Posts Tagged ‘kayak’

Weekend at James River State Park

Last weekend, Dan and I rented a lodge at James River State Park with two other families (Danny, Sally and Alex, and Paul, Terry, Katie and Nick), our dog Pippen, and Danny and Sally’s dog Cody. The occasion was the Nelson Downriver Canoe and Kayak Race in Nelson County. After the race, we enjoyed a picnic by the river and then medals were awarded. Paul and Nick won second place in the Open Canoe/Father & Son class. Way to go, guys!

The lodge has a fully equipped kitchen, six bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a back porch with rocking chairs, a picnic table and a large grill. We brought food and drinks, grilled dinner, and generally had a great time. I beat Sally and Terry at Scrabble, Danny beat everyone at poker, and we had a fabulous Sunday breakfast cooked by Paul.

When I have time, I’ll put up a regular photo album of the weekend, but here are some snaps for now:

The Final Stop in Richmond

Forgot to mention – after the boys went kayaking in Richmond on Sunday, we stopped at Legend Brewing, a microbrewery, for dinner. After their trip on the water, the guys needed some warming up, apparently, because they both ordered chili 🙂 Spicy! I had a blackened tuna steak over linguine Alfredo – not bad, but the tuna was overdone. Still good. And they had live music! So that was fun.

Legend Brewing, microbrewery in Richmond, VA

Latest James River Trip

Here's the triumphant crew after a glorious day on the James River

L-R: Nick, Danny, Dan, Josi, Katie, Paul and Kim.

Yesterday, Sept. 10, Dan and Josi and I, with several friends – Danny, Paul and his kids, Nick and Katie – went to kayak the James River again, from Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek. The river was high, the day was warm and sometimes sunny, and it was just glorious. We had a few newbies along (and you know who you are), but they did great and we had a lot of fun.

At one point, Katie ran into a rock and got stuck, and then Josi ran into Katie and tipped over. Then Paul had to get out of his boat (he was paddling the canoe with Nick) and Dan held it while Paul helped Josi empty the water out of her boat so she could continue on.

We had a few other minor mishaps like that, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

We got a late start, so we ended up getting home around 11 p.m. We had dinner at the fanciest Arby’s I’ve ever seen – fresh sandwiches and salads, fresh cookies and brownies – it was surprisingly good.

Another great day on the water. More pics are here.

My new kayak

My new kayak - a Dagger Zydeco

Our new passion is kayaking, so now I have my own 🙂 We bought it Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon Josi and I went out for a paddle. It handles beautifully, in flat water anyway. Maybe in a couple of weeks we’ll head back up to Richmond and hit the whitewater.

Specs: It’s a 9-foot Dagger Zydeco and we bought it at Appomattox River Company in Yorktown. And the color is mango 🙂

Whitewater Kayaking Adventure

Well, I’m not sure what possessed me to agree to do this, but yesterday I went whitewater kayaking for the first time, with Dan and our friend Dan Borick. This was the third – count ’em, one, two, three – time I have ever been in a kayak. The other two times were in the past two weeks on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River, at the end of our street, where the water was absolutely flat as a pancake. Are you impressed yet?

It was a blast 🙂 The trip was sponsored by a group of Richmond kayakers called the Corn Youth Alliance (CYA). I have to thank them, especially a guy named Thomas, aka MonsterK, for keeping an eye on me as I hit almost every obstacle out there, except for the bridge. Don’t know how I managed to avoid that one.

I noticed as we were getting ready to put the boats in the water that the one I had, borrowed from Dan’s boss Laura, was much longer and skinnier than any of the others, and I wondered why. Well, it turns out that the shorter, wider kayaks are much more maneuverable on the river rapids. With my long slim profile and novice skills, I kept going sideways and running right into rocks and logs – right where I did not want to go. Once, I had to actually climb out of the boat, carefully walk up the hull to the bow, step onto a giant boulder in the middle of the river, pull the boat over the rock, get back in the boat, and launch it again. Dan and Danny were ahead of me and couldn’t get back to help me, and I couldn’t hear whatever they were shouting at me, so I had to figure this out on my own. I am so proud of myself 🙂 That gymnastics training from long ago sure came in handy.

Not long after that, we hooked up with the CYA group. After I told Thomas this was my third time in a kayak, they seemed to always be around when I needed a hand. Hm, I wonder if that was a coincidence or their way of avoiding liability for someone drowning during their event? 😉

Here’s a great, interactive map of the route. Scroll to the right and you’ll see Pony Pasture Rapids – that’s where we put the boats in. Keep on scrolling to the bottom right to follow the path we took, to the take-out at Reedy Creek. Keep on scrolling right to see the Class IV rapids called Hollywood, in downtown Richmond. This is what we would hit had we not made it into the take-out. There seemed to be several members of CYA making sure we got to the take-out 😉

At one point, not noticing the upcoming three-foot drop over a dam, I landed on a wall and got stuck. Another of the trip guides came by to help me off it, I went down in the right place, and promptly landed on another rock. The sequence of events is blurry already, but I managed to get safely to the take-out. When I got out of the boat, I was surprised to feel like I had been sailing for a few days, unsteady legs and all. It took a little while to get my land legs back.

But now I think I’m hooked, so it’s time to start looking for a kayak for me. Dan’s is 10 feet long, so that might work. Here’s one I kinda like.

Check out the rest of the pix in my album.

Photo Album
February 2018
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