I’d planned to bring our canoe to Tennessee after our summer trip to the farm, but reckoned the 18’ aluminum Grumman behemoth would not fit on the wagon’s roof racks with my bike on the hitch-rack at the tailgate. The end of the boat would conk the bike resulting in a loss of the bike’s ride-ability and aesthetics. So, I figured I’d drive up and get the canoe on a quick weekend trip. But in July, when my wife’s parents came to visit for a week, they brought the Grumman with them.
A couple of weeks later, my friend, Adrian, and I took the canoe for a short paddle up the Elk River from Prairie Plains bridge to the point where the river became too shallow to paddle it upstream any further. It’d been well over a year since I’d gone paddling, and I’m not sure Adrian had ever paddled a canoe. We took lunches, bug spray, and water with us, setting off on a Saturday morning in August.
We saw no one else on the river, but did hear gunfire from a nearby shooting club. Paddling a canoe is more tiring than paddling a kayak, but they’re different types of boats for different purposes. We took a sixty year-old paddle, a fairly new lightweight paddle of reasonable quality, and a really long, double-bladed Klepper paddle. We stopped for lunch at a riverside pavilion at the edge of a farmer’s beanfield, then paddled a little farther upstream before heading back.