Sunday, July 22, 2007

Trip Report On Dogwood Acres to Frisbee Ramp

Dianne and Greg Paddling
Originally uploaded by FreeWine
Last week I got an email from a blog reader in Checotah with an idea for a paddling trip. Greg, a kayak paddler who lives near our lot at Dogwood Acres, suggested we paddle from our lot, down the North Canadian River and across Eufaula Lake to the Jack Frisbee boat ramp.

Normally, Dianne and I have to take 'up-and-back-again' trips on the river because we only have one vehicle and no shuttle. Needless to say, we were thrilled to get a chance to do a 'one-way', downriver trip and to meet one of our new neighbors.

The float trip is about 6 miles, most of it with a decent downstream current. We started early in the morning to try and beat the heat. This is pretty important for taking this particular trip during the summer. Although the river portion of the trip offers some current and quite a bit of shade, the last leg of the trip is pure Lake Paddling in the blazing sun.

One of the downsides of paddling Oklahoma lakes is that the wide open area offers little shade. Also, the lack of distance cues around you makes it seem like you are paddling at an a very slow speed. The feeling of slowness makes paddling across many Oklahoma lakes feel very monotonous. There is also an element of danger when paddling your kayak across a big expanse of water where ski boats and personal watercraft race around at breakneck speeds.

Despite a couple miles of paddling across the lake at the end, the trip is a good one. Although not as scenic as the Illinois River or the Lower Mountain Fork River, paddling the North Canadian offers solitude, peacefulness and some cool bird watching opportunities.

Meeting Greg was the best part of the trip. He is a really conscientious paddler and all-around nice guy who has developed some very good safety habits. Dianne and I set the bar rather low when it comes to safety procedures. We wear our PFD's when paddling, but that is about the extent of our safety preparations. Greg plotted the whole trip out on a map and brought along some rescue gear in case someone ran into trouble.

His kayak is a cool Advanced Elements boat about ten feet long, some folks call them Folding Kayaks. Advanced Elements makes hybrid kayaks that have the buoyancy of an inflatable kayak with a rigid frame that makes it easier to paddle than most pure inflatable boats. The best feature of the boat is that is can be carried on a roof rack like a regular kayak OR you can take it down and fold it into a bag for traveling!

The trip running from Dogwood Acres to Jack Frisbee Boat Ramp near No Name Creek will be one I am sure we will repeat. The Frisbee Baot Ramp is right of Highway 150 and offers a great parking area that is close to food, lodging, bait...whatever you need.

Greg offered two suggestions on the trip that I ignored and looking back on it...I should have taken his advice. The first was when he offered us all sunscreen at about 9:30am and the second was when he suggested a group picture at the end. Buddy, you were right!

This felt like our first real float trip of the summer because it isn't a real float trip until someone (me) gets a sunburn on their knees, right? Greg, if you are reading this…thanks for a great trip! Dianne and I really enjoyed it meeting a fellow paddler that knows the Eufaula area so well.

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