that might as well be a bobsled for all the speed that we quickly picked up. We had gone 60 feet and it felt like we were going 50 miles per hour. It was like being on a luge. Frantically, I jabbed my paddle down into the snow in an attempt to slow us down as the speed increased even more; the fence was suddenly much closer than it had been a mere second ago. The paddle was ripped from my hand with the force of our speed.

“Bad idea guys it was a bad idea- everybody bail,” My best friend sitting in front wasted no time and out she went before the words were even out of my mouth.

We sped onwards.

“I mean it ya’ll, it was a bad idea,” I said, my tone now reflecting my panic as I clutched the dog to me. Then overboard into the snow we went.

My buddy with the other paddle jumped out at the last minute, dragging his feet with a herculean effort. He used some serious Flintstone brakes and plowed himself into the snow, but the canoe finally stopped, the last passenger still inside. As we all lay there in the snow laughing, someone jokingly asked, “Want to do it again?” And despite the fact that we did not go down that hill again, I continue to search for the perfect snow canoeing hill-one without any fences at the bottom.