I got a sayin’, “It’s all good!” That applies to different water features: rivers, lakes, swamps, all over the country, and also to different boats - canoes, kayaks, rafts, ducks, sit on tops. I tend to avoid large open bodies of water (great lakes, ocean), as I haven’t developed that skill set or have the boats for it. I also like my scenery to change so I tend to stick to shorelines. So I’m incomplete, got some stuff to work on. That’s okay.
Some craft are better suited than others for a particular place. Yet I often make due- meaning I’ve rented boats from liveries , or used a boat in an environment that it wasn’t designed for (another form of suffering needlessly). In those situations, I frequently keep the distances short because it often involves a ww boat on flat water. Lately, comfort in the boat has become a much bigger priority. Put me in a skinny boat designed to go straight and fast and I struggle with it. A lack of experience on my part. So it’s okay to not be good at everything. You’re allowed to learn new stuff.
95% of my paddle days are on day trips and the vast majority of those day trips are under 10 miles in length. Most of the other 5% (multiday) happened before the age of 30. Somewhere along the line, I got a bit lazy. Repacking the gear daily, sleeping on the ground, simply required more effort, prior planning and became less appealing.
Sometimes I’ll focus on certain stretch of river. When I was younger, I was paddling a lot on the New River Gorge (WV) between Cunard and Fayette Station. I think I logged about 400 days on that one stretch. The truth is though, I don’t really feel confident with that stretch and the class IV stuff anymore. I didn’t stop paddling, I just changed it up to “easier” stuff.
I enjoy my camper with its comforts. I’m “glamping” more than I’m camping. I also tend to end up on “unfettered” streams, with no lottos or river permits that require competition to get. Perhaps when I actually get retired I’ll think more about overnights and extended river trips. Perhaps an oar rig will be in my future for western rivers.
I’ve paddled in 33 states. Hope to knock off another 3 this summer- Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and revisit some- TN, NC, CO.
There’s good water everywhere. The most important thing, isn’t your style of boat or skill level, but your attitude. I enjoy interacting with other folks who are passionate about paddling- even if their style is different than mine. I can learn more from diversity than simply sticking with the folks I usually paddle with. In any given year, I probably paddle/shuttle with at least 100 different people.
If your wagon squeaks as it rolls down the river that’s fine by me. We can be different and enjoy the diversity. It’s all really just about “messin’ around in boats”.
What makes it “all good” is if you: wear a pfd, dress for immersion, and enjoy the pbrs when you’re off (not on) the water.
SYOTR (see you on the river), Tony