top of page
  • Writer's pictureRoberta Rathert

Encroach



 

I heard about a paddler in the hospital after heatstroke took its toll. Heat is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and, below St. Louis, heat advisories continue. Other paddlers report blistering, numbness in the hands from paddling, dangerous sunburns, and excess weight loss when nonstop movement cannot be compensated with tuna and trail mix.

 

I knew this river trip would be challenging but I only itemized a small number of difficulties before leaving. When these things are only thoughts there are no consequences. Going is still on the mind, like a teenager who’s been warned but only scoffs. They’ll do whatever it is they want.

 

In real life on the river, I have been overdrawn most days out here. It’s like being in a foreign land unable to hear or speak with full understanding, where I can’t count the money for a product because the writing on both is outside my knowledge.

 

In the Netherlands, I walked my feet to blisters because I bought new shoes there and didn’t wait to wear them when home. I limped into a pharmacy saying “Band-Aid” in english, showed my feet, made a pained face, and still wobbled out with nothing. I left behind two store clerks looking puzzled at one another.

 

Places outside our comfort, they can bring hazard.  It’s why people cling to what they know.  While on this river to mark a challenge about what we grasp tightly, I also am struggling for familiarity. I’ve been in flood waters at night, severe weather without cover, near drowning, unable to find dry ground. I've not known where I'll sleep or who I'll meet on most days. Concern for safety hovers over everything like a smog. I recently experienced severe dehydration and had a three-day blackout when my devices failed. I miss my family, my home, and the familiar. This is human weakness, my weakness.

 

At the moment, from my side of the river, I’m witnessing a young person stranded from a disabled jet ski on the other side. It’s too far to holler so, after an hour watching her try everything, I called the county sheriff's water patrol. Through my scope, I saw the teen's desperation after these unfamiliar circumstances came upon her.

 

Two days ago, a parasite invaded my camp and I was confused, but that was his intention.  Food or money wasn’t wanted, not my boat or gear, and he didn't drink my water supply. It was me he was after.  I woke abruptly in the night with an awareness of it as if a message just downloaded to tell me what to do. By morning, I arranged to go on the river alone, as rescue for myself. I was unharmed, but felt like prey for many hours after and still.


As I sit here now, watching the jet skier’s rescue, I feel relief to hear the familiar as she’s given help.  For me, I wonder how long I’ll remain out here.  Sun, heat, weather, risk, exhaustion, and thirst, yet no critter has encroached or harmed me.  It was a fellow paddler who came, not as friend, but foe.

 

292 views12 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Almost.

12 Comments


Guest
Jul 10, 2022

Bobbi, I am so glad you are doing well, take care of yourself. So sad a fellow paddler was not nice. Dawn

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

You are right, Dawn, sad that a fellow paddler had to behalf this way. All is well. He barely went on less than a week, then got off the river. Thanks for your support and comment. Miss you.

Bobbi

Like

Guest
Jul 09, 2022

Bobbi, I am praying for your safety. Ann B

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Ann, thank you. Your prayers answered for sure. I went on alone and had a very fulfilling time. I am home, healed up from heatstroke, feel blessed to have done the journey. I appreciate your support. Bobbi

Like

Guest
Jul 09, 2022

You have certainly encountered and dealt with a lot. A break sounds very necessary.

if your body is too exhausted you won’t be able to make safe decisions.

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

You are very right about this. Your comment is right on. I agree, it was difficult to make trustworthy decisions when it became so hot and I was not at 100%. So I took it as far as I could and I am home, healed, and glad to have done it. Thank you for your support and for reading my posts! Bobbi

Like

Guest
Jul 09, 2022

Oh dear. Sounds really, really tough. Glad you included your thought that safety hovers over everything.

Maureen F.

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Thanks, Maureen. Even though we all probably have our own and our loved ones' safety in mind most days, on the river it seemed to be very front and center at all times. Good for the risks that continued to reveal themselves. Thank you for being a part of this trip and the message of Paddling for Hope! Bobbi

Like

Guest
Jul 08, 2022

Bobbi,

I am so sorry that you have encounter such evilness. Take care.

Mary

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Thanks, Mary, I appreciate your comment. It was evilness, yes, and something we are always on the lookout for in life. Unfortunately this came out of nowhere in a vulnerable location - the river. However, things turned out well and I got on my way! All good.

Bobbi

Like
  • Facebook
bottom of page