It was sunny and hot today when we first drove in to the put in for the river. The temperature was around 80 and the hot season was well at hand when we both climbed into the kayak. We took a quick break under the bridge while we soaked in the cool breeze coming across the lake just downstream from us. It was going to be a while before we could get out of the sun, but after a few minutes we were ready to move so on we paddled up stream heading north on the aptly named Snake River.
This end of the river, just before it dumps into Lake Sabbatia, is littered with lily pads of all shapes and sizes. It feels like your boat is floating more across the leaves than in the water itself. Every pull of the paddle brought up tangles of lily pads and various water grasses. There is a clear cutout in the tangled web of plant life from the current of the river so try your best to stay in that current. Veering off the path could result in getting stuck in a mass of river vegetation which is never fun trying to fight your way through. As you continue your paddle up river, the open stream widens to leave you with an easy-to-follow path clear of any paddle-eating plant life.
You can tell by the name of this river that you will enjoy sharp turn after sharp turn as you make your way up the river. Once you paddle under the double set of overpasses from RT 495, the river really starts to take its namesake seriously and slithers its way through the woods and wetland. Paddling a 14 foot boat up stream can be a bit of a challenge getting around some of these sharp corners adding extra incentive to making sure you keep your kayak on track. Large tangles of poison ivy intimidatingly cover much of the riverside. Des and I had to be on constant alert so we wouldn’t accidentally let our bodies rub up on the leaves of pain surrounding us. Captain Desmond did great being on the lookout for the ivy. If it got too thick for his liking, he would slide into the boat so he would be completely covered with no chance of exposure. At the time, it was helping me too by giving me more room to maneuver the paddle though the thickest of the poison ivy. After carefully passing by all of these natural obstacles, we arrived at the very unnatural steam beams that make their way across the river at a narrow spot. I would assume that this was a farmer’s bridge at some point, but the remnants are still strong and safe. Here we took a break for a while, climbing across the bridge and enjoying the shade from the overhanging trees.
Making our way under the bridge was tough. I could have just slid the boat across when we were on the shore, but that wouldn’t have been any fun at all. We opted for the game of steel limbo between us and all the spiders living on the underside of the beams. I guess we won since we made it past with little trouble other than the tight fit. Paddling upstream from this spot meant a much narrower stream and once again, jungles of poison ivy surrounding every turn. With a little bit of paddling skills and a few duck and covers, we made it through untouched and paddled further until the wetlands on the north end of the river began. The area upstream from here is a tangled maze of wetland waterways that can induce craziness if you manage to get too deep into its endless dead end paths. Today wasn’t the day for that adventure, so we turned the kayak around and began heading back with the current in the direction of where we started.
The current may have made our trip back quick and easy, but it didn’t help with avoiding poison ivy. Now it was just coming at us at a quicker speed. Luckily, we are seasoned professionals and Desmond navigated me clearly through the mess. Before we knew it, we were already squeezing our way under the steel bridge and passing back under RT 495. At this point, we saw a father and son duo paddling by us in the other direction. Seeing the two of them made me think about how great it will be when Desmond is a little older and can paddle in his own little boat by my side. The father and son seemed to be having just as much fun as Des and I have on our own outings. One can only hope that Des will hold on to the hobby and continue paddling with me later in life. When and if that day does happen, you know I’ll be in complete bliss.
After we pulled into the put in, it only took us a few moments to get the boat packed up. You can drive your truck right up to the river here and just grab your boat from the water and lift it directly into the bed of the truck. While Des sat inside enjoying the AC, I tied up the kayak tight and we drove off in no time. We hadn’t been to Snake River since September of last year. I’m glad we picked it this time around. It was the perfect day for exploring its slithering streams.