Crazy things you have seen on the river or why you advoid some rivers.

Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
Was reading another paddle sport board were some one started a thread about the crazy things they have seen the floating public do on over used rivers. What have you seen?

My craziest thing was a flotilla of 6 aluminum rentals tied together as a barge. They were floating down the Fox River in IL. We passed them they were up on blocks. Just after we passed them we went a round a bend and hidden from their view was a few jacked up 4 X 4's trucks across the river almost blocking it. We threaded our way through the 4 X4's being used for fishing platforms. While passing the 4 x 4's warned them about the on coming barge. To bad they did not believe us. Pulled out and went onto a conveniently close bridge to watch the fun. A couple of people in the outside canoes tride to stop the barge. The ones in the middle just got this crazy look on their faces as they hit a couple of the 4 X 4's. As soon as it was obvious that no water rescue was going to be needed took off down stream.

For a while had string a water rescues going when we hit a local favorite water sport river. Three times in a row helped reunite boaters with their boats and equipment. After that just went there when we could go so early that every one was still in bed.


No wonder we aviod certiant times of day on some rivers/streams. Like to get out in the middle of no ware by our self's and just listen and observe nature and the more civilized wild life. You know the deer, turtles, bear, wild hogs, gators, racoons, and yes even the ferocious manatee.
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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
Nothing so dramatic for me, just lots of ill prepared travelers.
We were camped between Fish and Little Fish ponds (ADK St Regis area) in late September and a couple came past around 6:00 pm in a boomalum canoe.
He had no shirt, she had heels on, they had no food or water with them. Their boat was empty, except for candy bar wrappers. He asked for directions back to Long Pong as he humped the boat in and out of the water. They had over 5 miles yet to go. I never read any reports about them, so I assume they made it out, somehow.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Aquacars on the Silver. Nekkid kayaker with awesome tan and big Panama hat in the Everglades..Paddled with him...he did not let me too close.A group of 15 canoes or so on the Juniper half upside down.

I won't paddle Juniper on weekends, never again the Weeki Wachee.. ( too crowded) and the Saco at the end of July beginning of August on weekends is pretty crowded. There is room on the river but the Riverkeepers have to keep the launches unplugged and traffic going.

I have paddled the Current too but have never seen the dorkism that others mention. Perhaps cause I get there either in May or October!
 
G

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I won't paddle Juniper on weekends

Juniper Strategy

Avoid weekends
Go late in the day
Get a “haul back” shuttle (drive down to the take out, leave your vehicle, ride back in the shuttle van)
Put on AFTER the last of the rental boats have been launched.
Paddle (float) slowly so as to allow all of the chaos to proceed you downriver.
 
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mine would be to paddle early and fast. No way can I paddle slower than non paddling paddlers. My trip of chaos had a launch at the latest permitted time.. And still trouble awaited.

I would have preferred to start later as its only a 1 hour 40 minute paddle if you know how to paddle and keep the sunny side up.
 
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mine would be to paddle early and fast. No way can I paddle slower than non paddling paddlers. My trip of chaos had a launch at the latest permitted time.. And still trouble awaited.

Well, that Juniper float was one of the slowest 7 mile trips I’ve ever done. We hung around for a half hour after the last rental canoe put on and even paddling slowly caught up to them too soon, so it involved a lot of repeated stopping and waiting until the shouts and gunwale thumps receded downriver.

Back to the original question. I’ve not seem anything too crazy on the river beyond clueless people in boats inappropriate for the venue. The most bizarre thing may have been folks in rental rafts on a very busy trip down Pine Creek in Pennsylvania.

Rafts, plural, as in people who had rented two rafts and stacked one atop the other so they were perched five feet in the air. We saw a couple of rafts stacked in that fashion and I still don’t understand the rational, especially since there was a stiff breeze blowing upriver and their “craft” was essentially unmanageable. Perhaps the concept was to stay far away from the cold water, at least until the unstable and unmaneuverable raft stack caught a rock and flipped over.

The most egregious behavior I’ve encountered has come not from boaters but from folks ashore. I’ve had bank fishermen deliberately cast directly at or in front of my canoe, and have twice had people plinking on the shore send rounds hissing past my head when they were shooting upstream without any backstop.

I do avoid some rivers due to paddler or tuber overpopulation. I don’t paddle my homeriver in summer unless I put on at dawn and am off before noon. Two competing tube rental companies send out hordes of tubers in the summer months, running “tuber taxi” shuttles several times an hour as part of the deal.

The resulting crowd chaos does not make for a pleasant paddling day. To that same end I try to avoid other popular rivers with canoe or tube liveries in summer, especially on weekends.

That weekends caution extends to multi-day trips. Whenever possible I try to avoid starting on a Friday or Saturday. Or even Thursday/Monday in popular areas or those with limited launch space. If space is tight for unpacking the boats I’d rather not take out when lots of other folk are putting on.
 
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Jun 13, 2014
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NW Iowa
It cane be frustrating living in area with limited paddling opportunities but then I read threads like this and count my blessings. While we don't have pristine waterways we do have a few but paddling isn't real popular. Some canoes and kayaks on the local river but not many. I've been on the river at least 15 times this year, paddling upstream and back, and have yet to see another paddler on the water. Not that I'm the only one using the river, just the numbers are small enough that there's usually not multiples at the same time. We're rural but far from remote.

Alan
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
Juniper springs is a nice place. If you get there before the gates open. Untie all but the most necessary tie downs wile waiting for the gate to open. Send the wife to pay for the shuttle service while unloading the canoe and walking the canoe down to the launch. Usually get out as one of the first three canoes this way. just make sure to pack a nice picnic lunch and a book to read at the take out while waiting on the first shuttle.

At the near by Silver river we launch were FL state route 40 crosses at dawn. Usually make it past the State Park launch site before any one else launches. Not sure what to expect now that Silver Springs is a state park with a launch.

Any way the key for us is to get on the water early and break the seal (run through the spider webs from the night before).
 
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Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Five canoes anchored in the middle of a not too wide river last Saturday. The river running at 4 mph. There were some six hundred canoes all moving and these four were immovable. Worse they had multiple anchor lines out. We did not notice they were not moving until too late.. Worse we were kind of sideways so the person in the middle filming for Rogers Cablevision had a clear view and various angles. (that in of itself was interesting)

He was sure he and some 30000 bucks of camera gear were done for. We did not get much water in the boat.. maybe a cup.. And we didn't hit though there were probably some f bombs that had to be edited from the audio. I did refer to the anchorees being related to a primitive life form; I remember that.
 
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