Tour de Yadkin an 18-day paddling adventure

If you like to paddle, plan on calling in sick for most of June. And if you think you might like to try paddling, plan to take at least a day.
This morning at 10 a.m., the Tour de Yadkin got underway on the Yadkin River, from the base of W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir. The Tour continues daily through the 23rd, with daily paddle trips led by Yadkin Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and various related events. It’s an event suitable for veteran paddlers as well as folks who don’t know their bow from their stern.
While a great paddling opportunity, the annual TdY’s primary goal is to expose the masses to the challenges the Yadkin faces, from fracking to fibrowatt.
“This is the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act,” Naujoks said before the event, “so we’ve made the annual paddle even bigger and better than previous years because we want people to discover the beauty of this North Carolina resource and ways that doing just a little can make our waters more fishable, swimmable and drinkable.”
Each day will include time on the river — and something unique as well.
Today’s 7.1-mile paddle, for instance, will be followed by a Historic Ghost Walk Tour on the Wilkes County Greenway led by Historian, R.G. Absher. Friday, there’s a 6.8-mile paddle planned, from Ronda downstream (we know, but we still feel obligated) to Elkin, followed by yoga, dinner and camping at Crater Park in Elkin. Saturday begins with breakfast and a one-mile hike on a freshly-minted stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Tail, followed by a 5.7-mile paddle to the Carolina Heritage Winery for a tour, wine tasting and bluegrass concert. I’m challenged to think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
Other highlights:

  • June 16, “First Annual Paddle-A-Thon” at Tabglewood Park in Clemmons. Raise a minimum of $50, paddle 10.8 miles of the Yadkin. Prizes awarded for raising the most money, soliciting from the most people, traveling the farthest for the day’s paddle, most creative dress and most creatively decorated boat. Prizes include helicopter rides and kayaks! Starts at 11 a.m., food and drinks provided.
  • June 17, “Father’s Day Fish and Float,” from Tanglewood downstream to the Historic Hairston Plantation. 1 p.m.
  • June 18-19, Overnight camping trip at Boone’s Cave Park. 22.3 miles of total paddling.
  • June 23, Finale, with hiking and camping at Morrow Mountain State Park.

Learn more about these events and find out what’s happening on the other days of this 185-mile paddling party at the Yadkin Riverkeeper site.
And keep your eye on this site; We’re hoping to break out the paddle and spend a day or two on the Tour de Yadkin. We’ll report back.

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