Paddling buddy Dave and I got up early and met at the boat ramp in Palmyra, VA at 6:30am this morning, threw both boats on top of his car and then headed back toward Charlottesville to begin our training run in our kayaks.
We launched our boats just below the S. Rivanna Reservoir dam, upstream of the Rt. 29 bridge at ~7:50am.
The weather was overcast and drizzly at times and also windy at times. And a few times the sun even popped out.
Our purpose was to get some base miles in in preparation for the James River Rundown. I also wanted to test my eating/fueling for a longer paddle and get some blisters/calluses on my hands that will serve as natural protection later in the paddling season.
We spotted a bald eagle at the confluence with the North Rivanna and then spotted two more bald eagles later in the trip downstream of Shadwell. We spotted turtles in large quantities on many protruding logs and numerous Osprey.
I ate a breakfast of two strips of bacon with two scrambled eggs and coffee on my drive to Palmyra and only had ~17oz. of water the entire trip. I felt good and never felt hungry. The other Dave had some Gatorade before we left and then I gave him a 1.5oz bag of roasted and salted almonds that I brought in case of emergency. He needed them more than I did so I was happy to give the bag to him.
The trip was relatively uneventful and we did not see any other paddlers the entire trip.
We GPS’ed the trip at ~29.8 miles, but before we got to the boat ramp at Palmyra we both decided it would be a shame to get that close and not hit 30 miles, so before we reached the ramp, we turned around and paddled upstream a bit and then came back down to make sure we could log a full 30 miles. We finished in 5 hours and 14 minutes.
It was a good trip and it was nice to have company.
At ~mile 17 we both realized that the mental aspects of the trip started to come into play. In other words, our bodies felt good but we were beginning to feel the physical effects of paddling and we found ourselves going silent as we each tried to convince our brains that it would be OK if we just keep paddling, trying to reconcile that with the number of miles behind us and the number of miles ahead of us. It was nice to actually be able to discuss that with somebody else. Usually I’ve been paddling alone when that has happened in the past.
Our lower backs were both in pain at the end of the trip, but other than two blisters on my left hand (the hand I anchor my paddling with,) I felt fine. Just a bit tied and some of that was from getting up at 5am.
This was the longest paddle on the Rivanna I had ever done and the longest trip Dave had ever paddled. It was also my first time on the river between Crofton and Palmyra.
A brief video trip report is below.