As I did my workout today at Ariel-Foundation Park, I started having flashbacks to my trip last June down the Muskingum River. The wind was howling at a good 15 mph, the chop was at times a good 12 inches. As I turned into the wind I kept hearing in my mind the intermittent haunting low moan of the horn at Globe Metallurgical. The wind picked up and visions of Rainbow Bend kept going through my mind. Paddling hard and seeming to move backward through the 2 foot chop. Oh those were the days. Paddle on I told myself, the end is near, and it was. Today, the end of my 3 mile workout, and before, the sweet vision of the old iron bridge at Marietta.
I was asked yesterday by a reporter, how do I maintain my focus while paddling long distances. Sometimes I count my strokes, reminding myself to stroke properly instead of pulling. Sometimes I sing to myself, or if in the wilderness, out loud, and loud. When I work out I listen to slow blues music, it is the perfect beat to paddle to in my kayak. I remind myself, that at the end of the paddle is a hot meal, and a warm sleeping bag.
After paddling with this kayak for 6 months now, I discovered something new. The more level I keep the boat, the easier it is to paddle and maintain speed. It was weird that it seemed easier to paddle when I was loaded down with a hundred pounds of camping gear than it was to paddle it empty. Well today, I put my seat all the way forward, leveled the boat out and it worked. I was able to maintain my speed and paddle a quarter a mile an hour faster. That will matter when I am going 980 miles.
I have tried to find a recording of that horn at Globe Metallurgical, I couldn’t find one. It is so haunting, so hard to explain. I was glad to get away from it, I don’t know how anyone can work around that all day.