We had a full day to spend in search of adventure. Rather than just finding a trail to hike, I figured we’d have more fun getting a canoe and doing a stretch of the river. The Green River goes right through Mammoth Cave NP, so I searched for outfitters who could accommodate us last minute, making arrangements as we were driving. We stopped first at the visitors center for a bathroom break, and also for directions, as my GPS stopped working partway into the park.
Green River Canoeing is actually located just outside the park, and they were easy to find once I had the directions. We were all issued life jackets and loaded onto a van, along with another family, to be taken to the drop off point. It was a short drive, and our driver told us about the stretch of river we’d be doing.
It was eight miles to the pick up at the Green River Ferry, with very little civilization in between. The float would take three to four hours, though we planned to stop and swim and enjoy a picnic somewhere along the way.
As we were putting in our boats, the driver told us to watch out for a small cave a ways down stream, big enough to paddle back into a ways. Getting the girls situated on flotation cushions in the middle of the canoe, we dipped our paddles into the cool green waters and started on our way.
The Green River is absolutely beautiful. The trees and vegetation along the banks is lush and varied. The second family took their time getting loaded, giving us some time to get ahead start and feel like we had the river to ourselves. To my surprise, we didn’t see them again for the rest of the journey, even after we spent some time in the cave (which was very neat, though the girls got less comfortable with it once we got far enough back for it to be almost totally dark) and then stopped further downstream for a long time to swim and eat lunch.
The gravel bars and islands were many, and the water temperature was great for swimming. We stayed almost an hour at our picnic spot, and Lila and I had a nice time floating the chute, the closest you get to rapids on the Green. Just faster moving water, which in this case followed a curve of the river, getting fairly deep. Lila had her life jacket, so she fearlessly bobbed through the current a bit ahead of me, laughing and wanting to do it again.
It was a good day. A perfect amount of time to spend on the water, and long enough of a haul for us to feel it in our shoulders and backs. Laura and I did almost all the paddling, though Eva and Gaia each took a turn up front. I could do river trips several times a month and not ever tire of it. I especially love longer, camping river trips, though we’ve never actually done such a trip as a family. Now that we live in Appalachia, surrounded by amazing rivers, I’m sure we’ll get our chance.
After we dropped off our life vests and collected our car, we made our way back to Sharon’s. She had been glad for a day to get ready, as she was leaving for a two week trip to Maine, and preparing for such a voyage is no doubt much easier without any distractions.
Next stop, Louisville.