A Fine Day for a Float Down a River

Yesterday was a perfect summer day….for floating down the Deerfield River. I can always count on my friends Jack and Laura to motivate me to get moving. Either it’s a bike ride, a hike to a new undiscovered forest, or floating down a river–they are my primary motivators to move, and I am always glad when I answer their call.

I drove the scooter up to their house in Greenfield and in the backyard I found a flotilla of various shapes and sizes…they had a giant green ring about 10 feet wide, an enormous plastic inflated armchair, assorted inner tubes and two big yellow rafts. Clearly, they were ready for the river!

We piled into Jack’s big truck and coordinated with three other river floaters, John, Nuritan and Sydney, and set 0ff for a part of western Mass called ‘Zoar.’ Here two big river raft and kayaking companies offer hundreds a chance to glide down the rapids. We passed an encampment of kayaking people, a sort of tradeshow offering paddles, rafts, kayaks and gear and drove further up river for our embarkation point. The flow was huge, with all of the rain and the timed release of water we found would take place just before our journey.

Into the fast moving current we went, and began picking up speed straight away. It was a delicious float, just the right speed, and just a few rapids to make it interesting. We passed by campers who had set up pup tents on the river banks, and dozens of sleek little kayaks bobbed past. I never knew that one could get tired out just by floating that long but after our five-mile leisurely float, we were all dog tired and ready for a cookout.