Monday, June 29, 2009

Kayaking Goose Creek

The main reason I wanted to take the kayak out on the reservoir on Saturday (besides New Toy Syndrome) was to test it out and make sure the boys were comfortable in it before going on a longer trip on Sunday.

After we bought the kayak, I went online in search of where we should go first. I did a Google search for kayaking in Loudoun County, and I happened upon Ben's Kayak Site. I liked all the great info that Ben had on his website, especially the maps showing where you can put kayaks into the water. I wrote Ben an email to ask a few questions about where to go for our first time out on the water. He just so happened to have a group going out for a trip on Goose Creek on Sunday afternoon and he invited us to join them.

We did, and I'm very glad we went. We had a great time.

We met up at Ben's house in Purcelville and then caravaned down to the creek. We dropped a van off at our take-out point and then headed down to the put-in point.

We got in the water by the old Goose Creek Bridge in Middleburg, VA. It's a beautiful old stone bridge and the site of a Civil War battle.

Self portrait at the old Goose Creek Bridge.


Gearing-up.

My wife was a little apprehensive about me going out with a bunch of strangers, but I figured it would be safer to go with other people who had done the trip before than to go alone. I was very pleased with what a quality group of people we had. There were several kids in the group, and they were all very polite, courteous, responsible, and well-behaved. Come to find out our new kayaking friends are also Christians, and we said a group prayer before getting in the water. I wasn't really worried to begin with, but it sure made me feel more comfortable with our group.

I took this shot right after we got in the water and then spun around to wait for the rest of the group to get in the water.

Ben took this pic of us in our kayak.
(I didn't have a very good feel for how limited YB's field of view from the back seat was until I scrolled through these pictures).

Panorama shot looking back at a sand-bar we had to portage across to avoid a downed tree (on the right side of the picture - click on image to enlarge).

After another portage across a sand-bar, the boys decided to swap seats. YB thought the view from the front seat was considerably better than the view of his Daddy's back.

I also found that it was a lot easier for us to synchronize our paddling with YB in the front. He doesn't do a very good job of paddling in sync with us when he's in the back, but with him in the front, ES and I were able to just follow YB's lead.

Overall, most of the water was very flat and calm. There were a few brief sections with very light rapids. Each time we zipped through those rapid sections, the boys had a blast saying "wheeeeeee!" I'm sorry I didn't get any video or photos of the rapids (to sooth my wife and reassure her we didn't do anything dangerous :-) ), but I was concentrating on steering the boat through the fast parts. Most of the trip was more like this pace...

video

Lest you think we just floated the whole way down the creek, here's a video snip with ES leading our paddling efforts.

video

We stopped once to get out and stretch our legs a bit, and YB did a little swimming around. The water was about 2-3 feet deep for the majority of the trip. There were several brief sand-bars that I had to get out of the boat and pull the boat across (with the boys still riding along inside).

For example, in this picture Ben took, you can see me standing next to the boat, pulling the boys across the sand-bar. I'll share one more video just because I like YB's commentary on me getting us across the gravel and sand-bar...

video
Finally we got out of those rocks.

This was the end of the line for the day. We got out of the water just past this bridge.

Ben took this group photo after we were were all out of the water.

Many thanks, Ben, Vic, Tim, and kids for a fun trip down Goose Creek. We appreciate you allowing us to join your group.

Trip Stats from handheld GPS:
Distance: 7.4 miles
Time: 2 hours 8 min moving / 59 min stopped
Moving average speed: 3.5 mph
Max speed: 9.1 mph

1 comment:

Hilary said...

Great photos and videos of what looks like a fine day. Your little guy sure is a pro with those paddles.

Now if you were on Twitter (which I'm not) and you had posted about your trip, I'd have the opportunity to say something clever like "It looks like you can have your kayak and Tweet it too. ;) So lucky for you, you're not, and I didn't. :)