February 4, 2022

A Brief Overview Of Kayaking The Entire Red River

We did it! Eric Jones and I have accomplished our goal of paddling the Wild and Scenic Red River in its entirety. We both have made our homes in the Red River Gorge for the better part of a decade. Over the years we've spent countless hours kayaking on the Red River. A side effect of the Covid pandemic has been a boom in tourism amidst our peaceful wilderness, and accordingly we have honed our skills of further adventuring into uninhabited areas. Naturally, we realized after all these years of paddling around the same stretches of river and our recent interest in discovering new areas, we officially set the goal.

    It seemed fitting to float along our beloved Red River until it's mouth at the Kentucky River. The point of our paddling is to slow down and enjoy life in our favorite environment, the natural world. We typically paddle about 6 miles at a time, usually averaging under 1 mile per hour. Due to the nature of the river, we knew our last leg would be a committing 18 mile journey. We would break up the trip to be 2 days of paddling separated by a relaxing evening of riverside camping, feasting, photoing, and laughing like only old friends can do.

   It feels so good to accomplish a goal that’s taken almost a year to complete, involving detailed planning, commitment, and lots of mud. I will hold on tight to this feeling, stand a little taller, and know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Not only what we’ve accomplished is a goal to be proud of, but the time I’ve spent on the river has taught me so much. The river has a voice. I have learned to listen to that voice. I feel connected to it and all living creatures. Rivers are the veins of this planet that nourish life as we know it, and we must respect it. The rivers hold secrets known long before man inhabited Earth and will flow with power and grace long after we are gone.