Paddle Tips


Weekend paddling tips:

ROUGH ITINERARY:

Friday - Evening Start

Beginning after work allows time to really get into the spirit of the trip.  You can decompress, get the feel of your boat, leisurely make camp and get your affairs in order.  Most "first day" paddles are short: usually a few hours. 

First night - make camp

Your gear will be delivered to your first overnight location by the R.A.C. crew (or as close as possible, if your desire is a rustic remote location...like an island).  When you make camp: get settled in.  RAC helps with food and gear if that is part of your adventure.

Saturday Morning Start

If you decide to begin your trip on Saturday morning, it becomes a "crack of dawn" event. You will have missed the leisurely nature of Friday night, the opportunity to socialize with your fellow trip mates and you will start your trip a lot more hurried.  But we understand that Friday is not always and option, so Saturday morning is better than not at all.  Typically, this is a meeting at our location in Riverside and shuttle...but not always.

Once we either arrive at the launch location, or rendez-vous with your Friday evening party - you are put on the river, to start your paddle.

Saturday Evening Start

Sometimes, we add paddlers to a weekend group on Saturday evening.  Work and other commitments necessitate flexibility.  When this is necessary, we usually meet at Indian Head Campground in Bloomsburg.  These folks will join in the evening merriment, camp overnight, and then join us for our Sunday leg of the journey.  

Sunday Morning Start

It's a 4 - 5 hour paddle from Bloom to Danville.  Usually we can leave Bloomsburg between 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.   This puts us back to our start location in Danville between noon and 1:00 p.m.  We'll have burgers, dogs and other picnic food and drink available for you when you arrive either in Danville or back at Indianhead.  Feel free to hang around for a while or you can just get to your vehicle, if you have time considerations.

SUPPLIES:

Things to bring: 

Always a discussion topic among paddlers.  Some folks like/need to have every piece of gear imaginable for every situation.  Other folks lean more to the minimalist side of the scale.  Somewhere in the middle is probably they best balance.  Be prepared for what is likely to happen, without needing a barge to carry all your stuff down the river.

R.A.C. makes it easier on our overnight groups, but shuttling your gear for you.  By doing this, you don't have to worry about having a boat full of gear, and then tipping over, and eating wet food, and sleeping in a wet sleeping bag for an entire weekend.

My short list for on the river:

Sunscreen- Water & drinks- Fishing gear & license- Special diet items or snacks.- Any meds you need.- Pocket money in case you stop in a town.- Toilet paper in a bag.  Extra zip-lock bags to keep things dry (like cell phones). *NOTE* - Paddling is not a dry activity.  Assume everything you bring with you will get soaked if you don't put it in something protective.

Sitting under a tree, getting soaked, waiting for a break.

Sitting under a tree, getting soaked, waiting for a break.

CONDITIONS:

Weather

Always a variable.  Can change from great to horrible in a matter of hours.  I'll send an email to everyone that is registered prior to the event and we'll discuss general weather predictions at that point. 


Typically, river levels are not dangerous by any standard and rate as "class 1" water (calmest rating).  However, paddlers might encounter some excitement near bridges.  Pilings and swift water situations exist at both the Berwick bridge, and Catawissa bridge.  Currently, staying RIVER RIGHT at both of these locations offers the safest passage.

RELATIVE SAFETY

EMERGENCY / OUT OF BOAT

Safety is a tricky topic.  If you want to be "safe", probably the best thing to do at this point, is stop reading this, and go sit on your couch and watch TV every moment of every day.  Now, I might make an argument, that that type of behavior is actually the most RISKY of all behaviors...but that's a discussion for the river, when we are on "River Time".

So instead of calling this section "Safety", I'm choosing to call it "Relative Safety", because relatively speaking, you are going to be less safe paddling, than doing other passive activities.  Some RISK comes with the territory when you get in a boat and head out onto the water.  If that makes you uncomfortable: you really have no business considering kayaking.  Not trying to be harsh, but we need folks that understand the risks, and have considered the benefits vs. the risks of spending time on the river.

We'd love to have you: but we need you to be realistic.

I've provided three videos on the right.  There are hundreds on the internet, and I urge you to watch as many as you can stand.  Being more prepared, is always better than being unprepared.

  1. The first video is very general.  Just basics of kayaking.
     
  2. The second video demonstrates how to get into your kayak if you fall out.  This guy is a pro, so he makes it look very easy.  It won't be as easy for you, but it's nice to have a video of what is possible.
     
  3. The third video shows a more realistic version of getting back into a kayak for most folks.  It show someone helping you.  Typically, this is how it happens, or you simply swim with your kayak until you get to shore, empty it, and get in from dry ground.

If you go out of the boat in swift water, float on your back.  Point your feet down stream and keep your toes out of the water. float using your life jacket (pfd) until you get into calmer water. 

Float with your boat if you can.  If you can't float with the boat, let someone else worry about your boat.  Your priority is to get to shore as soon as you can.  If it's a guided trip, we'll get your boat to you and get your going again.  If you are on your own, maybe watch these videos, to become more familiar with boat emptying techniques.  We'll talk more about safety during the shuttle ride to your launch location.