We paddled 15 miles to find our campsite flooded. Having passed a few sites, we turned and searched upstream for another, but were unsuccessful. In what seemed like a few minutes, nightfall and a sudden thunderstorm were on the horizon - and we were still on the water. Shit got real. We abandoned the river and stashed the kayaks in the brush, hiking through the woods to a well coordinated getaway car. Cell phones are handy.
We returned for the kayaks in the morning, to finish our paddle. An eighth of a mile from where we had turned back the night before we came upon the softest sandy beach, with trees perfect for our planned hammock hideout. I'm certain that we would have gotten our tarp up in time to weather the short thunderstorm if we had continued on the night before.
A small deer on the shore near the could've-been-campsite looked up from drinking the St. Croix water and stared back at us as we floated by. It was as if he knew what our past 24 hours entailed and was smirking back, enjoying our anguish. There was nothing to do but laugh, and continue our paddle. Despite many the many "If only..." statements that followed, deep down I think we all enjoyed the craziness. You set out on trips like these to make memories with good friends, so in that regard, we absolutely succeeded.