We kayaked the French Broad River on Saturday with Upstate Hiking. Actually the event was called Captain Morgan’s Boats and Beers in honor of one of our members whose trail name is Captain Morgan. Long story.
I have no photos to share for you as I have lost one cell phone in a river in Maine making me shy of taking any electronics with me. You’ll have to look at the Upstate Hiking site for photos of the event taken by other members.
We started our day at the Asheville Outdoor Center in NC off Amboy Road. They were very professional and very well organized. I especially appreciated the video and directions on how to handle the river as we saw several people not from the center who got in trouble in the places they had pointed out. Thanks AOC!
The French Broad in the Asheville section meanders by the property of the Biltmore Estate on the right. We were instructed not to land on that side as we would be trespassing. But we could see the top of the Biltmore House from the river at one point and the hotel as we passed by. They do have a road that parallels the river and in case of emergency we were instructed we could get off and go for help.
Some of us had open kayaks and some had “closed.” I was in an open kayak and got a little sunburned but am healing up now. The river water does tend to settle in an open kayak but it was okay as the sun kept us warm as we paddled.
It was a beautiful day. As we started off, you could hear the loud traffic noise which we eventually left behind. The magnetism of the river, the birds singing in the trees, and the lapping of the water against the kayak made you think of being in a different time. You could almost imagine yourself back a hundred years for a short stretch. Almost as if time had gone backwards. Me just being a little whimsical but that’s what it felt like.
I kept to the back for quite a while as the sweep keeping the other kayakers in sight. They did not need any assistance but still good to make sure we didn’t lose anyone on the way. Mr. T came back to check on us and I took that opportunity to go ahead and exercise my arms. I don’t do much kayaking so it is good to practice although this river has a pretty good flow that doesn’t require much effort.
One of our sharp eyed kayakers on the trip pointed out a large number of Canada geese who followed one another off the Biltmore bank into the water for a little dip. They almost immediately turned around and headed back onto land. What a sight! Our other wildlife encounter was with the dragonflies as they would land on you such that you had to shoo them off. But they were not hurtful so no worries.
We passed under three bridges on this trip. One bridge in particular worried me. I can’t explain why but I hurried quickly under hoping to pass by before anyone could toss something over the edge. Probably just being a little too cautious.
After several hours on the river, we arrived back at the AOC where we disembarked from the river and got ready for our trip to a local brew pub. Okay so that was the beers part. I wont go into detail on that part of the trip but we had lots of fun sitting in the sun outside drinking beers and eating peanuts and the like and just generally cutting up. Lots of fun! and a great adventure for a Saturday.