Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Narrows Paddle Report - Memorial Day 2009

Hubby is obsessed with whitewater kayaking. He had 5 days off for the Memorial Holiday weekend, and three of those days were spent in the water. Yesterday, I planned to stay home and relax, but when Ricky couldn't find a single soul to play with him in the narrows, I decided to go with him to keep him company and watch out for him. The narrows, for those that aren't aware, is where the Susquehanna River "narrows" to flow between two mountains near Dauphin, PA. The water there is swift and rocky -- a perfect practice area for whitewater kayakers to eddy, surf, spin, etc. Ricky's been upping his game this year and he's really, really doing well with it; thus, he wantsto be in the water as much as he can. When I say the water is swift and rocky - that's at a "normal" level that I'm accustomed to in the Narrows - somewhere between 3 and 3.5 feet. Yesterday, the level was 4.5 feet - ever so slightly above normal. I knew the water level was up going into it, but really hadn't expected what we found, thinking 1-1.5 feet couldn't make that much of difference? (yeh, I thought 1200 cfs in the Lehigh wouldn't be that much different than 750 cfs and I swam not once, but twice after a two year hiatus of no swims!) Rick forewarned me "there will be a lot of water when you get up to the narrows," but I guess I just wasn't thinking it through. He was in at this level two weeks ago and knew what to expect. When we got there, I could tell right away there was "a lot of water." There were few rocks sticking out, and you could really feel the turbulence under your boat of that extra 1-1.5 feet of water flowing over covered rocks. The eddies were squirrely and the waves were big. You had to constantly be on the lookout for rocks just under the surface. Slots that were easily attainable at the 3 foot level, were not -- new sections for attaining had to found, but there weren't many because of the higher and faster flow, and of course few rocks to rest behind once the attaining was finished. Rick was having a ball and enjoying himself immensely. I was a true eddy flower and looked for every opportunity to sit behind a rock and watch his back. I was scared! Actually, I was tired as hell from 9 days of vacation and biking and gardening, and my arms were literally dead at this point. We spent about 1.5 hours in the water and it WAS fun, even though I did very little. Rick had a great time -- which was the goal.

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