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Village Creek 2 - Sophie Lopez's Report
   December 13, 2009
by
Sophie Lopez

Editor's note: Sophie Lopez is one of our newest members and we are delighted that she submitted this great trip report. Thanks Sophie!

Well, what can I say ... If you go on a trip lead by Ken McDowell; make sure to eat your “Wheaties” before leaving home!!! He made sure we all got a good workout; and, funny thing is, we all seemed to have a terrific time doing it!

The day started out very early (it was still dark)! This turned out to be a major accomplishment for me after staying up late the night before in order to do the Dickinson paddle with Paul (great evening, by the way!). But, I met my carpool (Milton Robertson) around 6:30 AM and we made the pleasant ~ 2 Hr drive to the put-in at the Hwy 96 Bridge over Village Creek. It was a great spot; very easy to find, and had plenty of space for all of our vehicles, the shuttle drivers, and all the boat maneuverings. Good thing, too! Because Ken had a great turnout! I’m not sure of what the total number of participants was, but it was a BIG group. I met so many people that I forgot half of their names and got several of the names mixed up before it was all over... Sorry guys! But, I can honestly say that every one of them was absolutely AWESOME!

Several of us got very close on the way to the put-in spot up river at the Hwy. 327 Bridge. We all had to pile into the two shuttle trucks for the drive. Some of us even sat on the humps in the middle of the front seat. Of course, we didn’t like THAT! We threw our fearless leader, Ken, to ride in the bed of one of the trucks as punishment. And, he was still all smiles! He sure is an easygoing person. When we got there and were unloading, someone made the comment that we reminded them of the “clown cars”. And, so the Adventure began! I say adventure because it was more than just a paddle; it was a true adventure... an all-day adventure.

The put-in was smooth and we could just walk up to the bank and slide into our boats and be off. John Bartos lead most of us down the creek as Ken waited for late arrivals. He paddled hard and caught up with us later. It was a very relaxing and peaceful paddle. There was just enough current flowing to make for an easy day. We went into several channels that lead off from the main body of water to explore and found lots of duck decoys all over the place. We saw lots of ducks flying overhead as we paddled along, so we kind of felt sorry for the poor things. There seems to be a lot of duck hunting going on in that area. I’m afraid some of the decoys may have floated away... somehow. We also came across a big, healthy-looking hawk that was poised on a branch high up in a tree overlooking the river. We watched each other for quite a while before he got a little nervous and spread his wings to fly away. We made several stops on sandbars along the way and were able to rest, mingle, and snack before continuing on. Each time we got out of our boats, we were able to feel how COLD the water was. It seemed to be getting a lot colder as we went along downriver. Harmon was wishing he had brought along a thermometer to check the water temps. There was one spot on the river that really felt like we had entered into a really cold air-conditioned room. David Caddy and I noticed it at the same time. It gave us a chill when we got to it. But, on we went. It took us about 4 hours to make the ~10 mile trip. We all seemed to have a great time! When we got to the take-out again, we were all ready to eat. But, Ken wasn’t done with us, yet!

We went on to the Roy Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary and Ken led us through about a third of the total trail system. Don’t be fooled, though, this was still enough to tire out most of us! When he stopped and asked us which way we wanted to take for the return trip to our vehicles, the question most of us had was, “Which way is shorter?” He pointed out lots of different trees, bushes, flowers. We got to see the Dr. Seuss tree in various stages of growth! We came across entire villages of ant hills. They seemed to be leaf-cutters and were actively at work carrying their treasures back down into their mounds. There were lots of mushrooms and fungi of all types and colors. We also found lots of animal tracks in the sand. Joe got lots of good photo shots on this hike, I’m sure. By the time we made the loop and got back to our vehicles, we were starving!

Darn! Wouldn’t you know it? The Catfish Village was now closed. That’s all we talked about all day. We could practically “taste” the catfish. Well, maybe next time; we had to settle for Casa Olé, instead. And, they didn’t even have a decent Margarita! They offered up something made with Mike’s Hard Lemonade instead of Tequila! No one was willing to try one, needless to say. After a full day, we deserved the real thing! Dinner was still very good and we enjoyed each other's company tremendously. By the time we paid our checks and went outside, it had gotten extremely dark on us! Finally, Ken let us leave to go home! We all had a great day; a full day of fun! Ken made sure we got a total workout, upper body and lower body! And we all went home happy, tired, with full bellies, and thoroughly relaxed. If you get the chance to do this trip in the future, I say Do it! You’ll love it!

Big thanks to EVERYONE for making it such a great day! I look forward to paddling with ya’ll again!

-Sophie

Sophie Lopez

~~~ The End ~~~