Thursday, May 27, 2010

Harpeth River Paddle - May 27 (3 weeks post-flood)

Jason and I met at 7am today at the Highway 100 bridge takeout (aka, "best takeout in Nashville" due to the nice steps that let you get out of your kayak without even getting your feet wet). We proceeded down Temple Hills Blvd to the put in on Old Natchez Trace (see map below):

Harpeth River

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This was my second time on this stretch of the river and I really enjoyed it. I need to get a 2010 fishing license and decided not to "fish dirty," thinking that almost 10 miles would take 3+ hours of straight paddling. However, the [raging] Harpeth was moving at 1.5 miles per hour, so my sturdy but slow Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 was able to travel at almost 6mph. Jason tried several fishing spots along the way, and being good Samaritans, we stopped to clear the river of a fallen tree (cutting away at the branches). There was one spot where a large tree blocked almost the entire we had to get out of the kayaks and portage through a lot of flood debris (mainly trees, but also racquetballs and tennis balls). Under Sneed Road bridge, I made a good decision (really, a guess) and went right, passing through a 4' wide opening in the downed trees.

We encountered a couple of areas where the banks were completely washed out, a wheelbarrow suspended 30 feet in the air and one freezer, but the river was surprisingly normal-looking after the floods of May 1-2, 2010. The Harpeth at the Narrows usually has some old appliances along the banks, so things looked pretty good.

We finished with a lunch at Corner Pub (in the woods) on Highway 100. Heading back to the put-in to retrieve the Tahoe, we encountered ~15 teenagers already making the most of their summer at the rope-swing. I decided not to use the swing for fear of derogatory remarks that would be directed my way regarding my wife's bedazzled purple soft cooler and platypus (or long-billed foreign legion) hat.

Here are some pictures taken during the trip.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I drank a lot of Percy Priest...and I feel fine

The title doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the REM song, but I felt great after drinking several pints of purified Percy Priest water during an overnighter on the lake March 8th and 9th. With nary advance notice or preparation, Jason and I decided to do the overnight trip on the lake we had been planning last summer. The weather looked good for Monday and Tuesday and our Vanderbilt and Belmont spring breaks coincided, so we decided to head out.

We launched at Mona (near Murfreesboro), paddled to near Fate Sanders to camp on an island for the night, and we made our way to the dam Tuesday morning. Here are our tracks:

Mona to camp - Percy Priest

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Camp to Dam - Percy Priest

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I felt pretty good the first day, though my kayak was pulling right. I have thought this for a while about the Essence, however, I figured it was more related to my paddling technique. After 25 miles of paddling, I was sure (and very irate) that the kayak was pulling right. My right arm probably paddled 50% more than the left to keep the kayak in a straight line. We discovered my skeg was curved when we pulled the kayaks out of the water at the dam. I contacted contacting Perception and letting them know about the problem, and a week later I had a new skeg delivered via UPS free of charge. Kudos to a company that stands behind their products!

This being my second kayak/camping trip, I am getting better at bringing only the necessities. I used almost everything I brought and didn't want for anything. I had some leftover food, but that is a good thing...nothing worse than being on an island overnight and running out of food. I need to bring a mug for the next trip...sipping hot chocolate (wait, I need to bring hot chocolate too, that was borrowed from Jason) directly from a pot that transfered heat very, very well almost resulted in leaving a millimeter of lip tissue on the hot surface.

Click here for some of my favorite pictures from the trip.