Canoe Shenandoah River


Identifier: 20080607-Canoe ShenandoahRiver
Purpose of outing: Canoe outing
Advancements: Canoeing MB
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Weeks
Capacity: 22 youth, 15 adults
Fees: $5.50 primitive camping, canoe trip was not captured in report
Distance: 63 mi, 90 min
Location: Rappahannock River Campground, L.C., 33017 River Mill Road, Richardsville, VA
Contact: Troop 1501
Dates: 2008-06-07 - 2008-06-08
Description: Troop 1501 set out to have a Canoe adventure in the late May early June time frame to ensure deep enough water. The recent rains guaranteed success, along with the Troop's event coordinator’s excellent coordination. She coordinated sign-ups and maintained liaison with the Outfitters until a week out, and was joined up by Troop planning at the beginning of the month. Our coordinator and the Scoutmaster coordinated on the best lay down for the trip, which was Canoe-Camp-Sleep-Leave. Of note, we had hiccups the night prior to the trip with our tour permit signatures at District. The fix seems to be filling out every applicable block on the tour permit.
Assessment: The arrangements were splendid, and the Outfitters did their usual good job. Due to the high level of the water, no porting of canoes was necessary unless the canoe pilots executed bad judgment about which rocks to steer around. The campsite was a good one, we used 3 vice the 5 planned. The Outfitters really didn’t have control over their campsites, but we picked 3 nice ones into which we fit nicely. The sequence of execution allowed the participants to rest prior to getting back on the road. From a scouting perspective, a campfire program should have been included in the mix. Since the senior scout leadership was not present at the event, the overall scout program suffered a bit. The scouts seemed to find a way to have fun regardless. Perhaps emphasis on the “SPL in charge” ahead of time to focus on the campout program would be a good innovation. Troop 1501 first used this outfitter in 2004-06-23 (2 Scouts, 3 adults). That spring, the only river low enough to permit canoeing a part of the Shenandoah. The Potomac, Rappahannock, etc. were unsafe. The Troop left the church Saturday morning around 9:00 am, pitched camp, had lunch, then spent the afternoon hiking Chancellorsville Battlefield and other battlefields. Thanks to the Scoutmaster being a biologist, the Scouts feasted on June berries (a highbush blueberry). Sunday morning, Troop 1501 was the first of two groups to be outfitted for the canoe trip. Water was perfect; generally flowing well with a few Class I to III rapids (again, the river was extremely high relative to normal). Subsequent trips to this outfitter has confirmed that normal river conditions are too shallow for good canoeing.