Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bitchin' Camaro

Access issues are always the #1 consideration when we're thinking about what section of a river to do. We have to find a decent put-in and take-out that gives us the right total paddling distance, and we need to know there will be a good gravel bar for camping.  The campsite, an appropriate distance downstream from the put-in, has to be protected from view of farmhouses and landowners (since that worked so well on Big Swan Creek).  For some reason, TDOT does not take any of this into account when they build their highway bridges, and even when the bridges are in good locations one or both of them might be fenced or posted.  

When we recklessly declared we were going to paddle the whole Duck River one section at a time, the decision making process got turned around.  Now the river tail wags the access dog.  One way or another we have to find a put-in and a take-out that will let us do the next section on our list. 

In Fall 2011, Vernon arranged for us to take out at the McEwen's farm, which is just around the bend from Leatherwood Bridge.   According to the Duck River Watershed access chart, the distance between Leatherwood and the next access downstream (Littlelot) is 5.5 miles.  Click the map.

That ain't far enough, even for those of you who thought the Current River paddle was too long.  If the good gravel bars are halfway down we might only be paddling 3 miles on Saturday which is barely over an hour of canoeing.   Actually we should know where the good gravel bars are -  when we were scouting for the 2011 trip in the Green Mule we finished up on this section because Littlelot has a boat ramp.  But scouting trips get a little fuzzy toward the end and it looks like we stopped taking notes.  So we don't know.

The next bridge below Littlelot is in Totty's Bend, a total of 12 river miles downstream of Leatherwood. 

But it's one of those fenced and posted kinds of bridges, and it's basically built into a bluff anyway. See below, and note the Pee Wee's reference:

So stay tuned about how we're going to do this.  Vernon's still looking and we're still thinking. 

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