Last Thursday on a trip down east was my first day on the water and it put me of a mind to spend more time paddling. The quiet, save for the birdsong and the occasional gal-lump of a turtle inelegantly abandoning sunny log for murky water. The wildlife, including an alligator that was even more distracted by the sun and warmth. The emergence of spring, with the pastel buds of green, white and crimson giving the world a soft focus field. The unique calm that only paddling flat water can offer.
Plan A bombed out. So it was on to … to, well, there wasn’t really a backup plan. And that was fine, because don’t we do our best exploring when there is no backup plan?
Plan A had been to paddle the 5.5-mile stretch of the Haw River from Saxapahaw to the take-out at Greensboro/Chapel Hill Road. Trouble was, I discovered, there is no takeout at Greensboro/Chapel Hill Road (though I’m told there will be sometime this year.) Had I been 20 and naive, I might have tried to fashion a take-out from the cliff that dropped down river left and, for the final plunge, included a tattered belay rope. Being nearly three times 20 and keenly aware of my medical deductible, I opted to punt.