Salmon River kayaking

CNY Kayakers Syracuse NY

Jinxed in Redfield


    For a second year in a row we had an exceptionally eventful Salmon River Reservoir paddle that amounted to one slightly damaged fiberglass boat, one damaged car mirror, and two fairly harmless capsizes. I’m beginning to think that this place is jinxed…

    Twenty three paddlers arrived in Redfield on a beautiful Father’s Day Sunday: Tish and Gene, Chuck, Bill, Mary and Charles, Pam, Hugh, Roger, Rick, Karen and Tim, Kevin, Jerry, Kim, Nina, Aneta and Robert, Dan (welcome!), Sue, Dave, Eric, and Walt. Even before anyone set foot in the water, a brand new fiberglass boat tumbled off a “J” rack and loudly crashed onto the asphalt taking off a considerable part of the car’s side mirror. It appears that most damage was done to the owner’s heart, followed by a fracture along the seam of the bulkhead wall, and some cosmetic scratches on the deck. Proud and sleek Wind 505 didn’t take it well, and soon took it out on its owner.

    Due to wavy conditions on the reservoir, we kayaked the stream. After the reservoir narrowed to a creek, Exhibit No. 1 unfolded: W. vs. T. vendetta. Wind 505 indignantly dumped its owner in front of some 20 people just as he was attempting to rein it in by learning how to edge. Two rescues were attempted: a T-rescue, which didn’t work too well (perhaps Wind didn’t feel it was yet time to reconcile), and a two-men rescue in four-men configuration which, however bizarre, worked just fine. The paddler and the kayak were thus properly initiated into the club, and W. vs. T. account was settled. One can only imagine what sort of revenge the car was planning in the meantime.

    We resumed the paddle and went as far as we could before it became too shallow, then turned around. We didn’t have to wait long for Exhibit No. 2. Just as we approached our regular resting spot, another new club member was swept towards a large branch protruding from the shore and wholeheartedly grabbed at it. The rest was very predictable: the paddler stayed, the kayak went. As we watched the boat lean sideways and the kayaker clutch to the branch, the two parted slowly. The kayaker hung on tight with his upper body as his lower body took a swim; the boat was swept away bottom up with the current; and the paddle floated freely nearby. It was hard to decide what to grab first. Walt rushed to the rescue of the unfortunate paddler, Gene chased down the insubordinate kayak, and the paddle was recovered. Fortunately it was shallow, and it was easy to restore order once on shore. We took a lunch break and continued.

    Having paddled around a few small islands we exhausted our paddling options. At 4.5 miles round trip some paddlers concluded the trip, another group went back to paddle some more, and two kayakers went out to surf the main reservoir. We eventually regrouped and went out to eat at Hayloft Pub. It appears that Salmon River Reservoir paddle deserves the title of “The Most Eventful Paddle of the Year.”

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