Don't forget the Pre-Trip tonight at 7:30. Although we have a lot to cover - like departure times, directions, menu, and boat count - there is only one issue that really keeps us awake at night: how far to paddle. Or in river planning terms: which bridge?
Based on the location of RRCC-worthy gravel bars, and in order to avoid development and "camping in a cul-de-sac" (Stuart Frankel, Fall 2000) , the decision comes down to whether we want to paddle 7 miles or 11 miles in one day. We'll go over it on the maps at Brown's.
Seven miles is easy when you wake up by your put-in.
Eleven miles is not setting any long distance records either, but when you do it solo in a loaded canoe you'll feel like you've really done something. It may not be the leisurely style of travel we are accustomed to. On the other hand, it is still less than the "adult sized serving" (Josh May, Fall, 2008) we paddled in one day on the Sequatchie. The Sequatchie water level was very low, which didn't help. And it was hot. But there are other factors that could slow us down on this trip: the number of canoes (looking like a lot), the kind of Friday night we have, log jams across the river, shallow water again, and worst of all - head winds.
Then the wind slipped in behind us. I cut a little willow and jammed it upright in the bow and we sailed up out of Post Oak into Hart at a good five knots with no paddling.
Speeding along with no effort was pleasant for a change, though the wind was cold and I disliked the thought of fighting it later when the river twisted back south. Canoeing, most of the time, you prefer no wind at all; it destroys quietness and whips yours scent about and makes animals lie low and even squelches the birds. And if it turns against you, it makes a trip pure labor.
But preference hasn't got much to do with it.
Goodbye to a River, pp. 56-57