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.

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