The banner marked the club's campground location, and the
whitewater playboat that is being raffled.
First, an explanation of what got me into this kind of training is in order. Most know I’m a flat-water or quiet-water paddler, and that’s what I enjoy most. However, on many bodies of water, every flat-water section of a river, or pool, as they call it, is followed by some type of rapid or drop as the river progresses from mountains to sea. So two obvious things present themselves. One, if I’m wanting to run a river, unless I’m very selective in the waters I paddle, it’s inevitable that I’m going to face rapids or other forms of fast moving water somewhere along the line. Being too nervous about fast-moving water would deny me access to a lot of beautiful rivers. Two, being a firm believer in doing things safely, I believe it pays to learn from those who already have the experience on how to finish a river without being drowned or injured, or having damaged one’s boat, or lost much of one’s camping gear and provisions. While many have told me that running rapids is addictive, I haven’t reached that point yet, and consider this training more under the heading of acquiring a survival skill.
A view down the Mulberry River, yet another looming rapids,
and the scenic Ozark Mountains in the background.
When I awoke Friday morning (Mar. 29), the fog was too thick to see across the yard. That was not a promising way to start a long trip, but I hoped it would lift later in the morning. I started out at 45 mph, sometimes less. By the time I reached Watonga (32 miles away), the fog started lifting and disappeared in another 20 minutes. It was a 6 ½ hour trip to Ozark, AR, and it rained much of the way from Oklahoma City on. I had reserved a room in the Ozark Motel on the chance that Jean might like to go along. As soon as I had checked in and got my stuff in the room, I headed for Turner Bend to scope things out, meet Ed McClung, and get checked in and pay for the course. I walked about at Turner Bend for awhile and shot a few pictures. While I got a few shots to share, the weather was going to be too gray and wet for most photography over the weekend.