After the cloying and energy sapping humidity of Saturday I decided on Sunday that I would go for a paddle locally. I put in on the Shenandoah only about 20 minutes from my house but as I trundled Big Red down the steep ramp I seriously wondered if I'd made a bad decision. There was a large Latino family gathering on the water's edge, with a large BBQ set up and chairs wobbling on the rocks, Coolers were dotted around and a pile of huge water melons sat in a large triangle formation waiting to be chopped up. I was rather impressed with the amount of planning this must have all involved and actually a little envious as I have no family to do this with but what really annoyed me was seeing a couple of women squatting down on the ramp by the water, who had about 6 dogs and 2 large bottles of shampoo. They were giving their pets baths in the river, frothy bubbles floated downstream and I fervently wished I had friends with me so I could say something about their pollution of the water. But there were too many of them for just me so I walked past them tight lipped and pushed off, hurrying to get as far away from them as possible.
Until I heard a quack. and then another louder quack.
I eventually got as far as I could go upriver. I'd had to paddle like crazy to get past some rocks that created a strong current but now I had reached a point where there was an island in the middle of the river and the water cascaded down towards me from each side, fast and loudly over piles of rocks. I couldn't paddle past here. I sat and watched the water for a while and noticed the clouds were getting heavier, darker and lower. Time to head back. When I reached the ramp, the family had left but to their credit had left no signs of their event. There wasn't a scrap of litter anywhere. 2 guys were loading boats on to trucks and both offered to help me with mine, which was great as I was feeling tired. I drove home wondering if Samantha was OK and whether ducks have memories. I couldn't find any information about that but did find this interesting little article about their behavior, along with gooses.
4 weeks ago