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Saturday, May 30, 2015

West Fork and a Flip

West Fork River                                                  12.6 miles                              589 total
With PAU (me, Scotty, Suzie, Lisa, Cliff, Jerry, Dan)
Weather - about 80 degrees, beautiful blue skies
Total Paddling Time 4:17, Avg Speed 2.9, Max Speed 8.7

Scotty and I met the others at Clarksville's new put-in.  There will be 7 of us paddling; Blueway Adventure took our kayaks up into Kentucky where we put in our kayaks.  There was a little jump in the water that we had to get past, and we all managed.  It was a perfect day for paddling.  We like the smaller groups as we get to know the other paddlers.   We met the other 5 people and really enjoyed talking with all of them today.  It sure is fun learning about other people as you're paddling down a beautiful river.  We stopped for lunch on a rocky bank.  There aren't a lot of pull-overs on the West Fork.  The paddle was fairly uneventful.  We looked for 2 kayaks that were stuck in a strainer.  We found the strainer and it was huge, but Jerry decided he wasn't going to ruin a perfect paddle by climbing for 2 kayaks.  We took another short break farther down the river.  It was soon after that there was a fork in the river.  I followed Jerry (mistake as he is a whitewater paddler).  He yelled to go left, but it was too late.  I attempted to turn around, but instead got sucked right into the current under a tree and just like that - my boat flipped over.  It really took my breath away being under that cold water.  I got to shore, they pulled my boat over and I worked on emptying the boat!  I lost nothing, but my dignity - heck that was long gone (especially as I decided that it would now make a good time for my bathroom break since I was already in the river).  The take out has a pretty strong current, but we managed to get all 7 kayaks over to the steps.  And the hardest part of the whole day was carrying the kayaks up the steps at the end.  Great weather, great people, great paddle and as I'm typing up this blog 2 hours later, it is pouring down rain (the rain that was predicted to come earlier today)>

Jerry, Lisa, Suzie, Dan, Julie, Scotty (Chip was taking photo)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Red River - 104

Red River                                                                       7.8 miles traveled       576.4 total
Me, Scotty & Ethan and 104 +++
81 degrees, 2:00-4:00
Average Speed 3.7 mph, Max Speed 6.9, 2:06 hours time

Most paddles are uneventful.  This was uneventful as far as the paddling, BUT it was Memorial Day weekend, Sunday (and Monday was forecasting heavy rain).  So lots of people took advantage of the beautiful day and were on the river.  I counted 104 kayaks/canoes/tubes - so that would be 104 people or more as some boats had 2 people.  The campground was absolutely packed.  For the first time ever, we couldn't park at the take-out as it was too full, couldn't park across the street and had to go a little ways up the road to park.  The river was calm.   Scotty, Ethan and I paddled without a break and made very good time.  Minus the 104+ other vessels on the water, it was a relaxing day :)

Such a windy river!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sycamore Creek - May 17

Sycamore Creek
Me, Rachel, Beatrix, Kevin w/ Paddle Adventures, led by Michael - 24 total

It looked like the rain was going to bypass us, so we headed to Sycamore Creek which we had never paddled before.  We met on the highway near the bridge over the water.  Then we took our cars to the take-out.  We parked near the mill on a farmer's land - I'm sure I could never find it again.  While we were gone, the remaining kayakers had taken the majority of our kayaks down to the river.  It was a steep, muddy embankment to get the kayaks down to the water.  Only 25 feet down the creek, it was extremely shallow and we had to carry our kayaks to water where they could continue floating.   That was a foreshadowing of the day to come.  I don't think I have ever jumped in and out of my boat more than I did that day.  We were constantly hitting bottom, scraping along, and then jumping out to pull our boats along.  We heard thunder and lightning and stood on the shore for a good 30 minutes.  The rain died down and we got back in to paddle.  The rain came back with a vengence and we either didn't hear any thunder or chose to ignore it.  We paddled for the next 2 hours in rain and at times - really heavy rain.  It got to be funny, we'd pass each other and just laugh.  And, of course we were completely soaked, fortunately it wasn't a cold day or a cold rain.  There was one tree that was hanging low over the water - this was my favorite tree of the whole day.  I had to lay completely back on my kayak and float under the tree - Whee!  At the end of the paddle is a waterfall/dam near the Ashland City mill.  We pulled our kayaks up - surprise - a steep, muddy embankment and this one was covered in poison ivy!  We got up the hill onto a golf course and carried our kayaks down past the waterfall.  We carried our kayaks down a rocky bank.  Once in the water, many of us posed for pictures in front of the waterfall - it really was beautiful and a nice ending to a strenuous day.  Once in the water, we had to paddle through the rocks then a little bit upstream to get to the other side of the creek - and we carried our kayaks up the last steep, rocky incline!

Rachel coming through 'white water' directly into a rock.

Some chose to walk through this section.

Rain, rain, rain, and more rain!

Beatrix trying to hide under a tree.

Rachel is REALLY glad she came today.

Walking down Sycamore Creek.

No - it wasn't fun.

Walking through here, I lost my shoe in the mud.  I pulled it out, I was NOT going to lose that shoe.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Harpeth River - Up the Creek Without a Paddle - May 2, 2015

Harpeth River                                                                          11 miles   560.8 total
Me, Scotty, Jim, Robin, Cameron
Put in - Highway 70, Take out - Narrows
Beautiful weather, blue skies, high 70s
Average Speed 2.9, Maximum Speed 7.2

Gorgeous, gorgeous day!  And apparently lots of other people thought the same thing.  It was the most crowded that I have seen the Harpeth River.  Interesting sight today - we saw snakes jumping out of the water.  Perhaps it is mating season?  I saw at least 4 doing this today.

"Up the creek without a paddle!"  Yes, I'm sure you've heard this saying, but today we saw just how bad it is to be up a creek without a paddle!  We got to a bank and noticed lots of people on the bank yelling to keep away from a tree on the right bank.  As we paddled by, we saw that a kayak was stuck in the tree.  We pulled over and learned that a kayaker had paddled into the strong current there, lodged his kayak and lost his paddle.  Scotty to the rescue.  He pulled out his two ropes, a true testament as to why you should be prepared on the river.  After much maneuvering, tying the rope in different places, Scotty, Jim and some others were able to tie onto the kayak.  Another man loosened some of the branches holding the kayak and the kayak started downstream.  Two young boys grabbed onto the rope and pulled the kayak to shore.  Andrew was the man paddling the kayak and he had a yellow bruise across his chest where he had hit a tree.  He said he has had experience paddling, but just got pulled into the current.  Not only had he lost his paddle, but he also lost his glasses.  Scotty separated his paddle into two and gave half to Andrew.  They paddled the rest of the way like that.  Andrew said he couldn't see far ahead of him, so we told him to watch for my green kayak and Scotty's orange kayak.  He was most appreciative and I'm sure we all have a new understanding of that saying!

Here's our route, but I didn't have the app on for the first part of the trip!

We pull over and pull out the ropes.

Scotty tries tying it to this tree, but it's too far away from the kayak.

Kayaks and canoes keep coming through and it's amazing that more don't capsize!

Scotty & Jim watching the fiasco.

Trying to pull the kayak out.

And yet another near disaster.

This man climbs into the tree loosening the branches.

He frees the kayak.

And these boys grab the rope!

Relaxing after the day's rescue.

This is the first time I've captured a Tennessee turtle in a photograph.  They're usually too fast!

I never get tired of the river's beautiful scenery!

Cameron's first paddle and she says she'll do it again!