by Sarah Detrick
Labor Day Weekend is notoriously my family's last paddle trip of the season. With young children and dogs, cold-weather adventures on the water just aren't an option. We had been trying all summer to organize a river trip with our good friends, the Hemmers, without much luck. Between the dreaded stomach bug in June, unseasonably high water levels after weeks of rain in July and work obligations in August, it just wasn't happening - things were looking bleak. When we realized Labor Day Weekend was quickly approaching, phone calls were made and plans formed - it was now or never!
We decided to run a gorgeous 6-mile stretch of the James River near Scottsville, VA with put-in where the Hardware River meets the James and take-out at Bremo Bluff. We have learned from past trips it is better to come prepared with an arsenal of watercraft and paddles in preparation for the kids' and dogs' love of "musical-boats". Included in our fleet was an Old Town Appalachian, one of Tom's tried and true canoes and a Necky Vector 14, my all-time favorite sit-on-top kayak.
One of our first stops included a fun, rocky beach with lots of rock jumping.
The best stop of the day was Hot Tub Rapids, where you can plant yourself on a submerged rock and let Mother Nature give you the massage of a lifetime.
As a parent, I always feel a sense of "Mission Accomplished" when our kids have had a full day and are wiped-out. I'd say this day was a success judging by the look of exhaustion on Josie's face as she paddled a Dagger Axoim 6.9, a great kayak for kids and small-framed adults.
It is easy to assume that as a member of the ARC Family, opportunities to paddle would be frequent and easy to come by. Truth be told, these fun outings can be few and far between. Labor Day 2013 was a jewel of a day, as precious as they come. I cannot wait to enjoy more days like this with my sweet family and best of friends.