Here are some snapshots from Manson Pike Trailhead I took today. Eric and I got there about an hour early, and he got out on the E68 to familiarize himself with the boat’s handling characteristics. We both spent the bulk of the day volunteering. I helped fit people with pfds, Eric helped launch and haul in boats. After the event ended we took the E68 and 450 S out and paddled around until a thunderstorm got close. Then we packed up and got out before the lightning and torrential downpour could find us.
At Manson Pike Trailhead in Murfreesboro this Saturday 26 June 2010 from 8:00 am until 12:00 anyone who wants to can borrow kayaks, canoes, pfds and paddle an easy, roped-off stretch of the Stones River. Various organizations will be present with booths. According to what I’ve seen at Stones River Watershed Association, Dick’s Sporting Goods will give away by drawing a kayak and a paddle.
I got lost on the way to Manson Pike Greenway trailhead this morning. I took the exit after the first Franklin exit, as directed, New Medical Center Parkway, drove toward Murfreesboro, and didn’t recognize any of the road between the freeway and Thompson Lane. A muscular black woman power-walking in a neighborhood back near I-24 gave me better directions, and crossing Thompson Lane, I came to the turn-off, Searcy Road or some such designation, “a left just before the bridge.” Because I’d wasted so much time lost, I didn’t get to paddle before the others from Stones River Watershed Association arrived.
Jim and Terri towed seven or eight canoes and sit-on-top kayaks behind a small, white Toyota truck upon the roof of which was strapped a Mad River Adventure canoe that’d been donated by Dicks Sporting Goods.
My volunteer efforts today made negligible contribution to the event’s success. I raked some foul algae away from the boat ramp, then did a lousy job of removing same from the rake loaned by Rutherford County Parks Department; I helped (set a couple of big, flat rocks) a guy whose name I’ve forgotten with a tattoo of a naked, bat-winged, red-eyed babe on his right calf build a little pier of rocks for boaters to use exiting their canoes; helped one guy into the too-small whitewater kayak he’d chosen to test paddle; helped a super-smart long-haired, bearded guy named Garth move some canoes over to where he tied them by their painters to a line strung for that purpose; assisted a planticologist named Terri by helping a bunch of adults and children into pfds; helped carry and load some boats after the event; and generally tried to act helpful.
I was only able to convince one person, a lovely blonde volunteer who said her husband would be jealous he didn’t get to do likewise, to demo the newskinned E68. Several others said they would like to, but had kids or thought the kayak would tip them out. Maybe it would have, dunno, but I’ve found it a willing enough and sufficiently forgiving conveyance. My guess is the E68 looked unusual, didn’t look like a recreational kayak, looked ‘serious’ as opposed to ‘fun.’ Another brave soul, a 12 year-old boy, got into Campsis Radicans while it was still in the water, and paddled it. Didn’t get a good picture of him in the boat. I did get a chance to talk to his dad during my five minutes on the river. He works for one of the local watershed associations sampling, testing water on the Harpeth River. Guy’s gotta have the best job in Tennessee – he works out of his canoe.
The one bummer today was the lack of sufficient youth and small adult life-jackets, so a number of people with kids had to wait until those using the smaller pfds finished with them.
Toward the end of the day, I managed to paddle about five minutes until it began to thunder, the whistle was blown, and all boats returned to the ramp. Maybe next weekend I’ll get to put some miles under the unscuffed hull. Perhaps the 303 will have arrived by then, and I can get the deck treated.
Photos can be found here.
This coming weekend, Stones River Watershed Association is holding its annual Boat Day event. I’ve volunteered to help out at the event, and am bringing my single-seater Pouch E68 folding kayak for all and sundry to demo. Pictured above is last year’s Boat Day. What I’ve pasted below is from Stones River Watershed Association website.
Boat Day in Murfreesboro and Smyrna. These events offer an opportunity to try out a variety of canoes and kayaks, both solo and tandem, in slow moving or flat water. Experienced paddlers from the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association will be on hand to demonstrate skills and safety requirements. There will also be booths and exhibits from various community organizations and agencies. The events are free and open to all, but minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Smyrna: This event is sponsored by the town’s Stormwater Management Program, with help from SRWA, and will be held in a quiet cove of Percy Priest Lake at the Stewart Creek Recreational Area, a Corps of Engineers property on the west side of Weakley Lane. Reach the property by turning north on Weakley from Sam Ridley Parkway and proceeding 2.4 miles before turning left. Map. More information from Greg Upham, 355-5701.
Murfreesboro: This will be our 4th year in Murfreesboro at the Manson Pike trailhead of the Greenway. Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation sponsors this event with SRWA providing volunteer staffing. Each year we have a different blend of boats, so there is always something new. If you’ve come before, come again. Better yet, volunteer to help with the event by contacting Jim Barden: firstname.lastname@example.org or 896-4645. Parking is at the intersection of Medical Center Pkwy. and Searcy. Map.