- 9.62 miles
- 4:15 duration
It had been FAR too long since I had been on the river, so made plans with LakeBum (Rob) for a day on the Watauga. We invited others to join us, but no one else was free.
We decided to do the upper stretch, starting at Lover’s Lane and paddling to Wagner Road. It was a beautiful day to be on the river with temps in the mid seventies and clear skies.
As we paddled, we saw lots of Cardinal Flower blooming along the shore. The winds were calm making the water like glass between the rapids, reflecting the blue sky and green vegetation.
We stopped for lunch at the Blevins Road boat ramp. When we arrived, there was no one there which is very unusual. The lot is usually filled with vehicles and boat trailers, and there are usually a few people there fishing. There was construction equipment parked there and evidence of earth having been recently moved. There was also some newly poured concrete walkways but we couldn’t figure out where they were leading.
As we ate, people started to arrive. Fishermen made their way to the riverside to try their luck, and a few drift boats were launched. We then saw a truck pull in that had a kayak in back.
There only appeared to be one boat, and at first we only saw the man that was driving the truck. However, as we watched him unload the kayak, a woman appeared from behind the vehicle and the two of them carried the kayak toward the water. We wondered if he were planning to kayak alone, an idea that made us a bit nervous.
Suddenly, we realized that it wasn’t the man that was preparing to paddle alone, but the woman. She climbed in the boat and headed out while the man waved goodbye and left in the truck. We decided it was time to finish up our lunch and follow behind her as we did not like the idea of someone paddling alone.
After going through the first set of rapids we saw the woman paddling back upriver toward us. “Are you experienced?” she asked. “Yes,” Rob replied. “You are going the wrong way.”
“Good! I’m sticking with you.” she said. We introduced ourselves using first names. She was Lisa and this was her first time kayaking on a river! We were very glad that we had met up with her because this was not the best place for a solo novice.
We had been paddling together for some time when she suddenly said, “WAIT! What does your hat say?!” “nCo,” I answered. “NEW CACHE ORDER!” she exclaimed. “You’re antbedy!” I suddenly felt like a celebrity.
She was a geocacher and had seen my name and Rob’s on logs and cache pages. She was very excited to get to meet us. We asked if she had noticed there were caches along the river, and she said that she hadn’t checked that before her trip.
We made one stop along the way so that she could log Rob’s cache on the Trophy Shelf. It is always thrilling to see someone experience this amazing rock shelf and shelter for the first time. It is a magical place.
I was able to take a few photos of her coming through Goat Rapids to celebrate her first trip. We became Facebook friends by the end of the trip, and promised to let her know about future trips.
This was another great day on our favorite river. It was exactly what I needed after a busy month that kept me from paddling.