Sunday, May 29, 2005


The month of May brought little boating for us. Mark's father was very ill and he wanted to spend weekends close to home. I paddled on the Potomac during the week with the rest of the gang and visited Mark in VA on weekends. Nothing was running in his area unfortunately.

Okay so i know this isnt' exactly whitewater, but there were a few little class IIish rapids. This trip was special so I though I’d include it anyway. Mark was feeling nostalgic, remembering the fishing trips he'd spent on the Shenandoah as a kid. These were fond memories of his dad and he wanted to have the experience again. Memorial Day weekend we picked up his dad's canoe and some paddles and headed for the river.

There wasn't a whole lot of water in it but we were just going to go fishing. Mark only knew the put-in / take-out for the "long" trip so that is what we did. We grabbed a bucket of fried chicken, some fruit, lots of water, sunscreen, and fishing poles and headed off.

The trip was very relaxing as we floated down, my first time paddling a canoe or doing any significant amount of fishing. We ate chicken, laughed, and reminisced. Mark recalled days spent on the river with his father and brothers and we stopped along key spots that were special to him.

As we paddled down the small rapids I realized how very uncomfortable I am being on a river without a pfd or helmet! It was pretty amusing. I insisted on paddling through even the smallest of the little rapids, I just felt too unstable not too! At one point Mark had caught a fish at the top of one of these “rapids” and I had to paddle by myself as he reeled it in. I’m sure we looked pretty goofy.

To Mark’s surprise we barely caught any fish that day. He was used to catching dozens of large fish each trip. I got one (yay my first fish ever! I don’t care if it was pathetically small!) and Mark got a half dozen or so. They were all tiny. When we got home we found out that there was blight in the river killing off fish that year. Nonetheless we had a good time. We took off as it was starting to get dark and headed home. Early the next morning Mark’s sister in law called to say his father had passed….the trip had been bittersweet.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Morons on the Maury

It was a beutiful day and nothing was running. So we decided to go for a hike by the Maury. Sure it was depressing to be there and not be able to paddle but it was a nice day and a great place to spend it. After enjoying some beutiful poppies that had been planted along the road we drove up river towards the normal put in. Along the way we noticed something unexpected: boaters! How could it be? The Maury was well below minimum. A closer look revealed what was going on. These wheren't desparate whitewater boaters scrapeing down whatever little water they could find. These were a bunch of morons in rec boats (well okay one had a ww boat but clearly had no idea what it was for!) who quite obviously had absolutely no idea what they where doing. None had helmets or pfds (not that pfds were really necessary as there was barely enough water to need flotation of any kind). The Maury is normally a class III-IV run but at this level it didn't appear that they could really get into too much trouble. If anyone flipped or got pinned all they had to do was stand up, the water was so shallow. Of course that is exactly what they did. We watched as they had to first drag their boats over a very dry section. We watched as one of them got in his boat, floated a little, pinned on a rock and prompltly swam. All this within about 15 feet. We continued following them down river as they bumbled their way down. It was aboslutely hilarious. I know its not nice making fun of people but these guys were just too much. The level was so low it didn't seem at all likely that they could get into too much trouble. We followed them as they made their way through a very much de-watered Devil's Kitchen (pinning and broaching every step of the way) . It was great entertainment to say the least.

If this offends anyone please let me know. But honestly you have to appreciate the hilarity of this situation. It's the sort of the that if i did it myself i'd have to admit the ridiculousness of it!

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