Saturday, July 12, 2014

Big Red Rides the Slocom River

There are very few group paddles that we feel are OK to take along Bug. The Slocom River paddle felt like it would be an OK trip, so we e-mailed the coordinator to double check. She said it would be fine, so we packed up Bug's new kayak, a big red Wilderness System's Northstar double, and H's kayak for a fun adventure.
The night before we did a camp out night at the Y, so we our schedule to get to the put in was tight. We had to take down the tent, feed the cat, and ourselves before getting on the road. We actually figured we would be late and aimed to be just late enough that the group would leave without us and we could catch-up. My thinking was that it wouldn't hold anyone up. If we showed up before they left, say five minutes late, everyone would wait around for 10 minutes while we got our act together.
It turned out our plan didn't matter. Carleen and Cat, very nicely, decided to wait for us. As a result, the whole paddle kicked off 30 minutes late. The paddle was split into two groups, level 2 and level 3, by design. As it turned out, we were the only level 2 paddlers. Carleen graciously gave us a guided tour of the river.
It was a great day on the water. The weather was perfect: warm, sunny, and dry. There was a slight breeze, but nothing troublesome. Bug had fun on the way down the river. She looked for ducks and sang us a few songs. She also dragged her paddle in the water which made steering interesting. Fortunately, Big Red handles fairly well for a double and it was easy to keep on track without deploying the rudder.
At lunch we chatted and Bug made mud pies on the beach. We spotted little fish, crabs, and snails.
The wind was a little troublesome on the way back. It was just enough of an angle that Big Red weather cocked. I deployed the rudder and once I adjusted to using a rudder, the weather cocking stopped being a problem. I focused my paddling energy on forward motion and my feet on directional stability.
About half-way up the river, Bug put her paddle down, snuggled into her seat, and fell asleep. It didn't look like the most comfortable nap spot, but I'm sure her four year old body can be comfortable in places my forty year old body cannot.
There were a couple of places on the way back that the river gets pretty shallow. Carleen did a good job of keeping in the channel. I don't want to have to discover how hard it would be to drag Big Red out of a mud bank....
We all had a great day on the water. Carleen was very generous to take such good care of our little pod. The trip was a great length for all of us. Bug didn't get bored; H and I both went far enough to feel like it was a good paddle without going far enough to feel pooped. It is days like this that make me happy.

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