Sunday, January 25, 2009

A chilly morning

Hello again from a very cold Charlottesville. My alarm woke me up this morning at 6:30 blasting Fat Bottom Girls by Queen. I knew it was going to be a great day. I was inspired from the night before, watching my med school classmates sing and dance at the med school talent show! Laura and Jason you were awesome.

When I turned on my computer to get a quick look at the weather I was a little apprehensive. It was 12 degrees F outside. A little chilly for a dip in the river. Nevertheless, I brewed up a hot pot of coffee, loaded the boat onto the Tacoma, and turned on a little Eminem to get the mood right. Not too much different than a morning of ice climbing really.

My goal for the morning was to do a little trip down the Rivanna River. The Rivanna runs through Charlottesville and used to be a major water thoroufare before many of the roads in the area were built. I drove down to Darden Towe Park and got out of the car. My hands became cold nearly instantly. Oh well, part of the game. I was able to get into the water without difficulty and off I went.

The Rivanna is not a large river, and gently meanders through most of its course. I passed under Highway 250 and then Highway 81. There were a couple grade II rapids, but nothing major. However, when I am alone in a boat and the ambient air temperature is just above 12 F, getting wet isn't an enticing option.
After an hour of paddling, I had covered 5.84 miles. Not too bad for a lazy sunday paddle. I stopped for awhile and observed a family of 5 river otters. They playfully dodged in and out of a little riffle hunting for some minnows. It was amazing how happy they looked in the frigid water. Anyhow, after awhile I turned around and started paddling back upstream.

Well, to make a long story short, I had to portage three of the little rapids that I had paddled down. Needless to say, my feet got soaked. My uncle Dave once said to me, "Joe, even though you are wet, you don't have to be cold." What he was talking about is that if one is smart, and layers appropriately, the body will produce enough heat to warm up even really cold extremeties. Such was the case today. After the initial shock of the cold water, my core kicked into overdrive, shunting blood into my feet and they warmed up nicely.

Overall it was a great morning of paddling, the Storm GT worked like a charm, even in the little bit fast moving water that I went down, and my gear kept me warm. A great sunday morning! Make sure to check out my primary website at

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