Goodbye 2018 / Hello 2019
Well 2018 is ending. I’ve had a great year and enjoyed many adventures. 2019 opens the doors for even more.
I am finishing off 2018 at a Winter Paddling Clinic at Echo Bluff State Park in Missouri. I drove up after church to Eminence MO where I had booked a hotel room for 2 nights. Echo Bluff is just 15 miles up the highway. I arrive at the state park about 5:30, get checked in and visit with some of the other paddlers waiting for the event to start. I had made contact with members of the Ozark Mountain Paddlers this last week and made plans to kayak with them on December 31 – weather permitting.
The activities started at 7:00 with introductions followed by a presentation by Ivan Bartha. A kayaker who has visited several countries and paddled in some exotic places.
New Years Eve morning started with a hearty breakfast at Margie’s Place. I drive out to Echo Bluff to meet with the Ozark Mountain Paddlers at 10:00 where we made shuttle plans and set a departure time. We launched our kayaks on the Current River from Pultite Recreation Area and started our paddle downstream. We had a total of 5 paddlers and enjoyed a leisurely 5 mile paddle down the river. We took out at Current River State Park, loaded up and headed back to Echo Bluff for the afternoon events.
Afternoon events included talks from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Team River Runners, (a group dedicated to getting disabled veterans on the water), and a presentation on choosing the best kayak for the activity you wanted to pursue. A hospitality room was set up with food for dinner and presentations continued afterwards on the Ozark Trail, hiking and paddling opportunities on the current river and a final presentation on cold weather paddling gear. The event ended with an awards ceremony and a raffle for a paddle and a kayak.
There were planned events New Years Day for paddling, hiking, and even a combined hiking paddling trip. Since I had not been hiking on a trail since I sprained my knee I decided to forego the organized events and see how my knee would do on a short loop hike. I selected a 3 mile loop and enjoyed my time in the woods. Flat or uphill terrain felt fine, but downhill was still a little sore. I’ll need to keep working it to get ready for our Snowshoe event in mid January.
After hiking I headed back to Tulsa and prepare for getting back to work on Wednesday.
The event was a success with over 90 paddlers in attendance and I really enjoyed the time outdoors.