The January paddling trip was a bit of a make up for the cancelled trip in December. We had cancelled our big trip in December due to excessive snow at our paddling destination. This make up trip was to be in the original location.
About 8 or 9 were slated to attend the trip, but sickness and other issues kept it to 6 of us. We met in Van Buren for lunch at the Float Stream restaurant. The Float Stream is an iconic restaurant that my grandfather first took me to when deer hunting as a kid.
The day prior we had decided to forego camping and actually stay in a hotel the entire weekend. We were afraid we might lose more people if we didn't. It turned about to be a good decision because it rained all day Friday. We drove by our planned campsite late on Friday afternoon and it was indeed a sloppy mess. I'm confident we would have rutted up the place had we tried to park vehicles there.
Saturday morning we returned to the Float Stream for breakfast before heading to our put in at Paint Rock. Getting there was a challenge as the creeks had risen from all the rain. We crossed the same creek several times. It continued to get larger, faster, and deeper as we neared the river.
Once on the river it was a nice, quick float. The river was up so we were making great time.
We stopped just above Chilton Creek for a quick break and were in Van Buren shortly after one. I was trailing the pack and arrived in Van Buren to learn that one of the guys had flipped his kayak just before the bridge.
After he changed into dry clothes, we had lunch, and shuttled vehicles, it was back on the river. We ended our trip at Big Springs.
For Sunday we intended to paddle from Van Buren to Big Tree, but the water was too high for a safe take out at Big Tree so we did a quick morning paddle to Big Springs instead. Paddling into the morning sun made it a challenge to see, but it made for nice photos.
Overall it was a great trip. I'm ready to go again.