Friday, 21 June 2013

Ardeche in a Kayak

First stop for lunch

Above the rapids which we went down in reverse, not sure how

Pont d'Arc, time for a swim

Pont d' Arc
Our group complete the trip

Holiday nibbles
Despite several visits to the Ardeche in recent years, we have never quite summoned the courage to kayak down the Ardeche river, never having canoed or kayaked in moving water before. We had been put off by a story told at dinner by a couple who had to abandon their trip when they capsized. But we are not getting any younger, the weather was warm, there was still plenty water in the river in June so we decided to take a half day trip down the river.

The two person kayak seemed robust and after we strapped on our sealed barrel containing a camera and a picnic we gingerly launched ourselves into the flow of the river. We soon got the hang of the paddles and managed to steer round the big rock a kilometre down the river from Vallon-Pont-d'Arc. The next series of rapids were easy going with no real obstacles and we stopped for lunch on a pebble bank feeling buoyant and with a confidence about our paddling skills.

The rapids beyond were the tricky ones and we set out aiming to pass the first obstacle to the left and then turn sharp right to ride the rapids. My turn was too tight and we were beached on some rocks mid stream providing entertainment for the crowds. Two or three minutes of pushing with the paddles got us off but we turned the opposite way and got caught in the fast water. We went down backwards but I bet we looked cool from the banks!

We were soon paddling under Pont d'Arc and it seemed only sensible to pull in and enjoy an afternoon swim. It was one of those moments that felt just perfect: warm day, easy swimming, everyone happy and only another 3 kilometres to go down mainly tranquil waters. We were paddling with some style as we reached the landing and hauled the kayak up to the bus and trailer.

We had hoped to find an ice cream on the drive back to our room at Le Garn but the consolation was our daily ration of cherries and apricots when we arrived back. A walk around the cherry and almond orchards and then a 4 course meal in Barjac completed the perfect day until the heavy rock band appeared in the square, Led Zeppelin are responsible for a lot of over zealous imitators.

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