Following in the tradition of last year, on this particular Sunday, which is to us just a Sunday like any other, Evan and I headed outside for a day on the water and in the woods, paddleboarding from the Petersburg hydroelectric dam to the 4th Street Bridge in Huntingdon (which is conveniently located behind the shop), and then doing a bike shuttle to get the truck.
We got on the water around midday, the bright sun clearing out the cobwebs in our heads resulting from a late night listening to live music (and in my case, waitressing) and a few too many brews the evening before. We were both pretty excited to try out a new-to-us paddleboard, the Yolo Roughneck, on the river.
Long stretches of flat water were punctuated with the occasional rapid or ripple that offered opportunities to surf, play, and figure out just how the boards reacted to different currents, strokes, and situations in the water.
We quickly discovered that they are stable, responsive, and love to surf. In short, a lot of fun.
On one of the better surf waves, I was able to sit on the little roller for at least 5 whole minutes without touching my paddle in the water, just using my body and legs to make subtle adjustments in my weight distribution and to move the board around in the wave. Being able to stand still on top of swiftly-moving water is one of the coolest feelings in the world, and it was hard to pry myself away from my play spot and continue on towards the take-out.
On the flat stretches, we snuck up on clusters of turtles sunning themselves on logs or rocks, enjoying the warmth as much as we were. I saw what looked like a snapper, as well as lots of painted turtles and other unidentified species. We never could get too close though, as they’d quickly slide into the water, away from the alleged threat we imposed.
After a quick snack and a change of clothes at the shop, we hopped on bikes and I fought off mid-afternoon sleepiness as we pedaled into the Game Lands, back in the direction of the truck. We ventured off-trail for most of our ride, picking lines through the woods, over fallen logs and around brier patches.
I remember last spring, Evan took me to this same area, but this type of riding was very frustrating for me at the time because of my lack of experience and confidence. I’d be off the bike constantly, pushing over logs or down steep descents that I just didn’t feel comfortable tackling. This time, I delighted in the fact that I was actually greatly enjoying this form of riding because I was now able to go over and through so much, and actually ride my bike instead of take it for a walk.
We had no map along, only knowledge of the area and an idea of which direction we needed to head. As the shadows grew longer in the evening sun, we reached the end of the little plateau we were on, and it was time to drop down to the river.
We followed a grassy Game Lands road for the last part of our descent, and it led us right to the road we needed to be on, the one that would quickly take us to the vehicle.
We drove back to town , ordered Chinese take-out for dinner (the only place in town that was open), and ate Easter dinner on our porch as we watched the sun slip behind the mountains, and the sky turn deep shades of purple, pink, and orange.