Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Overnighter on the Chattooga 2010

     Its a trip I have done since I was a kid.  When I first started paddling down the Chattooga it was all about me and the experience I was having.  I was completely focused on the skills I was learning, the rapids I was running, and how much fun I was having.  Now 30 years later its all about the trip as a whole.  Sure I want to have a good time but seeing every body else have a great time is as important if not more so and in that experience I am having the time of my life.
     Except for a few folks having to miss the trip it went off without a hitch and that is an understatement.  Saturday morning it was a little drizzly, grey, and cool, but as soon as we rolled into South Carolina the skies began to clear.  We rolled down the windows to the LL van for some warm breezes.  It really started to feel like summer was just a day or two away.

    We had a very mixed crew ranging in age from 1 to nearly 50.  Paddling experiences from total beginner to grizzled veterans.   Now that Liquidlogic is turning 10 years old its cool to have so many different options of boats for people to paddle.   The beginner paddlers jumped in the Remixs and Coupe sit on tops.  The veterans piled their boats high with gear for the over night trip in the Remix XP, Deuce Coupe, and I played around with a Versa Board loaded down like a barge for the trip.  We also had a double duck to take the smallest kid in, and a raft for the floating imagination island of the young boys.

     Of course it was fun to watch the boys play "lord of the flies" on the raft but a really cool thing to watch develop over the two days was Vicky learning to paddle on the fly.  The two day trip starts with very easy whitewater and lots of flatwater which was perfect because she was able to learn her strokes very well and get a feel for how the Remix 59 turns and travels through the water.  Day two picks up quite a bit with more whitewater and faster moving current and she handled it all incredibly well.   In fact towards the end of day two is a section with a couple of really rapids and she walked back up to run Dicks Creek Ledge (a nice easy class 3 drop at this level) a second time just for fun.

The above shot is Vicky on her first day of kayaking on Big Shoals of Section 2 of the Chattooga.

These two shots are of Dicks Creek Ledge on Section 3.

Go Vicky!

We also had a great mix of gear boats.  Nick turned his raft into a floating imagination island with a mountain of gear in the middle.  Betsy loaded up a Deuce Coupe sit on top with gear for two, beers and chocolate milk for everybody else.  Polk loaded up his Ducky for the entire family.  Maria and Elsy took the Remix XPs down with loaded hatches and I piled a bunch of gear on top of the Versa Board to see how it would handle a load.


Oh and lets not forget food.  The only way to have a great overnighter or multi day trip is with good food.  Nick made an awesome Dahl Bhat dinner with Nan and we cooked up Blueberry pancakes and scrambles for breakfast.  Throw in some good lunches and beverages and you have the perfect trip topper.  I think next time we really need to make it three or four days.

Some day make it a priority to go spend the weekend out, with sand between your toes, and the sounds of the river putting you to sleep.

Here is a slide show of all the photos from the trip.

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