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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Drakes Creek - 18 miler

West Fork of Drakes Creek:  Ditmore Ford to Sadlers Fork     10.5 miles             748.5 miles
Between 65 degrees to 70 degrees, still some snow on the bank from a heavy snowfall the weekend before.
13 paddlers - 12 kayaks, 1 canoe with Bowling Green Kayakers (me, Scotty, Ann, Duane, Powell, Wendall, Sheila, AJ and 5 more....)

The week had been snowy and cold, but on Saturday most of the snow had melted and the temperatures were predicted to be much higher.  We set out with the Bowling Green group.  We met at a Country store, then shuttled cars to the end.  When the group was altogether we set off for Ditmore Ford to put in our kayaks.  It was a muddy put-in, we had to walk down a leafy, muddy bank to put in our kayaks, and off we went.  The river was flowing pretty fast.  We could have finished this paddle faster, but we had some obstacles to paddle past and many times, we went through these places one at a time with Duane guiding us.  About half-way through the paddle, there was a small strainer and a narrow entry to get our kayaks through.  One of the group, AJ capsized her kayak and was completely submerged.   Cold, cold water!  (So glad it wasn't me.)  She had on waterproof clothes and said she wasn't cold.  We continued on.  The skies were blue that day and the sun came out, enough for me to take off my jacket.  We found a flat spot and had a small lunch break.  We passed under mistletoe and a few heron rookeries.  At one point, there was a tree that had fallen across the creek.  The only way to get past it was to walk up a muddy bank and portage our boat past it; or lay down completely in our boat and glide under it.  The majority of us decided to lay down, BUT the only problem was that many of our boats had cold water on the bottom.  So we laid down in cold water!  Yes, I had on paddle pants, but the water got in through the pants pockets and my behind was cold for the remaining 3 or so miles!  The take out was just before a low concrete bridge that went across the creek.  Just before the bridge were small, but steep embankments on each side.  We 'parallel parked' at the base of some rocks/dirt.  While the boater got out, the others on shore held onto our boats and pulled the kayaks up the steep little hill.
We shuttled back to the country store.  Scotty and I changed clothes.  We were hungry and tired, and just a bit cold.  We couldn't wait to get home to get a warm shower, change into dry, warm clothes and have a bowl of potato soup.  We watched some TV and couldn't get to bed fast enough after this paddle!

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