What has always drawn me to water is the connectedness - that with the right skill and boat, I could paddle from my local river to anywhere in the world. This was my first year as a kayak owner, so both my skill and boat are not up to the task . . . yet. I have set a goal for Spring 2008 to paddle my home river (Rivanna) to the confluence with the James River and down to the Chesapeake Bay, perhaps a brief trip past the mouth of the bay just to have technically made it to the Ocean.
So far my paddling experience consists of frequent trips on mellow rivers (Class 1 w/ some isolated Class 2), paddling on my local lake, and a few paddles in tidal estuaries - Lynnhaven Inlet, Murrell’s Inlet, etc. I have tried to challenge myself by going out in adverse weather, heavier volume, etc. My solo camping experience is even skimpier than my paddling.
This will be about a seven day trip with one area of whitewater for which I will probably hire a guide (and rent an appropriate boat) - the rest begins as a mellow river and gradually widens into a wide tidal river then bay.
I would like your advice about how to:
- Get my paddling and outdoor skills up to par. What are the essential skills that I will need to master.
- What type of boat should I look to use. My Perception Montour 11.0 is friendly, but not up to the task for space or potential conditions.
- What types of paddling experiences should I gain next year to be ready?
- What are the best resources for river maps, guides, etc.
It is important to me to make this paddle solo and to do it safely. Thanks for helping me begin thinking about this trip.