Floating Down the River – Without a Boat

Not all baraminology research has to be formal study. Sometimes it means just getting out in creation and taking a relaxed look around … enjoying what is there to be experienced. It means seeing creatures in their natural environment or habitat. Such adventures come in all shapes and sizes. Some are well planned and others contain many surprises. One summer, during my university years, I decided to float down a river to experience what I thought would be some relaxing scenery. Many times I had sat quietly in the forest, sometimes for hours and so many interesting animals would just come by, sometimes at close range. In this case, I am the one floating by their territory or location. This adventure had some surprises.

The Cuyahoga River meanders through Northeast Ohio. It is fairly level and without anything that could be called rapids, although a few little waterfalls do occur along the way. I chose a stretch of river without any falls and planned my entry point and a few possible places to exit and walk back to the car. In general, it was actually a pleasantly warm day to do this. I arrived, got in the water and prepared for my trip. I was simply going to float and let the current take me downstream – little if any swimming would be involved. Much of the trip was relaxing and the scenery with the forest on either side was quite pleasant.

As I started the trip, I quickly noticed a lot of pricks on my legs. Something was trying to nibble on the hairs in the water. The water was too muddy to really see what was there, but I have heard reports from others that fish will do this. I was also very much surprised at how closely one could float next to the waterfowl on the water … with just my head above water I could almost float within touching distance … but I kept my hands at my side and just watched the ducks watching me. Similarly, the animals along the shoreline such as herons and squirrels paid little, if any, attention to me.

The first adventure came at a bend in the river. As I approached I saw a beaver in the water staring at me. I have seen beaver in wild before … with it on land and in the water. Suddenly, this creature looked a lot bigger and I knew it was a very good swimmer with strong teeth and claws while I was not much of a swimmer at this point in my life. This animal also did not back down. I do not know if I was near its den or if it was just curious … but It stared at me much more intently than did the ducks (or was it just my imagination?). If I was near its den, would it defend itself I wondered? Eventually the current drifted me downstream and that confrontation was over.

After that, I was floating down the stream quite distracted by the scenery when suddenly I stopped in the water. I had hit an object and the current was pressing me against it. Although it felt like a gentle motion while floating, I realized the river was more shallow and flowing more quickly here and the force of the water was making it very difficult to get disengaged from the mystery object. It turned out to be a fallen tree and I had struck part of the trunk. I had hit it with enough force to cause a small bruise on my leg.

The final adventure on this trip was a big bend in the river. By big bend I mean it was more than 90 degrees – perhaps 130 degrees. As I soon found out, the water would enter the bend and go through something like a circular whirlpool motion before exiting and continuing downstream. I was immediately pulled into this whirlpool motion … but I did not exit it like the water. I do not know how long I was stuck in this … probably not that long in reality, but I was already tired and it was a struggle to swim sideways with enough force to get out of this and onto shore. Looking back, the motion of the water did not seem that bad from shore.

I was exhausted by this point. I rested. I walked back to the car and went on my way. I did enjoy my trip down the river and my encounters with the animals… but at what cost? I was bruised, I was tired, perhaps I could have been attacked by a beaver, or worse with the watery whirlpool. This was one of my two big lessons to not underestimate the strength of water. At least I learned that much, as I have been more cautious with water ever after.

Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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