People from Florida like to come to the North Carolina mountains in the summer because it is cooler and there are fun things to do, like river kayaking. The long weekend of July 20, 2019, Deena Thomas’ grandchildren Mileena, age 13 years, and Tre, age 9 years, came to visit us. Monday morning we decided to go kayaking on the South Fork of the New River in Ashe County. We started at Zaloo’s Canoes on NC Hwy 16 south of NC Hwy 88 and paddled north east to the Wagoner Access State Park.
Ranger Bob was a little concerned about how the grandchildren would fare in the boats, given their young ages and this being their first time paddling on moving water. Have no fear! Mileena and Tre turned out to be naturals. They immediately jumped in their boats, headed to mid-stream and commenced to move down river. No body turned over or fell in, even though we went through many small rapids and short sections of white water. Because of all the rocks, it took some visual navigation and paddling skills to shuttle across the river and find the route in the rapids. We all did wonderfully.
Of course, the children behaved like pirates and engaged in several water splashing fights. Most of the way down river we stopped beside an old grist mill at a small sandy beach and pulled our boats up on the river bank. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch fixed by Deena. For dessert we ate fresh cherries, which evolved into a cherry seed spitting contest. Most of the time Mileena or Tre won. At the take out we endured the hardest part of the trip, which was hauling the boats up the steep path from the river ramp to the parking lot. At the Park Zaloo’s gave us a shuttle ride back to their outfit and our parked Jeep. A good time was had by all!