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Pea River kayak trip provides peaceful fun

Throughout this summer, I enjoyed many opportunities to experience some of the fun aspects of living in Elba. The clubs, organizations, food and the events held in the city have been great. They bring people of the community together. Of course, the Pea River is one of the town’s main attractions. 

My summer in Elba has been very busy so I found it difficult to find time for the Pea River kayak trip I was eager to enjoy.  Finally, on Tuesday, July 24, I was able to go kayaking down the river by myself. It was an amazing experience filled with the peacefulness of nature.

I was prepared to make the trip down thanks to a few experts who have been kayaking down the Pea River for years. Jim Chapman and Justin Maddox gave me valuable advice before I the trip.

“It is a lot of paddling,” Jim Chapman cautioned. “You will be constantly paddling for at least three hours so you’ll need a lot of water to bring in the kayak. You will also need a life jacket because it can get up to 30 feet deep in some areas of the river.”

Maddox advised, “There are a few areas of the river where you could possibly tip over or get stuck. The rocks cause a little bit of a fast current, and there are also a few small drops. The best thing to do when you get to these areas is head straight for the middle. If you go to the middle, there will be equal force on each side of your kayak, causing you to not tip over. However, if you do go to the side, you will either get stuck or tip over.”

This advice was extremely important because there were a few areas where the kayak dropped because of rocks. The advice also made these areas much more fun. I was nearly soaked from head to toe, but it was worth the fun. I’m truly thankful for their tips.

Another great part of my kayaking down the Pea River was the nature. It was a beautiful morning. The hot part of the summer day had not arrived, making it a picture-perfect 80 degrees. The different colors you see as you make it down the river made me sit back and enjoy the beauty right in front of me.

As I was going down the river around 8 a.m., the sun had not made its way out from behind the trees. This made the reflection on the water look like the blue sky above. The green of the trees and other plants made for splendid scenery.

The next great part of my excursion down the river was the wildlife. Maddox had told me there is the possibility of seeing snakes or turtles. He made it clear to me that the snakes were harmless and wouldn’t bother me. What I was not expecting was to see was an alligator! This initially frightened me for a moment, but I quickly realized it was a baby alligator. It just watched me as I paddled by, enjoying its morning on the river as much as I was.

After seeing the alligator, I began to realize how special of a place the river is. Elba is truly blessed to have such a natural and beautiful body of water that runs right through the town.

Pea River Outdoors, started by Restoration 154, is run by local citizens.  On most weekends during the summer, volunteers work at the store and take individual people or groups up to the kayak launch. The store also sells merchandise promoting the river. Pea River Outdoors provides a great way for citizens to experience the many joys of the Pea River.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful adventure on this river!