This will be an all-day event, with all our meals provided for. This event is a great one for all ages, whether you are a first-timer in a boat or an accomplished river-reader.
Shenandoah River Outfitters is the oldest and the largest canoe outfitter in the Mid-Atlantic. They even have a magazine out about their paddling outfit:
Shenandoah River Gazette
And here is the issue from the prior year (I like the pictures):
Shenandoah River Outfitters Gazette
This is a beautiful way to spend the day
This is a good, day-long paddling excursion on the Shenandoah River that is mostly flatwater but with some exciting spots along the way. We are going with the current, so the effort is not that great. The rates are $58 per person for canoe with lunch and steak dinner; and $66 for a single kayak with lunch and steak dinner. You have to pay online using the form provided below. We could save $10 and get our own lunch, and we could save another $24 and get our own dinner, and we could save even more by staying home......But this way they do it all for us. They provide the boats, the gear, to include paddles and life vests, the shuttle, and the meals. Be advised that these are the discounted group rates that we are getting. Moreover, please be aware that, as time passes, their trips will be all booked up and they will run out of boats! If you procrastinate, there will be no more vessels for you; if that occurs, and you cannot get a boat, you are welcome to join us for dinner only at a cost of $24.
Since this is a relaxed trip, and the facility can accommodate a large group, teens as well as guests are welcome to this event. All members who sign up for this event need to have an appropriate profile photograph posted.
Please, however, do not contact me at a later point in time to tell me that you waited and waited and when you finally decided to go you were told that there were no more boats available. Forewarned is forearmed.
These are the outfitter's canoes - there is only one thing missing in them: You!
There is a beach and a swimming hole along the way where we can go in the river after having been on the river.
For a mid-day lunch, do you want to pack a PB&J sandwich with a granola bar in a ziplock bag, or would you rather have this grill waiting for you with the burgers sizzling along the river? I'll take mine well-done!
Relax and let the three Nancys cook your steak
The river can heal one's soul
Except for the arrival time at 9 AM, these are tentative times, but I am listing them here to give you an idea of our planned day-long river adventure:
We need to be there at 9 AM
They will take care of us from that point on (9 AM) as we begin our adventure on the river
Wear your bathing suit since we will go to a secret place to swim
We should get on the river at 10 AM
We will paddle for 5 hours
During the day, there will also be a lunch break and a swim break for another 1 hour
We will be off the river at 4 PM
We will go to our steak dinner at 5 PM
We should be able to leave by 7 PM
Again, it all depends on the water current and the river level and the weather outlook, as these are factors controlled by One at a much higher pay scale than mine. So, once more, these are all tentative times except for your arrival time of 9 AM.
Off they go!
The dinner will be held back at the outfitter's pavilion.
The food will be great, and there will be plenty of it. We will have huge portions of chicken and steak for dinner. And we are planning to have live music for us at the post-paddle meal, most likely by a female folk singer who is quite good. The area will all be set up for us when we are ready to eat and socialize, with wooden tables under a wooden canopy.
We are using kayaks (both single and tandem), canoes, but NO rafts and NO tubes because they will not be able to keep up with the canoes and kayaks on the long trip. If you are a weak paddler get a canoe or tandem kayak and team up with a partner. There are plenty of canoes but not many tandem kayaks. So ACT FAST!
If you are renting a canoe or a divorce boat, in your RSVP, note if you are looking for a partner or if you need a partner. Then, YOU take the initiative by contacting the person directly by email (NOT by posting a greeting on their profile that no one reads and NOT by making a global comment comprising a prayerful wish for a partner). If you have any questions or need any help, please feel free to send me a direct email and we can work something out. Of course, the earlier the logistics are done, the better it will be.
Here is the safety video recommended for all of us to see:
Please wear your life vest at all times, and remember that there is no alcohol allowed on the river.
The outfitter even has hot showers for us after our trip. Be aware, however, that the trip will take place rain or shine.
Here, again, are the rates for this particular trip. The rate is $58 per person for a canoe (or tandem kayak) with lunch and steak dinner; and $66 for a single kayak with lunch and steak dinner. When they run out of boats the event closes.
Here is the online form that you must use to reserve and pay for the activity:
This is very important: When you reserve using the online form, after the group name write: Bob's Meetup
So, again, at the request of the outfitter, to ensure that you actually sign up with our group, when you reserve your boat online make absolutely sure that after the group name you write: Bob's Meetup
There will be many people that the outfitter is getting on the river this day, so, to ensure you are with our group, follow the above directions.
You will also need to provide a liability waiver. So save time and effort by printing this form, filling it out, and then bringing it with you:
Liability Waiver for the July 14th Shenandoah River Trip
If you wish to extend your adventure and stay overnight and camp here, just reserve it online the same way you are reserving your boat.
At dinner, we will relax with a big steak or BBQ chicken. We can talk about the day's adventures and how the river healed you.
Remember: The limit for the RSVPs is dictated by the number of boats that the outfitter has available for you to reserve. Thus, when the boats run out, then the event will close to new RSVPs.
The outfitter is buying much good food for us, as well as spending substantial resources on preparations for our well-being, so there are no refunds after Friday, July 6th. Accordingly, if you find out you cannot make it after you have paid, get someone to take attend in your place by you sending out an email advertising your spot and then letting me and the outfitter know who is taking your place.
