Archived Story

Get out and enjoy river, creek life

Published 6:18pm Friday, June 6, 2014

Thursday, I kayaked the Tallapoosa River for about five hours, and when the bottom of my boat skidded up on the sandy landing at Jaybird Creek, I wanted nothing more than to haul the kayak back to the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park landing and do it all over again.
I wasn’t just floating along the lazy river in the first place, as most of the Tallapoosa wasn’t that lazy; the water was flowing at a good clip Thursday.
And I broke into a big sweat within the first 15 minutes I was on the water when I paddled upstream from the park landing and around Bean’s Island to get a photo of the park from the water.
But the sensation of paddling under Bald Eagles down the big, wide Tallapoosa on a blue-sky day, riding the riffles (and the bigger rapids every now and then), smelling that clean river water smell as it pushed Great Blue Herons downstream and pulling up beside colony after colony of Cahaba lilies was so pleasurable that I just didn’t want it to stop.
Yes, I would definitely paddle five hours and then do it all over again.
Besides, it’s good aerobic upper body exercise.
Here in our part of Alabama, most of us don’t have any idea how wonderful our creeks and rivers and lakes are.
We have all kinds of water: white water, flat water, undammed water and big, big reservoirs with gin-clear water. Sometimes we have flood water, too.
While much of the U.S. is rationing water and building cactus gardens in their front yard so they don’t have to turn on the sprinklers, we’re swimming in water.
And we ought to use it.
Now firmly in middle-age, my favorite way to enjoy the water is in a kayak, either fishing or trekking along exploring a river or creek … or both at the same time.
As part of this new Tallapoosa River Canoe Trail committee that you read about on today’s front page today, when Shane Harris asked me to go kayaking to shoot photos for the new map on Thursday, I could do so and not even “skip” work.
Instead, I was doing “community service.”
I shot about 350 photos, mostly Cahaba lilies, big river shots and paddlers, that we can use to promote the canoe trail in print and online.
But here’s my secret: if anybody else had called and asked me to go kayaking down the Tallapoosa River, I would have tried hard to go, community service or not.
It’s simply one of my favorite things to do.
Now is a great time to go, when the Cahaba lilies are blooming, before we hit the 100-degree days of summer that make inner-tubing more fun that sitting in a boat.
So get out there and get a taste of river life.
Or creek life.
Just get out there and enjoy the really great outdoors in Tallapoosa County.
You can watch TV later.
Boone is publisher of The Outlook.