There were several times when Rich & I were out doing research for our two Take A Paddle guidebooks, that we’d drive to a waterway with all our gear loaded, with the intent of paddling a stream. Then we’d stand along the edge and look in awe at the raging torrent before us and say in unison “we’re not paddling here today.”
Streams can change dramatically, taking on a whole new look and feel – like a chameleon. Placid moving water can become a torrent of fast current, rapids, and overflowed banks. Spring melt can do it, and so can a recent rain.
I received an email message from Dave Walton recently, thanking me for the “Take A Paddle” book that led him to Canandaigua Outlet. However, the outlet he paddled was a far cry from what I paddled and described in the guidebook. In his shoes, I would have called it a day before launching. Especially on this stream, where access points are severely limited. If anything goes wrong, you’re far from help.
Here, in his own words, is what he experienced:
“I just completed the Canandaigua to Lyons run on the Candandaigu Outlet. Boy was that insane.. especially after all the rain over the weekend. Not much has changed…but the water was so high, I’m sure I went right over many “low water” obstructions.
At the “football field” logjam the water was so high I actually floated around in an adjacent bean field. I camped at Cheerful Valley Campground. They graciously only charged me $15 for a 3×6 stretch of grass … no accouterments. I went all the way to Lyons and pulled out at the NEW Rt. 31 Bridge. (on the southeast side).
Tho’ there are indeed several long spans of slow moving water after the campground, there are a myriad of challenging rapids as you approach Lyons. That caught me by surprise as it wasn’t documented in your book. A couple of the rapids were straight ahead but most twisted and turned.
Despite the stress, I had one comical encounter…I was coming to a rapid and seeing there was a left turn AFTER the rapid, I decided to stay left…the rapid didn’t seem as aggressive. So I determined to go that route. As I picked up speed, my whole canoe ended up on a huge concrete slab just a few inches below the water. I know…I know, … stop laughing.”
Paddling is great fun. Just be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Thanks Dave for sharing your experience and giving us a good laugh.