Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deliverance (on the Haw River)

Since the weather was so nice (we hit 92 F last Saturday), and we had already planned it, we went to the Yee Haw Paddle event on the Haw River for a short kayaking adventure. Even though we've driven across it probably a thousand times over the last decade on trips to W-S, Lincolnton, and McAdenville we've never noticed much about before (Interstate 40 crosses the river near Graham, and the town of Haw River has an exit also).

We were planning this excursion with our friends Curt (and his cousin Brandon), and Meghan (and another friend) for a few weeks. After a tandem kayak rental from Paddle Creek, we drove the 45 minutes to Swepsonville. Arriving at the festival, we weren't expecting much, because parking for the event was at the sewage treatment plant. Seriously. All smells aside and a limited knowledge of wastewater treatment facilities, it was a nice place, and if you're in the area they have free mulch and wood chips.

We loaded the kayaks onto the shuttle trailer and hopped in the van, where the event staff rode us up to the starting point at Red Slide Park, so we'd finish closer to where we parked. I can't find any history on this event, but it may have been the first time they've put anything together. But I'm glad they did - the event staff were very friendly and knowledgeable, consisting of college kids, old kayakers and canoers, soccer moms, and the occasional nutball old hippie environmentalist.

The paddle trail starts off near an old Cone Mills plant, and there's evidence of a demolished dam that makes for a tricky start. All of the concrete in the water made for some fast moving rapids, but a lot of fun! There were no big drops, but plenty of rocks to dodge, limbs to get stuck on, and bridge pylons to steer around. The Haw was generally much swifter than the Neuse. Everyone made it down the river safely, although Meghan and Nikki got stuck on some rocks and got swamped (not a problem though, it was shallow enough to wade safely). All were in good spirits after a quick meet-up at Tyler's Taproom on the way home (family, if we ever have an excuse to take you over to Durham together, we'll go to the American Tobacco District).

The picture to the left generally sums up the rest of the weekend. The newly-purchased hammock played a central role, in which we both took turns napping, reading, and eating ice cream while swaying in the hot breeze. It was a nice respite from cold and rainy, and we also got to enjoy our new deck vegetation. For those keeping score, the hammock ranks in the top five of all purchases ever made (that list also includes the iPhone, bicycles, backpacks, and Cooper - Mattie and Arnold were adopted free of charge).

In other news, Ashley finished reading the entire Shopaholic series in about a week, since Confessions of a Shopaholic was her book club book for this month. Note that book club is one part book discussion, one part sangria and five parts gossip. Casey went to Iowa for a work trip (about 12 hours in Iowa, and 18 hours in the Atlanta airport), and to Boone for a work trip. The picture to the right is Pilot Mtn, as viewed from the Rag Apple Lassie vineyards in Boonville (he stopped there on the way back home).

Also we got our vaccinations for our Peru Trip from a travel clinic called Passport Health. Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever, Tdap and Yellow Fever prevention were never so painful (and horribly expensive) but really, its probably better to play this one safe than sorry. As expected, Ashley happened to be one of the 3 of 100 that get side effects from the vaccines.

This weekend, aside from joining up for a group run on Saturday morning at Fleet Feet Sports (followed by mimosas and free food at Whole Foods) we're not going to be up to much.

Its the last free weekend we have before our much hyped May activities. We were thinking of having a cookout but all our friends are up to other things and it would just be us (which is ok too). So, if you're reading this and want to see us before we leave call or just stop in. We'll be here (as usual).

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