A dozen paddlers of all experience levels gathered for a group kayaking trip along the Rocky River on June 24.
The trip, sponsored by the Anson County Chamber of Commerce and the Anson County Tourism Development Authority, was intended to promote outdoor recreation opportunities within the county and to highlight the boat launches in Anson, as well as to offer a time for first-time paddlers to practice with more experienced kayakers.
Despite rain in the days before the event, the current was safe for even beginning kayakers, said Shelby Emrich, Chamber director. The event was originally scheduled for May 6 but was moved to June after the first event was rained out and the current was too fast for safe kayaking.
The group began at the Plank Road launch in Wadesboro on the Rocky River, kayaking for 5.7 miles to the launch on U.S. Highway 52. Emrich said she was grateful that the swift water rescue team from the Ansonville Volunteer Fire Department was present in case of emergency. One volunteer took a kayak with the group and the others were at the take-out point.
“Some had been on the river before and knew where the take-out was,” Emrich said.
Getting out was more difficult than getting in, but still not a problem.
“It wasn’t as open as we would like it to be,” Emrich said. “There was debris from the rain covering part of bridge. They had to be very careful getting out. That’s why swift water (rescue) was down there, but they had no trouble getting out.
“Everyone had a really good time,” Emrich added, saying that it took the group about two hours to make the trip. While Emrich did not kayak, Chamber employee Megan Sellers helped lead the group along with John Marek, executive director of the Anson Economic Development Partnership.
Emrich said that some group members were from Anson and a couple from Richmond County.
Chamber staff checked the river the day before to ensure that it would be safe for kayaking, especially since one person in the group had never been before.
“I thought it went really well,” Emrich said. “I don’t think we could’ve asked for any better of a day. There were great conditions, beautiful weather; we had rain in the afternoon, but everybody had gotten out by then. It was a great day.”
The Chamber hopes to hold another paddle day in early August. That one will likely begin at the U.S. Highway 52 launch, with the take-out point at the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge launch. That route is 7.5 miles, a little longer than the 5.7-mile trip last weekend.
Information on the next event will be available on the Chamber’s website and Facebook page.
The Chamber and the Tourism Development Authority are working to develop a map of the river. The map will include kayak/canoe launches in the county and the miles in between each site, and will be made of waterproof paper. Emrich said they will be available for free at visitor centers in the county and online. Duke Energy posts its recreation flow release information online.
The launch the group used is located at 5437 Plank Road, Wadesboro. Currently, there are no signs on the river indicating the U.S. Highway 52 take-out point, though Emrich said that she hopes the Carolina Threadtrail will add some soon.
For Duke Energy’s scheduled flow release information, visit duke-energy.com/lakes. For a digital map of the Carolina Threadtrail in Anson or other counties, visit carolinathreadtrail.org.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.