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What was the first river you ever paddled?

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First river would have had to be Alafia, Manatee, or Little Manatee in the Tampa FL region in high school or so. Plenty of lakes before that though.
 
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The Wisconsin River, borrowed a canoe and practiced paddling up river as part of a shoulder injury rehab. Paddled all summer, by fall had my own canoe …. Been hooked ever since.

Bob.
 
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Upper Potomac River. In pursuit of the canoe 50 miler merit badge, as 12-13 yo Scouts we paddled Spring Gap to just short of Hancock. Multiple nights of camping on the river just added to the enjoyment. Made me a canoe enthusiast at a young age.
 
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Technically, I guess my first river was the Potomac. The DC Canoe Cruisers used to offer canoe lessons in the C&O canal, technically Potomac water, but not very river-like. That year I also paddled the upriver section of the Pocomoke, and a whitewater section of the Rappahanock. Not sure, which I did first, but both were memorable.

I went on the Rap with 3 guys from work, party-animals, all. We brought two cases of beer, which we finished before the end of the trip. I remember having wicked dry mouth--none of us brought water. I was in the bow and did a pretty good job of getting the bow through the rapids. But, something wasn't right. It was quite a shock to turn around and see there was nobody in the stern. My stern man was so buzzed he fell out of the boat!
 
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The main stem of the Delaware River, from Callicoon down to Minisink, was where I first paddled. I was lucky enough to pick up a used aluminum canoe from Bob Lander's operation and used it for years. My family had a cabin on the PA side of the river about halfway between Skinner's Falls and Narrowsburg. Spent a lot of time on that river paddling, fishing and swimming. Even "commuted" to work in Narrowsburg for one summer with a ride home from one of my parents at the end of the day; my first shuttle.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
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The Allagash River, 2004, with our oldest, Ben. He was 16 and I 47. Family canoeing prior to then consisted of day trips on flat water. I was at a point as a parent where I realized that all too soon Ben would be out of the house and on his own. Time for an adventure, and a canoe trip where we would need to function as a team seemed just the ticket. We rented a canoe from Norm L'Italien who shuttled our vehicle also. We put in at Chamberlain Thoroughfare Bridge, paddled back to Telos Dam, and then out to Allagash Village over 10 days. Wonderful lifetime memories for both of us!
 
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Washtenaw River in Ann Arbor MI in the mid-1950’s as a 7 yo with my dad and an uncle. I remember being captivated by all the wooden canoes at a boathouse.
 
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When I was in Boy Scouts, our troop (#257) built kayaks. We paddled, for about a week, down the Sacramento River, I believe from Redding, back to the confluence with the American River in Sacramento. We had no skills, but all arrived safely. That was in the mid-fifties. I was paddling tandem with Danny Pascue, and for reasons I don’t remember, we became known as ”The Belly Achers.”

Many years later, in about 1988, Kathleen and I paddled our first river, a day trip, on the South Nooksack River, with our canoe club, in northern Washington State. We were hooked.
 
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“The Belly Achers” there must be a juicy story there 🤣
I think Danny and I did a lot of complaining. At one point, Mr. Ekberg, the Scoutmaster, said to me, something like, “When we get home, you’re out of scouts.” And I was doing so well. Was only a few merit badges away from achieving Eagle Scout status. The problem was that it was his son’s turn for kitchen clean-up detail that evening. He wanted to go fishing, though. I was headed off to the river with my fishing pole when Mr. Ekberg ordered me back to camp to do with the dishes, in place of his son, Steve. I pointed out the unfairness of the situation, which didn’t go over well.
 
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I think Danny and I did a lot of complaining. At one point, Mr. Ekberg, the Scoutmaster, said to me, something like, “When we get home, you’re out of scouts.” And I was doing so well. Was only a few merit badges away from achieving Eagle Scout status. The problem was that it was his son’s turn for kitchen clean-up detail that evening. He wanted to go fishing, though. I was headed off to the river with my fishing pole when Mr. Ekberg ordered me back to camp to do with the dishes, in place of his son, Steve. I pointed out the unfairness of the situation, which didn’t go over well.

I’d have had a problem with that too. Bit of an anti-authority streak here, combined with an indignant sense of fairness. I have since developed a better sense of barter, and that situation smacked of opportunity for the prepared!
 
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I really don't recall but most likely some awful channelized ditch polluted with agricultural runoff that poses as a "creek" in southern Illinois. Whatever it was, it wasn't worth remembering. The first "real" river I paddled was most likely the Kaskaskia in Illinois.
 
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I can't remember the name of the river but I just ran across photos of my first time.
 

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The Salt river is channeled off into irrigation canals here in the desert. And yep, I used to canoe the canal near my house. Back in the day those canals were dirt and often lined here and there with big mature Cottonwood trees. There were small fish, turtles, water snakes and even Muskrats swimming in those canals. There was a dirt road on each side and some dare devils would waterski behind vehicles speeding down the canal road.
Times change, the canals are all cement now And the Salt River Project stocks the canals with sterile grass carp, who do a good job of keeping the water way clear of aquatic weeds. I got detained by the police for trespassing the last time I put my canoe in the canal, so I don't do that anymore.
I guess the only real river I have canoed is the Colorado.
 
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Delaware River, on a scout trip, around 1977 or so, somewhere in that stretch from Hancock down to Port Jervis. Pretty sure it was 3 days, 2 overnights. Mostly I remember blisters, sun, and the strange thing my steersman, an older scout, drank: Grapefruit juice. Swore it was the best thirst quencher ever. I didn't like it at the time, but tried it again years later and loved it.
 
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Probably the Pemaquid River, from Biscay Pond to Johns Bay; Bristol, ME. Well, I was a passenger anyway in my Dad's tandem Pionier 540G folding kayak. 1956 or so. The first river in which I actually paddled was with the Boy Scouts on the Brandywine River north of Wilmington, DE. Scene of lots of Revolutionary War history. Battle of the Brandywine, DuPont's gunpowder mills along the creek. Highlight was the water snake we killed and subsequently cooked over a fire and ate. Whitest meat I've ever consumed. Like fish but not fishy tasting. I've felt guilty ever since for killing the poor snake.
 
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The good old Madawaska River in Ontario when I was 8 years old. I try to paddle it at least once a year.
 
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