I got back in the kayak this past weekend, but if you’ll read my Week From Hell post, you’ll see why this one is late. The Splash for Trash was really a fun event, one worthy of a write up. So it may be late, but here it goes.
I convinced my buddy Bill into going along with me for this altruistic excuse to paddle down my favorite river. I don’t really need an excuse, but I had one this time and it was a good one. The Splash for Trash is an event where a bunch of boats float down the river and collect trash they find along the way.
Bill was a trooper, and went down the river in my Old Town Guide 147 canoe without me. A youngster named Josh joined him and they made quite the hall. I took my yak, a Old Town Voyage 10XT, and didn’t collect as much as help out those who had bigger boats in which to toss stuff. Which was fine by me, since I didn’t want too much junk in my boat. Bill and Josh got lots of trash in their boat, and eveyone found a bunch of tires. Tires in the river pisses me off. There is no excuse for it. Cans and bottles might be an oversight, or perhaps lazyness. Some things, like the deck chair we found, might have washed into the river due to recent floods. But tires? No, that was a deliberate attempt to pollute.
We started at highway 72 and floated down to Little Cove Road. I personally find this stretch of the river my favorite. You start on a rocky bottom portion of the river, float past 300 foot cliffs and end at the muddy plains. About mid way through is a cave that is fun to explore. This time around we had a guide from North Alabama Canoe and Kayak, and I wish I remembered his name. He was awesome and he knew that cave point better than most. He showed me a hole in the ground that he’s put kayak’s down and explored an underground lake. Of course, now I so want to do that as well.
But we did get to climb up into the cave, which was cool. I’d been to the cave before, but never gone very far into it. This time we did explore it deeper, and I’m glad for that. It turns out that the cave is really a switchback, and you climb into it a bit, and just before it gets too dark it flips back and you climb out on top of the entrance. We didn’t find much trash in it, but we did find a good time with some good people. Following are a bunch of pictures from the cave exploration. And we all swear we were looking for trash. Really.
From the cave, the river goes on down into the plains and there is a high tension power line that crosses at a series of sharp bends. I call it Three Wire Pass. The river actually goes under the straight wires three times, and the water flows fairly quickly. I got there first, and found my way into an eddy so I could turn around and take pictures as these canoes full of trash and tires tried to make the turns. Okay, so I was hoping someone would lose it and I’d get pictures of them spilling all their trash into the river. Sue me. But it didn’t happen. At least not there.
A little while later, just after Three Wire Pass, the river runs shallow and fast through a wooded area. Normally there are two ways around this section, but not on this day. The western most section was dry, and the eastern most section had a tree down. That three caught one boat, but I wasn’t there to get the picture. I did get pictures of other boats attempting to pass under the tree. It was fun to watch.
I had absolutely no trouble passing under the tree in my kayak. I just glided right under, unlike the other boats that struggled through the pass. So I found it enjoyable. Except for the older couple that showed up as we were unloading boats to pass under the tree. I helped them get under the tree, and they ended up passing us heavy loaded junk canoes.
I also, for the first time, found it difficult to keep up in the kayak. As the canoe’s got heavier, and they were all longer, they moved faster and faster in the water. Me, staying light and short I suddenly had trouble keeping up. Plus I was going back and forth from the front of the group to the back of the group. So I pretty much paddled the river twice. I was tired, but good tired, by the end of the trip. It was a most enjoyable day on the water!