I went canoeing for the first time today. I went with the WRAP youth group as one of the adult volunteers (chaperone/driver) on their summer outing. Good thing I have basic paddling and steering skills because we ended up having to ride with one or two kids and taking the back seat to steer the canoe. At first, the kids wanted to ride with their friends, but they got too excited and were paddling like crazy without steering. One boat went in circles and kept on hitting the riverbanks because all three kids in the canoe were steering their own way. I also had a fair share of river bank crashes and tree branch grazing – I got into a canoe with two kids who seem to not get that they should be paddling on the same side and leave the steering to me. Every time we get close to the banks, they start to panic and paddle faster instead. I forget how rowdy and noisy teenagers can be, and it was a little challenging telling them to stay seated on their canoes or directing them which side to paddle – they tend to just paddle as they please. Good thing I decided not to bring my DSLR camera because there were a few moments where we could have tipped over – a couple of mid-water passenger exchanges and my teenage kid rocking the canoe to his delight. However, they were still a good bunch of kids who enjoyed the paddle outing up the Nashua River. We stopped by a little river bank next to an old railroad bridge. The bank had a swinging rope hanging on one of the bigger trees and the kids had a lot fun taking turns on the rope and swinging their way into the water. We ended up having our lunch in the same spot. On our way back, we had a little detour to check out the painted turtles – and there were several of them! The river itself was calm and I can imagine how beautiful it will be when the autumn leaves come. It was a great first canoeing experience, and I’m sure I’m going to do it again.