We’ve always wanted to camp out of our kayaks and promised ourselves that this year we would finally do it. Back in April, my good friend Jason and I set off down the Tennessee River Blueway for an overnight trip out of our kayaks. We had researched on the Internet and based on previous attempts we decided a course.
We picked Suck Creek boat ramp right outside of Chattanooga and the beginning of the Tennessee River Gorge to start the journey — on a Thursday at 2pm, we were on our way. According to the map, we had about 10 miles to paddle to the camp. The camp is free and part of the Prentice Cooper State Forest. The weather was overcast and about 70 degrees. The water was glassy and smooth and our boats were gliding right along. It was great too, we had the entire river to ourselves. The only other boat we saw were two guys fishing out of a flat bottom.
Camp was on river right and reached about 7:30pm. After setting up the tents, my buddy started working on the fire and I started gathering wood for it. We had roughly 1 hour of daylight left and didn’t want to loose it! The weather was calling for bad thunderstorms, about a 60% chance, so we wanted to at least get dinner in our bellies before the fire was rained on. It did rain starting about midnight, but never stormed real bad.
The next morning the clouds had cleared and the sun was bright and shining. There is nothing like rolling out of your tent a few feet from the river. We cooked breakfast, explored the area a bit, came back and starting packing up camp.
Paddling to the take-out was WAY different than paddling to camp. The sun was out in full force and left little to no shade near the bank seeing how it was midday. We battled a small headwind all day and the water was choppy. We did get passed by a couple of big luxury boats and it was fun riding the wake. We got off the water at Sullivan’s Landing, a boat ramp on Highway 41 between Chattanooga and Haletown, about 4pm.
It was a good first trip, we both really enjoyed it, and plan on doing it again one day. My friend paddles a Jackson Riviera and I paddle a Feel Free Moken 10.
Most of my info was acquired from http://canoetennessee.com