One August I took off on another camping and kayaking trip down Sugar Creek. This time My Lady went with me in her kayak.
The beauty of that creek is always amazing to me, but the layout (or topography) changes from year-to-year. And sometimes from day-to-day.
This trip the water level was real low, and that meant that even our kayaks wouldn’t always float across the rapid areas. (Kayaks don’t sit very low into the water, and have the ability to float over very shallow areas.)
Pretty often we got hung up on the rocks and had to get out to pull the boats across the rapid into deeper water before we could paddle on our way.
The second day on that creek is always the longest day. The first day I never get started downstream before one or two in the afternoon. That means the first stop is never very far from where I start out.
But I have found a nice place to make that stop, and for the night. It’s a sandbar on the south bank, right at a small rapid (at least that rapid is small when the water is low). On that sandbar, I always fall asleep to the sound of the bubbling water as it rushes over the rocks.
The second night’s stop is about a mile downstream from Shade’s Canoe Camp at a place that I call “Canoe Killer Rock.” Turkey Run Canoe Rentals calls it “Suck Rock.”
The rock has a reputation of pulling canoes into itself when the water’s running fast.
When a canoe slams up against the rock in fast-moving water, the canoe normally gets busted up (if it’s a fiberglass canoe), and all bent and mangled (if it’s an aluminum canoe).
The rock is in the middle of the creek, just around a bend, and very notorious for sinking inexperienced canoe renters.
But the sandbar on the south bank right at Canoe Killer Rock is usually a very nice spot to spend the second night of my camping and kayaking excursions.
At Shade’s Canoe Camp the mosquitoes, gnats, and raccoons drive you nuts if you spend the night. The Canoe Killer Rock sandbar has Deer Flies to deal with (usually not many), and nothing else. The raccoons don’t come around because they’re not used to people being there I guess.
They mostly expect overnight campers at the Shade’s camp because it’s common during the summer canoe rental season.
It takes me eight or nine hours to get from the first night’s camping stop to Canoe Killer Rock. (Which isn’t too bad.) That’s when I’m by myself because I’m normally pretty quick about pulling the across the shallow rapids and getting back afloat again. But when someone else takes that trip with me the going is usually a lot slower, and the second day turns into a ten to twelve hour float.
When the water’s low, and you have to get out of the boat to pull it across most every rapid, that trip becomes hard work, and very tiring.
Toward the end of the day you’re super tired, and wondering if you’ll ever make it to Canoe Killer Rock before dark. One trip it didn’t happen until after midnight, but that’s another story.
It’s at those times when I’m exhausted from all that paddling and pulling that I like to stop for a moment, look at the Bald Eagle sailing overhead, a Beaver swimming, or a deer crossing downstream.
And I think, “Yeah, God found a way to make even the hard work part of camping and kayaking worthwhile.”