Over the long July 4th weekend in 2006, Debbie and Bob Laney joined Allison Laney and her fiancée Steven Harris, and Brian Mendenhall and his buddy Tyson Philyaw from Winston-Salem for a pleasant day of paddling canoes on the New River. Brian and his buddy could only stay for the day canoeing. Allison and Steven camped 4 days at the New River State Park, Wagoner Access. Debbie and Bob stayed the first evening at the campsite to share a charcoal grilled cookout supper with the youngsters. Then two days later the old fogies returned in the evening after work to do it again - this time cooking over a fire of oak and maple. We old timers just can’t get enough of that campfire taste!
Saturday morning saw the Laney clan meeting at Debbie and Bob’s Fairplains, NC, house to carpool with the NC State students. We met the Mendenhall contingent at the river put in where NC-16 crosses NC-88, just down stream from Zaloo’s. The weather was perfect – clear blue ski, warm but not broiling hot, a mild breeze and refreshingly cool water. (More on the water temperature later...).
Debbie and Bob could not hold back and continuously paddled ahead of the group. The Mendenhall contingent hung back while they explored piscatorial looking water and fished most of the day. They caught a number of smallmouth bass, blue gills and similar pan fish. The Wolfpack contingent averaged some where in between. Soon the Wolfpackers got into one of the first rapids…caught the bottom of their canoe (graciously loaned by Joe and Lisa Samuel)… and tipped over. Thus their introduction to the refreshingly cool water!
We repeated much of the same throughout the middle of the day. More paddling ahead by the old fogies. More fishing by the young bucks. And more canoe tipping with river dipping by the sweethearts.
By mid-afternoon the fishermen were so far behind that our other boats pulled out at the grist mill rapid to wait. Bob got back in the water with a solo canoe to practice his white water moves: paddling upstream through the rapid by eddy hopping, crossing current lines, side surfing and front end surfing.
Eventually we all exited at the Wagoner Access New River Park. We were lucky to find one empty camp site which the sweethearts snagged for the weekend. After a hearty grilled supper we all retired to home or tent, ruddy from the sun, tired but happy!