Article by Samantha Christen
Yup indeed, it’s that time of month again! No, not THAT time of month, silly! Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month, and that meant it was time again for the Rock/Creek First Sunday Staff/Customer Paddle Trip!!
Contrary to the weather reports and predictions of thunderstorms, as well as prevailing insanity from the previous night’s Super Moon and remnants Cinco de Mayo, the day dawned bright and sunny with absolutely fantastic temperatures. With four staff from the R/C Paddlesports Store, 6 customers, and limitless options for where to play for the day, we were guaranteed to have a great time.
After a bit of discussion, general consensus led us to the public access put in at the far north (east?) end of the Tennessee Riverwalk. We caravanned down the road a mere 5 minutes from the Paddle Sports store to the put in and offloaded boats. After tweaking some outfitting in boats and on PFDs, and adjusting ferrules, we took off across the water to investigate North Chickamauga Creek.
Located literally just below the Chickamauga Dam on the north side of the Tennessee River, and accessible via the far entrance to the Tennessee Riverwalk (from town) this particular put in is nice for several reasons, the least of which is the shady parking spots which aren’t generally readily available at other put ins! Other reasons include the obvious (proximity to downtown; Highway 153; ease of access from the River proper into North Chickamauga Creek and Greenway Farms.
Some of the not-so-obvious reasons to check out this put-in, you ask? Personally, knowing that the Riverpark is a Chattanooga city park, I’m more comfortable leaving my car for a day there than at other put-ins I’ve (dubiously) explored because this area is highly trafficked area by pedestrians, bikers, runners and picnickers. It’s also patrolled by Park Rangers. OK, enough of the logistics!
Crossing the River, we moved to the far (south) shore and, staying out of the navigational channel, moved up the mouth of and into North Chick Creek. Though we didn’t make it as far up-creek as we have on previous trips, we do have an excuse in that we did a LOT of gear-talkin’ and boat-swappin’. With four different brands represented, and 6 different types of craft, there was a lot for all of us to try out, and try out we did! It was fun to check out the various craft and paddles represented, and the day helped all of us tweak our preferences that much more.
With hunger kicking in full force, we all turned back towards the take out.
The only problem with days like this? Realizing that either you didn’t want what you THOUGHT you wanted, and/or finding out that there’s gear that you don’t have or need to upgrade that is exactly what you’ve been looking for!!
That’s the whole point of these trips, though, is to provide a no pressure opportunity for both customers (and staff!) to try out new and different gear while having an on water resource with whom to consult. The ultimate goal? Actually spending quality time on the water.
When your gear is comfortable, when it performs exactly as YOU want and need it to, you’re going to be happier and your overall quality of life increases. And then and when you find those extra gadgets that truly luxe out your boat or board and make your day just that little bit easier, it’s aaaalll the better!
If you’re local to Chattanooga and interested in joining us for June’s First Sunday Paddle Trip, please call the Paddlesports Store (423 – 265-1836) to reserve your spot. We look forward to meeting you, and in the meantime, happy boating!