Monday, 9 October 2017

'Lazy Sunday' river paddle and run

Yesterday I had one of my best activity days in ages. While my running has been regular and consistent for many months, I haven't done much in the way of distance as I run with Rusty and I have been very short on time. To get in some distance, I decided to run home from the take-out at the end of our river paddle -  a perfect combo.

I haven't tripped the river since last summer, where I probably set a record for the number of swims down rapids (3!). The river has been up a little - at around 35 cumec - so it was a good level to run.

There was Celliers, me, Ruben (9), Kyla (12), Hugh, Eric (12) and Karen. Ruben, Celliers, Hugh and Eric have been on the water quite a bit recently and Ruben is paddling beautifully. He and Eric take turns leading through the rapids - very sweet. Karen regularly paddles on the river while Kyla has paddled less than me.

Well, 35 cumec is just lovely! No swims for any of us! Yay!

The river is looking magnificent with green-leafed weeping willows on the banks, birds twittering all over and everything looking bright and sparkly after the recent rains. I didn't take along a camera so I don't even have photos to show you.

We took a route down that I haven't taken before. The Vaal River around here has many islands and channels and not all of the channels allow passage. I really like the narrow channels with vegetation on either side. It is quite magical. The rapids were all great and I didn't even have any near swims. Clean runs that felt good.

When we got down to Gatsien ("See your ass") rapid, the last one before the take out, we hung around there to surf the wave. This is where we have local kayak rodeos because this rapid forms a really great wave. This was my first time surfing and I had a blast. I even did a bit of manoeuvering in the rapid and a few time got in and out without swimming. Of course, I did take two swims too - it is a good rapid to swim with little risk as you get washed out immediately.

I'm paddling a sit-on-top whitewater kayak, which suits my novice status. This run and the surfing has definitely added to my skills and confidence and I'll definitely do more of this before getting into my sit-in whitewater kayak. I also need to do a lot more rolling practice. With the sit-on-top I can take a swim and then climb on again. A sit-in is more of a mission. Nonetheless, a good skill to acquire and work on later in the season.

Off the water, I changed into my running gear and set off for home. The first two kilometres is dirt road and the rest is tar. With about 6km to go I phoned my mom. She was ready and waiting to bring Rusty to me so that I could run the last bit with my doggy - getting in her run for the day.

Dark clouds has been threatening and within a few minutes of my mom heading off we could fee a few drops. And then more drops. And then a downpour. Rusty handled it well and with 2km to home we took shelter under the roof of the Indian shop near the bridge. If it had just been me I would have kept running but I am cautious of putting Rusty off playing with me! I sent Celliers a message to say we were fine and that we'd head out again once the rain passed but he was already on his way to find out. Minutes later we were in the bakkie - Rusty looking very relieved.

So, a very good morning with a successful paddle and a lovely run. I aim for many repeats this summer.

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