I hadn’t planned to go paddling this weekend. However, someone posted a last-minute trip on the Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup group for Lake Cunningham, and I made a last-minute decision to join them.
It turned out to be really last minute, because I overslept, and almost didn’t make it. Fortunately, Lake Cunningham is close, so I tossed the boat and some gear in the back of the truck and headed out. I kept it light – one camera, no GPS, and very little extraneous stuff.
Eventually 20 boaters showed up at the put-in on Lake Cunningham – quite a crowd. Both skill levels and boat types were quite varied. There were a couple of us that had paddled the lake extensively, so I wound up as one of the defacto guides for the trip.
With this many people, it just made sense to launch in shifts. I was ready to go, and there were already three other boats in the water. I launched, then headed upstream toward the lily pad fields. Others followed.
As we wound further upstream, I noticed that the water was much higher and the current significantly stronger than I’d ever seen it. We continued on as far as we could, but eventually reached a small beaver dam where we could go no further.
We headed back the way we came. However, I was concerned that the rest of the group was also behind us, and we would have to pass them on the narrow, winding channel. Fortunately, we were able to find a wide spot to let them pass.
A small group of us – about five boats – decided to continue on toward the main body of the lake. We paddled along the edge toward the fishing dock, then continued out across the lake.
I explored several smaller side coves, but never had any trouble catching back up to our little pod of kayaks. Finally we made it to the dam and water treatment plant, which was the other end of the line for us.
While paddling down to the dam we kept looking back and wondering where everyone else was. As crowded as the lily pad field had been, we had the main body of the lake all to ourselves. Even on the return paddle from the dam we didn’t see anyone. Finally, when we got back to the boat ramp we saw the rest of our group. They had actually portaged over the beaver dam and had continued on upstream for about another mile. Oh well.
At the take-out some were loading up to head home, and others were going to stick around for a cook-out and to discuss upcoming paddling trips. I decided that I’d spent enough time out on the lake, and politely took my leave of the group. It was a nice spur-of-the-moment outing, but I had chores to do back home.