When you leave the office, leave the office
You work hard Monday through Friday. If you’re like me, you often forget to leave the daily grind at the office and focus entirely on family when the weekend arrives. Fortunately, I did a great job of doing just that over the long 4th of July holiday.
How? In part, by rolling down the river. What a wonderful way to spend a chunk of non-working time!
Rentals for your paddling pleasure
David and I canoed down the Flint River once before, but it’s been years – certainly pre-children. We somehow forgot about North Alabama Canoe & Kayak, a rental shop and shuttle service on Moontown Road in Madison County.
The girls wouldn’t fit in one of NACK’s smaller canoes along with David and me, so one of the guys suggested that Serina, 9, canoe with Daddy and Sophia, 7, and I try the tandem kayak.
The water levels were decent. For amateurs (although growing up in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” my family and I were frequent users of our 17′ aluminum canoe), we did pretty well. Even though David and Serina’s canoe capsized within the first 30 minutes. (Subsequently, our bag of towels and clothes was drenched; next time we’ll keep the towels and clothes in the car unless we have a waterproof bag.)
Finding friends on the Flint
That capsizing incident was our first experience with the good Samaritans of the Flint (we met several along the way). Other boaters stopped, helping David flip the boat and get the water out so he and Serina could continue rolling down the river.
While Sophia and I had a few close calls and rammed into branches and banks here and there, we never flipped. Thank goodness. After all, our cell phones were in a dry-box in our kayak (for picture-taking purposes only!).
When we got stuck a few times in shallow waters, a Flint River friend was always nearby to set us free.
This was a trip of camaraderie, family togetherness, team-building and appreciation. It was an adventure we took as a family, but we met delightfully diverse groups of other outdoor enthusiasts along the way. Additionally, with two different boats, David and I had the opportunity to give the girls rare, yet highly coveted individualized attention.
Nature at its finest
As far as appreciation, there is something magical about being in the heart of nature. The Flint runs south from Tennessee through Madison County, eventually connecting with the Tennessee River. It was beautiful and peaceful. There were moments when we just drifted, no one saying a word. We soaked in the sights and sounds of our surroundings. It was heavenly as we enjoyed glimpses of God’s grace and gifts.
There were moments when we felt as if we were the only river-riders on the entire waterway. Then we’d come around a pseudo-sharp curve, and hear laughter from a group of kayakers and canoeists ahead.
By the end of our nearly three-hour tour, our arms were tired, but our hearts were full and our spirits invigorated. We will definitely roll down the river again — no email, spread sheets or Word documents allowed.
Want to roll down the river?
If you’re interested in sharing a similar experience with your family, visit NACK’s website or give them a call at 256-529-0357. It’s pretty reasonable: $35 per adult per canoe or tandem kayak and $10 per kid. Next time we’ll go earlier and pack a picnic, bring a cooler and leave our towels in the car.