Overnight paddle on Blackwater River by Diane Rickman-Buckalew

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Cotton Bridge landing, December 6, 2012. Put-in.

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Beautiful white sand beach at the put-in.

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Rolling down the Blackwater River on a beautiful December day.

On a bright, crisp morning in early December, 2012, 6 paddlers gathered at Cotton Bridge on the Blackwater River to begin an overnight paddle.  Three paddlers were in kayaks and three were in 14′ solo canoes.  All were experienced paddlers, but not all were experienced at spending a night in the woods with only what could be carried in their boats.  Each had agreed to participate in the overnight paddle for a variety of personal reasons.

The day warmed up and remained bright.   A stop for lunch and our group was again on our way.   Our goal was to reach a nice big sandbar approximately half way to our next day’s destination at Boat Ramp Road at the Blackwater State Park.  We wanted to get to our camp site early enough to set up camp and cook our evening meal before it became too dark.

We reached a large sandbar several miles above Bryant Bridge and started setting up camp.  Meals were cooked and eaten and then everyone gathered around a campfire to socialize while listening to the night sounds on the river.

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Setting up camp with lots of sunlight to spare.

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My canoe, my river, my cup of hot drink — what more could one ask for at day’s end?

The following day, after breaking camp and loading our boats, we were again on the river enjoying our passion for paddling and the beauties of nature which can only be seen from a boat.   We arrived at our destination, each feeling a sense of personal growth that we had achieved our goal.

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The next day, homeward bound. Two beautiful days on a glorious river, December 6-7, 2012.

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