This Saturday, May 8 was community clean-up day in Jackson. Since the skiing is variable (yet, regrettably, still happening) and summer sports haven’t really hit, I coerced my kayaking buddy into picking up trash with me without too much difficulty. Given the company and the agenda for the day, I shouldn’t have been surprised when our garbage hunt bordered suspiciously near Flat Creek and the conversation turned to “enough water to run.”
There is an indicator rock near Meadowbrook Apartments; when the water is flowing up or over the rock, the creek is runnable. Or so he said. What we actually encountered man-influenced creek boating at its core. The series of drops on the creek had distinct right and wrong
lines, which is debate ably easier than trying to read a high-volume river with a multitude of choices. I rate the drops at class II+ with one at class III due to the a) difficulty of the drop b) very real consequences if a move after the drop isn’t executed immediately.
Partly to ease my guilt from ditching out on the clean-up and partly because it was the right thing to do, we made the run last a little bit longer by collecting more garbage from bramble and eddies. Although the croc in the bramble was difficult to access, the biggest garbage score was a large styrofoam cooler stuck in an eddie underneath a bridge. Balancing it on the bow of my kayak while trying to paddle was a comical exercise in frustration, but I finally managed to put a rock in it (so it didn’t blow away) and toss it on shore to pick up on the walk back.
Making the day infinitely more enjoyable was my new NRS toaster mitts. Cold hands have been a legitimate reason to turn down or hesitate on many a cold day, and these thick neoprene mittens work much better than any glove I’ve ever tried. However, as dexterity is limited, you have to be confident with either your roll or finding the grab loop to wet exit your kayak underwater through mittens. Kayaking is a gear-intense sport.
All the gear and the short distance we boated made for an interesting walk back to the apartments along Jackson’s main road, Broadway. With kayaks on our shoulders and the snow flakes just starting to fall as we took out, I’m sure more than one car had thoughts on those desperate people running cold, low-volume water. But we had fun, and that’s ultimately all that matters.
Michelle link of the day: I’m doing a little sailboat race in Houston this weekend – to watch our progress, click here.