On Mother's Day morning, my father-in-law and I went for a little paddle along the upper reaches of the Appomattox River. We set out to float from the State Route bridge, to the State Route bridge, a total of 5.25 miles. ;) The put-in was on a section of river front property for sale by an acquaintance of my father-in-law.
We parked by the bridge and grabbed the canoe that Bob, my father-in-law, would paddle. I broke trail first, bushwhacking into a sloping field of stinging nettles! Soon, both of us were jumping and cussing. We got the canoe down to the river's edge and then had to wade back into the stinging nettles to retrieve my kayak.
After doing my good son-in-law duty, and dragging the Jackson Kayak Coosa through the field, laying down all the nettles so Bob could walk unmolested for our second load humping trip, I soaked in the cool water of the Appomattox to soothe the sting. It felt glorious! I did take the time to snap this photo of the Coosa. Check out the following photos from our great float.
We enjoyed near perfect conditions. The river was running well, and there were no obstructions. We had to make a couple of aggressive moves near the end, but overall, it was a leisurely float down a pretty remote little river. We only saw two people on our trip, and they were honeymooning in a cabin about 200 ft. up a slope on river left. Bob and I stopped and exchanged pleasantries, wishing them well and expressing our congratulations.
The forest canopy was alive and starting to green up. It was one of the most peaceful paddles I have ever been on.
My quick kayak review: The Coosa performs very well on small fast moving rivers. It maneuvers great and handles well through little ripples and rapids. The only drawback is when the wind picks up. It will grab the high bow of the Coosa and push it, forcing you to paddle a little harder to track straight. It is still a great kayak that I have enjoyed fishing out of recently. Standing and casting is a cinch with this stable little boat.
Following my father-in-law, a paddling icon, down the river, I am constantly reminded of how inefficient I am with my paddle strokes. Watching seasoned boaters navigate even the most casual of rivers can be a real treat if you focus on their subtle movements. Bob was effortless with both his Bending Branches canoe paddle and his back up Carlisle canoe paddle. I was constantly noisy and spastic with my Aqua Bound paddle ( it was not the paddles fault).
Bob had shown up at my house early on Mother's Day morning and mentioned his plan to paddle the Appomattox River. It sounded like a great little trip. My wife had practically pushed me out the door to go paddling with him. Â I was hesitant, as it was her day, I had to be ready in an hour and there were other things I needed to get done. (As a family man, responsibilities pop up often and hinder recreation.) Not on this day. The wife said go, and off I went. It felt good to toss aside mowing the lawn, cleaning the porch and my other 'day off' chores, to go paddling. Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you have to seize them. It is a balance. Find yours. :)
The day worked out great. We got off the river and rendezvoused with our ladies for Mother's Day dinner. It was the kind of day that makes you feel extremely grateful for the many gifts that life has to offer, even stinging nettles.
Below is a photo collage of our Father's Day/ Mother's Day celebration.