I am covered in a rash. Well … not actually covered. My BELLY is covered. Then there are spots on my elbow, right hip, left shin, right knee. I started itching on Saturday when I pulled my bathing suit off. I couldn’t figure out what caused this rash …
until Sunday when I put my sunglasses on after church.
The top of my ear where my sunglasses arm rests was sore … and began to itch.
And then it hit me ; chiggers.
They love to climb to the soft skin that is tucked behind
bathing suits, waistlines of shorts, socks …. and yes, I guess, sunglasses arms.
So, I’m keeping a bottle of anti-itch spray at arm’s length.
And, honestly, the slight irritation (okay, it’s more than slight) of this itch
is so.worth.the.way I became covered with chiggers.
Saturday, Joy and I paddled down the Savannah River with the annual Savannah Riverkeeper fundraiser called Paddlefest.
There were boats lined up everywhere. They crowded the walking/running path ….
and crossed the walking bridge.
I’d estimate that hundreds competed between the homemade boat race, the competitive kayak/canoe race and the recreational race.
For those of you who are from the Augusta area, we put our boats in on the river at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion/head gates and paddled all the way past downtown to the Boat House/Savannah Riverkeeper office.
To be honest, I have no idea how I ended up covered in chigger bites, but this girl had none. We sat in the same places, stood in the same spots and walked the same paths. But, somehow, I ended up as chigger lunch while this sweet, tender girl … who would have been a much more tasty treat … walked away scathe-free.
The canal was so beautiful Saturday morn. Across the water, you can see the tow path which is a walking, biking, running path (part of the Bartram trail) that actually winds its way all the way downtown.
Here we are at the start of the race. We were sent off in groups of around fifteen, with a new group launching every ten minutes. It was nice that we weren’t crowded on the river … but there were people around for support, if we needed it.
You can see in this photo that the water had a nice, strong current at points. There were plenty of rocks to dodge just under the water. It made our paddling just a bit more exciting than the canal affords.
One of the neatest things about paddling the river
was the chance to have a new perspective.
This is a huge, open, grassy area on the tow path
is a place that I have run, walked and biked many times.
I have taken a book and a blanket for an afternoon.
We have picnicked here.
And at times, we just stop here to stretch while we’re on the path.
Here is the Augusta Water Works Department on the river and canal. I’ve passed it dozens if not hundreds of times through the years … but never seen it from this point.
And, as many times as I have traveled OVER I-20 into South Carolina,
I’ve never been under it on the river.
This is a view of the Amphitheater at the River Walk in downtown Augusta. We’ve been here to many functions and concerts. It’s neat to see it from a fresh point of view.
We stopped once or twice for Joy to take a dip into the water. I held onto her boat (to make sure that it didn’t get carried away) so I didn’t feel comfortable joining her in the water (as we brought no rope to anchor us securely). Maybe I would have washed away some of the chiggers had I taken a dip? We’ll never know.
This was my only travel UNDER Spanish moss (which is known to be full of chiggers).
The water was simply beautiful … clear and cool. Along the way, we saw a snorkeler (an Augusta/Richmond County Dive Team member) who told us of all the wonderful things he had seen and found since moving to our area from California. He said he was afraid that he would find no underwater excitement here in our “landlocked” area, but has enjoyed finding arrowheads and seeing gar, bass, bream and snakes. Next time, Joy and I are definitely taking our gear!!
By the end of our water trek
– a good three-hour paddle –
Joy was exhausted.
I was tired as well, but she was such a trooper!
I’m incredibly happy that Joy has no sign of mite nibbles
on her sweet, tender skin …
but I have to tell you
– itchiness and all –
the chiggers were worth it.