by John Snitzer
As planned, the rain turned to drizzle then stopped as I got to the lot at Violettes. The clouds opened to tentative sunshine, then stronger low angle winter light with a rainbow upstream. Barb, Gus and I did a down and back attainment through the Breaks, LF gauge 4.35 and rising.
We chose a route over towards the VA side through the tangle of islands. To our delight, the Blue Tarp Cafe on Pond Island was open although they did not have the frier heated up. Alas, no biegnets. We did have biscotti with our coffee and they gave us a sample of the potato leek soup intended for the lunch crowd. Very hearty with the chives and a dollop of sour cream.
The warm breezes shifted to the east so attainment was easy with the wind at our backs. Gus picked elegant routes mid-river. The wind must have started far south this morning as we saw a cloud of roseate spoonbills as we got back to the toe of dam 2.
The threat of rain kept people away and we were the only folks in the parking lot. The only other person we saw all day was a lonely-looking solitary figure in an overcoat and red baseball cap on the VA shore gesticulating with a seven iron and shouting at the waves.
All paddled well. Trip was rated 10/10.
Happy Holidays to all. Thank you everyone for the extra effort and consideration that made this frustrating but ultimately pleasurable paddling season possible. It is satisfying that the precautions taken resulted in a safe year for the people I've had a chance to paddle with. Special thanks to the organizers, planners and TLs who kept us on the river in such challenging times.
Here is to a fine season in 2021.