liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

River Tales: First Time Kayaker on the Green River in NC

I was 11 years old, it was 1977. My father had bought me a mark IV kayak cut down to child size. It was fiberglass, red on top and white on the bottom. It was pointy and fast. It was light; I could lift it.

My legs were already gangly and long, and my feet were jammed down into the child size boat in an uncomfortable way. My dad was in his canoe. He kept trying to instruct me by yelling from his canoe. I was overwhelmed. The river was mild and slow, but I was slower and out of control.

I ran into the banks and rocks and spun around sideways and backwards. I was in a panic much of the time. One time I was swept into a thicket that overhung the river, and I freaked out. I wanted desperately to STOP EVERYTHING and grabbed a fat vine that was hanging down from a tree.

My shoulders were screaming, but I held onto that vine as if it were a lifeline. My boat was still in the current, and getting pulled downstream. My legs were tight in the boat. My father was on the far side of the river yelling at me. I kicked the boat of my legs. He chased the boat.

Eventually I let go of the vine and floated out from under the thicket. I don't remember the rest of the run. That was my first time on a river in a kayak. I had canoed lots before, but never kayaked. I didn't like it. I went on one more kayak trip (the Nantahala, I became severely hypothermic after multiple swims), and then didn't go again for years. That red boat sat around until it was trash. I took up kayaking again when I was in high school and could go with the local club.

The section of river we did that day was the one immediately downstream from the Narrows. The put-in we used was the take-out for the Narrows. There are more stories to come about the Narrows.....
Tags: father, kayak, recreation, river

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