With the 2003 Anniversary Edition Folbot Aleut I bought in late June, I drove to McMinnville again to float the Barren Fork River from Smooth Rapids to the VFW lodge. My son and I paddled that length of river in our Grumman canoe. Longer ago than that, after a rainy week, I’d taken the Aleut to Smooth Rapids only to be advised against putting in there by the guy in charge that day d/t debris, etc.
In late September, I finally got back to Smooth Rapids with the Aleut, but by then we’d had about no appreciable rain on the Upper Cumberland Plateau for about two weeks, and I had some concerns about low water level. Still, hypalon’s supposed to be a tough material for hullskins, and I numerous times dragged a 75# wood-framed solo kayak with PVC hull over rocks and fallen trees and heaven knows what crud may choke a laughably small river’s channel. Without mishap.
During my late September paddle/float down the Barren Form & Collins rivers, I had reason to regret leaving a handy painter in the car. Two or three times I my kayak hung on rocks and one time I just got out and pulled the Aleut, wagon-like, behind me. I started writing this post about a month ago, but I’d already prepped the snapshots, so here they are:
Bow and stern sections, respectively, with NRS medium float bags. Inflated, they take up most of bow and stern sections under the deck. Pretty good displacement for the 12′ Aleut, I’d guess.
That’s the Smooth Rapids restaurant, office, store up there on the hillside. Restaurant seating is available up there on the deck. You can drive down near the put in, then back up the hill to a parking lot out of frame to the building’s left.
That’s how I got the Folbot’s seatback to stay in place. I’ve got the seatback’s tension pretty high and lean forward when paddling. Sort of like a backband, but not quite. Just making due with what I’ve got.
That’s the first kayak paddle I ever bought – probably close to my own age, it’s about 240 cm in length and is a Klepper paddle. I tried it out on this river float trip and found it far superior for the purpose than my Eric Renshaw Greenland style paddle that’s a lot shorter. Also, the Klepper paddle’s got metal riveted to the blades’ edges which proved helpful this day. I think in future this is the paddle I’ll be using with the Aleut at least until I get a longer Greenland paddle. I think I mentioned in a previous post about smashing fingernails against the Aleut’s deckline D-rings using the shorter paddle; not a problem with the Klepper paddle.
I wish I’d had time to get out and paddle a Franklin County slough, today, but instead dropped off the Jamis for some repairs and the Sprite frame for headset. Stopped by a gun store and range where I spoke with a fellow I haven’t seen in several years, entered a drawing for a “tactical” shotgun. If I win it, I’ll review it here.