We had a sunny and mild temperature weekend on the North Carolina /Virginia line of the New River last weekend. The humidity was down and the water was up on the river. This is a section of river that anyone can do, we saw recreational kayakers, tubers and lots of people in canoe rentals in the class-I warm water.
We shoved off at Kings Crossing about noon after loading our boats with gear and running a shuttle vehicle down river to the 91 bridge. I was sporting a demo boat from Jackson Kayak called the Rouge that is designed for paddle camping in moving water. It is a large volume whitewater boat but equipped with a drop down skeg. D.Bird was in a Pungo 10 and Grizzly Glen in a brand new Elie 12 but Professor D. was in his classic Mohawk XL-13.
There is only one ledge of any significance and it was a diagonal line forcing the new paddlers with us to paddle with conviction but everyone shot through just fine. The rest were just ripples and moss covered rocks just under the surface that weren’t that hard to avoid in the slow moving water.
We reached Allegany Access around 2:00 and others were already pulling up to shore. I shoved my boat up grabbed my dry bag and headed in to find a camp in the trees quickly before any big tent invasion could take place. We found a superb spot to hang and the tenter with us took the tent pad.
Now I say tenter, I expected Glen, the young guy with us to pull out a tent and all he had was a piece of plastic and a wool blanket! We all looked at each other and then made comment that he was really roughing it! Later that evening while we were cooking dinner he was using a very large knife with a really cool rabbit fur sheath that he said he had made himself. He also had on Moccasins. Well, that’s when we gave him the name Grizzly! HA!
Dinner is always so nice when paddle camping because you can bring MORE! Professor D. had steak, corn on the cob, and even had a veggie tray with dip for an appetizer. He would disappear into his tent and reappear each time with a new surprise! Grizzly Glen had Chicken and fresh veggies too! D. Bird had Salmon and a delicious looking Couscous. I did pepperoni pizza on my Bush Buddy as a new experiment that I can modify for the trail.
Then the marshmallow roasting began and Professor D. did it again and pulled out chocolate & gram crackers for Smores!
Naturally D. Bird and myself encouraged both ground dwellers to test hang our hammocks. I had a whole new rig this trip with a custom gathered end double hammock made by Detail Man, a War Bonnet Bug Net, HG Incubator and the Macat Ultra I bought at Trail Days (soon to have a pole mod when the poles finally get here)!
D. Bird has a sweet WB Black Bird with a Summer Incubator and a Macat Deluxe. Both Glen & Professor D. were very surprised at the comfort.
I regretted not bringing my spare hammock that I keep in the car for Glen. If I had only known he didn’t have a shelter. But we had a starry night and Grizzly Glen laid out his blanket and wrapped up in it and the plastic by the fire to sleep. He was fine he said as long as the fire was going. TN country boys are tough you know!
Morning came early when some neighboring kids started horsing around about 7AM. I heard D.Bird start to unzip her hammock and that was it…I lost composure…I belted out HEY! PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING!!! They all got quiet as mice. I heard a chuckle from D. Bird as she zipped back up. Then I rolled over in my hammock and went back to sleep.
We slept in a little and were in no hurry because it only takes about an hour to float down stream to the take out. Breakfast was great with eggs & steak and bacon and oatmeal and Baileys Irish Cream in the coffee! YUMMMMM YUMMMMM!
After breakfast we broke camp and they wanted to do the loop hike of the old homestead.
I stayed behind to watch the boats and nurse my foot from a slight injury from the week before. As soon as they were gone it started to sprinkle a little rain. I drug my boat down to the river and turned it over donning my rain gear, then headed back to camp to batten down anything that they had left open.
About that time the sky opened up. I managed to get everything under the dry about the time they all came back. We readied for the river but about the time we all got in the water the rain stopped. After that the skies cleared and it turned into a beautiful afternoon. I got a few nature shots and we even saw a river otter on the way down.
Loading up was quick and we headed back. One more stop on the way home was at Bella’s in Abingdon for dinner. Then headed back to everyone’s cars. We all had a great time and we will be doing this trip again but maybe make it a two day trip next time!!!
One more thing... Just as a kind gesture I loaned Glen my spare hammock which is a single Travel Hammock. I told him if he liked it we would talk shop. He emailed me yesterday and said he LOVED it because he hung in it on his porch and fell asleep!!!