I wasn't very nervous or excited before the start since I was busy shooting pictures till the very last minute. It seems that I am always starting at the same row as Erin Magee. The only difference is that she is earning her starting position in the preliminaries and I am getting it as an out of state paddler. I followed Erin through the first dam portage near Joe's Crab Shack. Next time, I saw her at the award ceremony at Seadrift ...
San Marcos River was significantly lower than during my training run a couple days earlier - fewer waves swamping my boat. There were a lot of trees and logs in the river between Stapples and Palmetto. There were slowing me down since I had not paddled that part of the river since the TWS 2003. So, I arrived to Palmetto somewhat later than in my previous safari, just before 9 pm.
During that day I heard a lot of compliments about my website during portages and on the river. That was nice and a little bit strange. I heard "I love your website" from Ann Best when portaging Rio Vista. Later, somebody stopped me with the same words when I was dragging my boat across Palmetto bridge.
Below Palmetto I followed in the darkness several tandem canoes including two Zeek teams. Girls were singing when paddling and it was very pleasant night, except, that I needed in my solo much more time to go over every obstacle than tandem boats. When we reached the logjam portage I was quite tired and left behind. I paddled the remaining San Marcos and Guadelupe River to the Gonzales checkpoint alone. I reached Gonzales about 3 am, at the same time as in 2003, and stopped for 2 hour sleeping break in my hammock.
gift ideas for paddlers, racers, and photographers ...
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