March 12, 2017

South Fork Holston River – John B. Dennis to Riverfront Park

  • 5.16 miles
  • 4:03 duration
  • 7 caches found (2 co-FTFs)

On a cold Sunday morning, LakeBum (Rob), Pork n Beans (Jane) and I met up to paddle the South Fork from John B. Dennis to Riverfront Park. Although we have had an unseasonably warm winter, the weather turned cold again this weekend, so when we headed out early Sunday morning the temperature was just above freezing. Fortunately, we came prepared dressed in layers and waterproof gear.

This was the inaugural trip for my new Liquid Logic Remix XP9 kayak, Huckleberry. I was excited to finally get it wet and see how it handles.

Rob and I met at the take out point, the boat ramp at Riverfront Park, at 8:30 am. We decided to leave his truck there so that when we ended the trip we could haul all three boats back to the put in point. The only problem with this plan was figuring out how to transport his canoe with my Range Rover. We got some strange looks as we drove to the put in point, with it sticking out the back of my truck.

We met Jane at the ramp next to John B. Dennis and soon had our boats in the water. I was thrilled with the ease with which I could drop the skeg on Huck to hold a straight course on flat water, and raise it when going through the shallow rapids. It does have a little bit smaller cockpit than my cheap rec boat, which made getting in and out a little more challenging, but once in it fits like a glove.

Our route took us through the middle of Eastman, making for some interesting landscape, and some interesting smells. One mile down river is a Weir Dam that required us to take the boats out of the water and portage. After another half mile we came to the first cache – one hidden just a few days earlier by BackWoodsAng which he named “Bat Guano Crazy.” This was pretty fitting considering we were bat quano crazy to be out paddling on such a cold morning. It is always great to see a blank log sheet in a cache container! This was one of two First to Finds of the day for us.

Along the way we also enjoyed some small rapids and I was glad I was wearing waterproof pants since I received a lap full of water several times. I decided that it was a good thing that I have ordered a skirt for the boat sense it does seem to take on a lot of water when plowing through a big wave.

We also enjoyed exploring the small islands where the caches were hidden. It was interesting to experience little pockets of wilderness in the midst of all the industry that lines the river.

This was a great first trip with Huck, and has me longing for warmer weather when we can begin paddling on a more regular basis. Stay tuned for more adventures with Huck.

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