Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Micro-Adventure: James River float

“But just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside. And it is in the world that we have to live.” 

― Lian Hearn

I'm not one to be pigeon holed into terminology, I often find myself avoiding hip words like "selfie" if only for the sake of not bowing to a perceived trend. 

That being said, some time ago I read about the idea of the "Micro-Adventure" from Alastair Humphreys, a true adventurer, Author, and motivational speaker. 

As described by Humphreys, Micro-Adventures are local, inexpensive journeys that get you outdoors on a smaller scale, but can have a profound affect on you just the same. 

With Ash being one week removed from being medically cleared from having our daughter, we decided to do a James River float. (If Ash is anything, she is not one to sit around).

I have found that as parents we collectively make an art of "what if'ing" things to death. The logistics of any endeavor often stifle the creativity of the adventure before it has a chance to get started.

So one of the very first hurdles to any outing is actually going...It really is that simple, because if you look for excuses you will most certainly find them.  

 The Adventure:

After 6 years of contemplation I finally pulled the trigger on a Jackson Coosa HD fishing Kayak.  (Review to follow) with the hopes of reigniting one a passion that had fallen by the wayside over the past 2 years.    

The canoe/kayak launch at Powhatan State Park
 A reoccurring question with any river float is "how long will it take"? I recently spoke with a gentlemen who got stuck on the South Anna River and had to navigate it at night with a head lamp because they misjudged the length of the trip.  The reason being that several factors go into a river float; river levels, where you are on the river, the flow, and how much time you spend exploring all go into the overall time of the trip.  I would add an extra hour to your itinerary just to be sure.   

The float from Powhatan State Park   to the Maidens ramp is roughly 5 miles. We cruised at around 1.6 miles an hour, paddling, floating, fishing, relaxing and stopping on a rock for lunch .  The water level was around 4.2 Feet, and was almost exclusively flat with a single ripple of "rapids" that were a non-issue. We put in around 9:30 and pulled up to Maidens around 2:30.  You could probably knock 2 hours off of that if you were in a rush...but then it kind of defeats the point.  I saw some gorgeous fish but fishing was "light" to say the least.

Powhatan State Park to Maidens (Rt #624)
Ash on her SUP 6 weeks after giving birth.
The water was an almost emerald clear and the bottom shifted from long stretches of sand with pockets of embedded shells to undulating rock formations and flowing river grass.

The "Coosa HD" in it's element
The float was our first real "date" since having our daughter and it was a welcome break from the chosen obligations of parenthood. It also reaffirmed our affinity for being outside together enjoying the environment, and each other's company.

Our constant companion thunderstorms, chasing us down the river.   

As a side note; fitness & healthy living are a bi-product of  "Micro-adventures". We are not professional athletes with disposable incomes, we are average folks who embrace the spirit of adventure,and chose to live a healthy life style.

Ultimately, it is always about choice.