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Kayaking Down the Verde

by Josh Lipton

Yesterday, spring time was beckoning and so was my roommate Chris to join him and his friends on a Verde River adventure about an hour South of Flagstaff. I had never been before but decided that I definitely could use a day off to float down the river of life. We met up with Elson Miles, the man who pretty much brought mountain biking to Flagstaff, starting the shop Cosmic Cycles back in the 80′s. His girlfriend Cindy and Chris’s friend Nina completed our ragtag crew of snowed under fellows seeking a springtime adventure.

For most of the float I got used to a big inflatable kayak, getting the feel for the water and the paddle strokes. The river is running a bit low due to the dry winter we’ve had, but still provided plenty of challenges and fun. After about half the trip, Chris let me try out the kayak. I instantly fell in love with it. I was immediately darting through the rapids, using the sense of balance and flow that I’d developed over two decades on a mountain bike. I was using one of Chris’s beautiful, all wood, custom made kayak paddles. He has been building these paddles under the name Zuzu paddles for about 8 years though taking a break from it for a while. The thing was a gem to hold with the feel of wood in hand, custom feathering in the blade and as light as a carbon fiber paddle.

I may have found my second sport. Cycling will always be my first love, but the parallels yet difference of kayaking have really caught my attention. The self-supported and minimalist traveling potentials compare to those of bike touring. Giving in to the flow of the river has a very alluring draw that is all its own.

We plan on going back again next weekend. This time, bikes will be in the picture as we use them in our shuttle. This got me thinking about bike trailers for kayaks and canoes. Apparently there are several available including the sharp looking Paddleboy Flyer.

 
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