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.

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8 Responses to “Whitewater Kayaking Adventure”

  • Barb Lewandowski says:

    Kim; We are very proud of you. You have a lot of guts to take on white water rafting on your third time in a kayak. Keep up the good work.

  • The Good Dan says:

    Well let me be the first to respond and to say WAHOOOOO Kim! You rocked the river! In the words of Maverick in Top Gun… You can be my wingman anytime. Outstanding performance for a newbie, and a newbie with a battle cruiser sized kayak…I think you want to try it next time in a whitewater boat around eight feet *stay away from the Pungo….only bad things can happen. Let me know if you want me to kayak shop with you. Glad you came along to keep the Evil Dan in line.

  • KimL says:

    Hey, thanks, Barb 🙂 It really was a lot of fun. Can’t wait to do it again.

    We’re really looking forward to seeing you all in a couple weeks.

    Take care,

  • KimL says:

    Hey, Good Dan (the one standing next to me is the Best Dan) – It was a great day. Can’t wait to do it again. Maybe next time we can drag Sally along. If I can do it, so can she 🙂


  • Liz says:

    So does this mean you’re up for a Colorado kayaking adventure? I’ll schedule the fun–let me know. Looking forward to having a kayaking friend once I return to VA. I miss VA!

  • KimL says:

    Hm, Colorado kayaking adventure – could be fun 🙂 I’ll check with Barbara and see if she’s up for it. Looking forward to having you back in VA, and visiting you in CO next month.


  • Dan B says:

    Hi Kim,

    Just checking in, giving you a heads up. About one month to the PA trip to Lehigh River. You are just going to love Jim Thorpe and the river. Lots to do and see.

    The Good Dan

  • KimL says:

    Hi, Good Dan. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 I’m really looking forward to the trip. That reminds me, I need to do some research and post some links, so people can see what we’re up to. Hope y’all are doing well.


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