Last Sunday, Oct. 12, dawned chilly, but sunny. It was gonna be another perfect autumn day, which was wonderful because GREAT (the Grand River Environmental Action Team) was hosting another paddle. It was a 4+ mile trip on the Grand, from the put-in on Dixon Road to the take-out on Thompson Road. By 11:00 our crew had the boats ready to go, and participants were starting to arrive.
Everyone has to sign a waiver, even those of us leading the paddle.
Dogs and kids are always welcome. Amelia and Caleb are regulars (Dad's on the Board).
It was chilly in the shade, with a good strong breeze blowing, so while we waited for everyone to arrive and get shuttled to the take-out, most people stood in the sun to defrost.
It wasn't long past noon before we launched.
As always, I was the sweep boat. This way I can take my time and enjoy the river, and also help out people who may be having difficulties.
Former Board member and owner of Quiet World Sports (kayak rentals and lessons) Kat joined us...fresh from paddling in Maine and Nova Scotia. Her buddy is Pugsley B. Nitro,
who makes a great figurehead in the front of the boat. Kat's busy with her business most of the summer, so we don't see her very often any more. It was great to catch up as we drifted slowly down stream.
A real benefit about joining us on a GREAT paddle is that there are lots of folks available to help out those who might be having difficulties. We can teach you some basic strokes to help you navigate turns and negotiate downfalls. There's never a reason to get frustrated...we are all patient and want you to have the best possible time. Take a deep breath and relax...the worst that will happen is you'll get wet, and no one has dissolved on us yet.
All too soon we were at the bridge - the take-out was on the other side.
The lead boats were probably off the river in less than two hours; the last boats took out about 3:00/3:30.
After all boats were secured on their trailers, and PFDs and paddles were stowed away, the group headed to Klavon's for pizza and beer. GREAT paddles are great social events - for novices and regulars alike. And what a perfect way to celebrate the glory of autumn!