If you are nervous about getting a single person kayak, and you need a partner, note it in your RSVP. For example, say I have a two-person canoe and I am looking for a partner, or I do not have a boat but would like to be with another person who has reserved a boat. Remember, though, that if you get a two-person vessel, and you do not paddle in sync and do not paddle as a team and do use use equal strokes, then it will not be a good idea.
The scenery is very varied along the Shenandoah River and it changes as the mood of the river changes - this is why river readers say the Potomac is masculine but the Shenandoah is feminine, as their original Indian names signify
We will have a good view of the mountains on our journey
Here are the directions. If you use a GPS or Mapquest, you will get lost. So use these:
Obviously, we do not know what the weather and river level will be like until it is close to the event. I will check the gauges and confer with the outfitter on the best and safest place for us to paddle in. As always, your safety and well-being comprise our foremost goal.
This trip is appropriate for first-timers, as well as a good event for veterans. Please bring your camera, as we will have ample opportunities to engage in nature photography.
At Compton's Rapid, on our way to the take-out, we will go over some good waves
Some good Class II action awaits us towards the end of our journey
There will be areas with ripples and waves. One particular spot, Compton's Rapid, should have solid Class II whitewater, and it is very important that paddlers remain to the right side of the river when going through it. There is a false channel on the left side with several pillow rocks therein. Right after the rapids you will enter a pool of very deep water. It is important that you wear your life vest. Since this is an unguided trip, I will stay there while our group goes through it to take your picture as well as to render any assistance. I will have a throw rope just in case. So this is another good reason to stay with the group.
There seems to be many types of paddling techniques here
The wildlife will be watching you
All kinds of families share this river
One goes right and another goes left
For Our Trip:
- Wear tennis shoes or river sandals for the river with an ankle strap; the rocks are sharp and there might be glass there. Flip-flops are useless.
- Bring a towel for the shower after the trip or for sunbathing.
- First aid: a packet of baby wipes, bug spray with Deet, Noxzema will keep the gnats away, some band-aids, or whatever you personally need for health supplies.
- Bring a retainer or string for eyeglasses. Leave your vehicle key behind at the outfitter.
- Trash bag: Bring one just in case, for trash and to keep things dry. Bring a rope to tie it on your boat.
- Bring plenty of water so that you do not get dehydrated.
- There is no alcohol on the river.
- Do not bring any glass bottles or anything you can cut yourself on.
- Other Extras: River gloves if your hands are delicate, a water bailer (just cut a plastic gallon jug at an angle keeping the handle on it.)
- If you plan to fish, make sure you have a valid license (you can get one at Walmart).
- Sun protection: Lotion, hat, pants, long sleeve shirt, and sunglasses with a retainer.
- Bring a complete change of clothes and leave it in your vehicle; remember to bring extra underwear and footwear, as people tend to forget these.
- Rain and wind protection, just in case; a wind-proof jacket will keep you warm.
- Parking at the outfitter: There will be many different groups there, so it is important that you do this cleanly. Upon arrival for your trip, stop in the 10 minute area, check in with the staff, unload the river gear at the outfitter's store, and follow the road to the parking lot 200 yards behind the store. Please only park in that lot. Other areas are part of the National Forest and you can't park there. Leave your vehicle keys at the outfitters--not in the River!
- Please leave all your valuables at home! There is no need to lose valuable rings in the river.
- Directions: Again Follow our directions. MapQuest and GPS units are sending some folks 1 hour, 50 miles, and 2 mountain ranges more than they need to go. It is a beautiful drive, but maybe not what you want to do on this date.
The Shenandoah River is a unique river, as it flows south to north, while most other rivers flow north to south.
Here is the river map that is specific to our trip:
Shenandoah River Map for July 14th Trip
Remember that the trip logistics are totally dependent on the river level. For example, one localized storm the week before or an extended area drought can change the plan, so that the paddle location will be moved. For our trip, the current plan is for a 12-mile downriver paddle. On the above map, we would put in at #8 (where we are parked) and take out at #19 (where the shuttle picks us up). Our lunch will be provided for us at #13 (where one of the swimming holes are located). We even go by two bald eagle nests. I will provide more information on the planned trip in time. For now, this map tells you much, so study it. It is not a topographic map, but it shows the key areas for our specific trip.
The outfitter is a family-run operation that has been in business for many years. They started more than 40 years ago with two old canoes and a dream. Since then, they have been making paddlers of all skills levels happy. We will have a great time. If anyone has any questions about the event or about the river or about anything else, just shoot me a direct email. The three Nancys are eagerly awaiting our arrival.
Towards the end of our journey, as you traverse Compton's Rapid, it may get interesting, so I will stay there to ensure all is well, and bring some throw ropes.
Heading down the river......
Directions (from the Washington, D.C. area):
Take the Route 495 Beltway to Route 66 West to Exit 43A at Gainesville.
Take Route 29 South to Warrentown.
Follow the signs to Route 211 West to Luray.
In Luray (follow the signs), take the 2nd exit to Route 340 South Business (at 200 yards).
Turn right onto Route 675 (Mechanic Street, then the name changes to Bixler's Ferry Road)
Go about 4 miles to Bixley Ferry Road.
Cross the Shenandoah River, then turn right on Route 684 (South Page Valley Road).
Go about 6 miles until you reach the Shenandoah River Outfitters on your right.
Park in the lot behind the store.