Jason and the shuttle guy leaned against the truck and spoke in low tones, both staring at the brilliant green, yellow, and red blobs that moved across Jason’s iPhone screen as Chris and I pulled on our raingear and began to rummage through our tackle. It didn’t look good. Eavesdropping, I heard the shuttle guy say, “I don’t know. Under normal circumstances I’d tell you to forget floating today. Anything could happen." "But,” he paused, taking a quick glance in our direction, “you might just give it a shot. These two seem to know what they’re doing.”
I turned to see who he was talking about.
An hour earlier, Jason, Chris and I had been sitting in the Silva Wal-Mart parking lot, sipping our morning coffee while the dark skies pissed rain and belched thunderclaps. None of us wanted to say anything, but we each knew what the others were thinking – and we didn’t want to admit it. Jason worked the iPhone hard, bouncing between weather radar images, forecast sites, and texts from other guides who were also working their phones hard – calling clients to cancel the day’s trips.
But Jason hadn’t been ready to give up on the Tuckasegee just yet, so we had another doughnut and waited – waited for the first break and then headed down to the Tuck
to see. High, a bit, but only moderately stained, though probably not for long. Any window would undoubtedly be small.
Jason and the shuttle guy appeared to come to an agreement and called us over. “All bets are off, “ said Jason. “Conditions are really squirrely. I’d be completely okay with rescheduling to another time. But, there’s a break between the fronts and if you’re willing to take a chance, I’m game. Worse comes to worse, we ditch the boat and hunker down for a while. One thing’s for certain - we’ll have the river to ourselves. Not sure if it will be worth having, though. It’s your call. What do you want to do?”
I looked at Chris. Chris looked at me. The rain turned to pea-sized hail.
And, as one, we smiled.
The shuttle guy chuckled and turned to take the empty trailer downstream to the takeout.