Trip report: Rivanna River on May 15, 2019

click on the images to enlarge. Scroll down to see report.

Near ideal weather and water conditions with an outstanding guide who provided first-rate gear.

The WSC boating group learned a lot on a first trip of the season.

This first lesson came weeks before the event itself: There is strong interest among the current club members in a boating group. This trip booked completely with just one email with the details and a waiting list on this trip was created.

Another lesson came before and on the trip itself: There is some kayaking expertise among the boating membership of the sporting club who are experienced on local waters. The email that went out asking for suggestions came back with some thoughtful and creative ideas. And on the river, there were some detailed discussions about what’s next as well. Gabe Sliver, co-owner of Rivanna River Company who was our guide, said he was impressed with the skills and calmness of those on the water.

While Gabe Silver said he was very pleased the 14 WSC members on this trip, the members were impressed with Sliver, his crew and his gear. This was the first time that WSC had worked with Rivanna River Company, which as been in operation for four years. Discussions may start soon with Silver and the WSC about lining up custom trips on some Nelson County rivers–such as the Tye or the Rockfish–which are not typically served by pro river runners.

It was also learned that the Rivanna River in the the early spring is not boring. The little river is big time fun. The Rivanna has several sets of class one and two rapids. Our paddle on the 15th took us under an interstate highway and Silver pointed out how a young Thomas Jefferson and many others attempted use the waterway over the last 200-plus years to grow Charlottesville.

Since it was a private trip, Rivanna River Company and WSC set up its own schedule. Everyone left Wintergreen around 8 am, gathered around 9 at Rivanna River Company’s location right on the river, which is where we launched at 10. RRC has a place to change clothes, lock up keys and other valuables, and plenty of parking.

Silver provided excellent instruction on how to paddle the kayaks and basics on how to read the rapids. There were sit-on-top kayaks, sit-inside kayaks and canoes that we could use–and all three type of boats were put on the water by WSC. A few members brought their own life jackets, but otherwise RRC provided everything, except lunch.