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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Harpeth River - Spring has arrived!

Harpeth River                                                                  5.8 miles         1268.2 total
68-75 degrees
Avg Speed 3.8 mph, Max Speed 7.6 mph
2 hours 7 minutes elapsed time, 1:30 moving time

It's the first really nice day this spring so off we went, especially since tomorrow it is supposed to rain.  There was a good flow to the river.  We met 2 other girls that were trying out a tandem kayak.  When we stopped for lunch on a gravel bar, they also stopped there.  We passed a few fishermen, but very few people were on the river - surprising since it was so beautiful.  We finished and really wished that we could have gone longer.  (We especially wished this when we were home working in the yard for another 3-4 hours!)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Juniper Springs                                                    7.3 miles                1262.4 total
68 degrees, overcast
Put in 9:40, take out 12:30
2 hr 50 min, Average Speed 2.6mph, Max Speed 8.3 mph
(4th overall on Juniper springs)

We cleaned up the campsite in record time and headed to Juniper Springs. After unloading the kayaks, Scotty took the truck to the takeout and then got a ride back to Juniper Springs with one of the rangers. We ran down the boardwalk with our kayaks on carts in hopes of beating a large crowd that was there. This is spring break week and once again we noticed a crowd of people here. Attendant said that today an usually large crowd due to Easter week, spring break and poor beach quality. 

Juniper Springs was as beautiful as we had remembered it. It almost feels like a amusement park ride as it twists and turns and there’s beautiful scenery on both sides of the river. This creek is narrow the whole way and our 12 foot kayaks are almost too long for this run.  We had to maneuver our paddles by holding them upright or right in front of us. At some points, if we held them out side to side, we’d hit the trees on the banks! We didn’t feel like we were paddling fast, but we did pass four different groups of paddlers. (The last time we were on this creek, I'm pretty sure we didn't see anybody!) There are very few fish in this creek and for most of the way the creek is only a few feet deep and 6 feet wide with crystal clear water. I could hear birds as we paddled down, but never did see any. There is one section of the creek with a drop off but we were through it in about five seconds so I couldn’t say that it was even a little challenge. After hearing some screams in front of us, we did paddle past one alligator probably about 3 feet from our kayaks. I probably could have hit him on the back with my paddle, but wisely chose not to do that! 

We finished the run in two hours and 50 minutes, although the park claims it takes 3 1/2 hours to finish this run (that’s probably average for their average tourist). We loaded our kayaks and decided we were done kayaking for the spring break. Off to Valdosta Georgia.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Silver River - Mama & Baby Manatee

Silver River                                                                              11 miles            1255.1 total
Put in Ray Wayside Park at 9:45, Paddled up and back
Temp 77 degrees, some rain

We got to Ray Wayside Park and quickly got our kayaks out as we knew it was going to rain that day. We got in at 9:45 and paddled 5 miles upstream in three hours to Silver Springs State Park. Our arms got a good work out as we were definitely paddling against the current.  One thing we noticed this time were the large number of paddlers on the river. We don’t remember this many paddlers the last two times we were here.  Along the way we noticed fish in the water, many turtles on logs, and alligators on the bank, but we didn’t see the monkeys known to be along this river. 

We got to Silver Springs State Park and had lunch. The paddle back was definitely faster. We may have been averaging 29 minutes a mile going upstream and 15 minutes going downstream. Those aren’t really accurate estimations as we stopped several times to see the wildlife. We were lucky enough to see a mama Manatee and her baby. We watch them for maybe 20 minutes and tried to get several pictures as they swim under our kayaks. If the rain wasn’t coming we probably would’ve stayed longer but we did begin to feel drops. There was a good steady rain on us for a few miles, but it was warm and there was no thunder or lightning. Today was a long paddle and we were happy to get to the end. 

We went to Silver Springs Campground and knowing that the rain was coming, we hurried to get up our tent. We had the tent up and all of our sleeping stuff inside within 10 minutes. Yay us! The restrooms were just cleaned and we took hot showers. We ate dinner at Harry’s restaurant, a New Orleans style restaurant and the meals were excellent. A neighboring customer gave us a coupon so our dinner was very cheap!  We relaxed at the campsite for a while and decided to watch a movie. Alas, no movie for us tonight as the rain is too loud on our tent and we can’t hear the iPad. But it was another good night of sleep with a gentle rain all night long.