Canoe trip on the Rivanna, May 2011

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, I went on a canoe trip with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club on the Rivanna River. We put in at Milton (near Shadwell) and took out at Crofton. We had fine weather—overcast at first, then sunny later on, and hot but not oppressively so. Our leader, as usual, was Pete.


Rachael. Like me, she recently bought a used recreational kayak and started paddling on some of Pete’s beginner whitewater trips. Pete gave the option of bringing your own boat for this trip, and she did. She was our only kayaker.



My paddling partner for the day, Sarah.


As we passed a very expensive subdivision, we met these two equestrians riding along a riverside trail. One of them said the horses had never seen canoes on the river before and were reacting to the sight.


Remnants of an old dam.


Lunch stop. The two women in pale yellow tank tops happened to be paddling in the same canoe.



Starting to pack the boats again and shove off from the lunch stop.



Rafting together to drift for a while.



Iva (on the left) and her paddling partner (whose name I did not catch) did not join the raft for some reason, but hovered near us.


A few of us went for swims! Temperatures were well into the 80s today and the river was refreshing. I love this picture! Unfortunately I’m so bad with names I cannot remember the name of this woman now. She was nice, though—there was a good bunch of friendly, fun people on this trip.


One technique for getting back up into your canoe from deep water (being demonstrated by the woman second from the right here): get between two canoes, let the occupants brace together, and push yourself up with your weight divided evenly between the two boats.


Then you just have to figure out how to get your body into one of the canoes.


Pete goofing around in the water.



Anne minding the boat while Andy (not in this picture) swims.


Meghan and Nick. Nick is a capable paddler and a very helpful guy. He and Andy (pictured below) largely took over management of the task of getting boats off and back onto the canoe trailer this time—a task that in the past has usually required Pete and his co-leaders to supervise closely.


Iva (R) and her paddling partner.


Andy (L) and Nick (R) hang out between canoes while Meghan (L) and Anne (R) stay dry.


A guy named Zed, who paddled with Pete for the day.


L-R: Pete clinging to his blue canoe; Nick; and Sarah.






Zed takes responsibility for Pete’s canoe while Pete (out of the picture) helps some other paddlers get back into their boat.


Approaching the take-out spot, a boat ramp upstream of the bridge at Crofton (near Lake Monticello).


Pete and Zed.


There’s a story behind this picture. One pair of paddlers missed the landing and wound up maybe 50 yards downstream, on the other side of the bridge. (They had struggled with steering throughout the trip, and the landing was a little tricky because the current there is swift, the boat ramp is only wide enough to land about three canoes at once, and it got crowded as boats piled in.) Fortunately, rather than drift downstream and hope for rescue, the paddlers had the good sense to pull over to shore, pull up their boat, and hike back to the landing. I was unaware of their troubles, helping out with getting the first couple canoes on top of the trailer, when Pete came up and called for me to help him go recover the wayward canoe. It was an unpleasant walk down the shore: the land near the bridge was covered in brambles and nettles, and I ended up with a couple long scratches on one leg and a harsh, dry cough that Pete said was caused by wading through the nettles. Anyway, Pete and I slid the canoe back in the water and worked it upstream. We tried to “eddy hop” at first, but then Pete had to step out of the canoe and walk it through the shallows a short distance. Then he got back in and we paddled through the calm but narrow passage on the outside of the bridge piling, which is what you see us doing here. (I’d handed off my camera to one of the other paddlers before plunging into the brambly underbrush for the recovery mission.) I’m in the bow, in the blue shirt.


Nick (L) and Andy (R) loading the trailer.


Zed elected to ride in the back of Iva’s pickup truck as she hauled the canoe trailer back to the put-in where we’d left most of our cars.