We paddled up the Yazoo River on Sunday afternoon. Oh man, it was really hard!
The difficulty started before we even reached the river. Chip has an FJ Cruiser, and although it is a shorter/lighter SUV, it is still tall. Getting our two kayaks on top of Chip's FJ was tough. We lifted from the ground up to our shoulders, and then Chip lifted the boat up the rest of the way. I was proud of us! Ok, proud of Chip because I just kinda stood there and pushed up at the right time.
The FJ is a great vehicle for hauling the boats. Once you get over the height, the rest of the truck seems built for loading things on top. The gate opens horizontally like a door, so you can still get in the back once the boats are loaded. There are strong hooks on the trailer hitch and strong tow hooks on the front.
Chip got the Yakima BowDown boat holders. So far we a pleased with them. I give them a 6 out of 10 because I do have a couple of complaints. #1 - While not in use and "bowed down" on the truck, they make a pretty annoying whistling noise. Not enought to drive me crazy, but annoying. #2 - To secure the boats, you thread a strap through a large loop at the top of the BowDown cradle. For some unknown reason, there is a 1-inch space in the bottom of the loop. While we were loading the boats the strap fell through the space in the loop multiple times and we had a difficult time wriggling it back up into the loop. That was enough to make me want to seal off the space in the loop with duck tape.
Our paddle up the Yazoo was tough. It was hot - upper 90s - and the current was strong from all the rain we'd been getting. This paddle was seriously hard for a newbie like me. If I stopped even for a few seconds to wipe the sweat off my face, then I would be pushed back 3 to 6 feet by the current. Not fun. But I did it, and it felt good! We paddled up river for 2 miles up to a pretty oxbow-type lake off the main river. I didn't bring my digital camera with me, but I will on one of my future paddles. From the lake we could see Fort Hill in the Vicksburg Military Park. I can't wait to go back and do this paddle when the current is not so strong.
We are planning on going out on the reservoir on Sunday to continue our training. I want to do a long paddle in the AM before it gets too hot. I will definitely take my camera.
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