A Day on the Green River.

The appropriately named Green River in South Central Kentucky

It was a beautiful day in central Kentucky, sunny with temperatures in the high 70s, a great day for exploring one of the state’s many rivers.  Kentucky has literally thousands of miles of navigable waterways, making it a great place for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts!  From Lawrenceburg, I drove south for about 50 miles on Hwy 127 to Casey County in south-central Kentucky.  My destination for today’s paddle was the Green River.  The Green River stretches 384 miles from its starting point north-east of Casey County all the way to the Ohio River.  The river flows generally in an east – west direction and goes through the famous Mammoth Cave National Park.  About a mile south of the small town of Liberty, I put-in my kayak under the bridge on Hwy 127.  Access to the river was easy and there was a small, flat rocky beach which allowed me to set-up my inflatable kayak free from the thick mud so common on the banks of most Kentucky rivers!  The water level was high and the river was moving at about 2-3 knots.  During my 12 mile trip, I didn’t see another person on the river, I guess it’s still early in the season for kayaking and canoeing.  I did however see plenty of wildlife, of course, the typical kingfishers, canada geese and numerous ducks were everywhere… but the tree filled with a dozen blue herons and their nests was a first for me.  The recent heavy rains caused a few trees to fall across the entire width of the river.  One advantage of having an inflatable kayak, at 26 pounds, is that it is easily carried across logs!  After about 3 hours, I reached the bridge on Hwy 1640, just north of the small town of Dunnville, my take-out point.  The east bank of the river just south of the bridge had a nice grassy area where I broke-down the kayak and stored everything for the trip home!  As you can see in a few of the pictures, the Green River is appropriately named.  What a great day!          

Green River in Casey County Kentucky.
The Innova Safari Kayak in a duffel bag for easy transport.

A few recommendations / tips for anyone interested in an inflatable kayak.  The obvious advantage of an inflatable is that it will be easy to transport.  Most inflatables fit into a bag the size of a large duffel.  They are light-weight and more durable than one might think!  My Innova Safari has traveled from the USA to Europe, Africa and South America without damage.  Depending on the Airline, there may or may not be an oversized baggage charge for shipping your kayak as a second piece of luggage.  I have not been charged additional fees on United or Lufthansa during my travels.  The Innova backpack that comes with your kayak is good for short distances, but I have found that you will eventually need to reinforce the shoulder straps where they connect to the bag as the stitching has come loose on my bag.  I purchased a rolling duffel to make airline travel more secure.  The Innova bag does not secure well enough for most airlines.  The top on the Innova bag is similar to a dry-bag, you can roll it up and then close it with a plastic snap.  The problem is that if the snap opens, the contents will easily fall out.  I recommend if you are planning to travel with the Innova Kayak bag, you place it inside another bag for added security.  In the red duffel pictured above, I can fit the Innova Safari Kayak, the K-Pump, a lifejacket, my 4 piece paddle, dive booties for my feet, 3 small dry boxes for my cell phone, wallet, keys and other small items, an extra set of clothing and a large dry bag.  When loaded with all these items, the bag weighs about 35 pounds.  Remember that with an inflatable kayak, your are not going to be able to carry as much gear as you can with a similar length plastic or fiberglass kayak.  Additionally, you will work harder to paddle an inflatable as some of the power you generate to move through the water will be lost because inflatables are not rigid.  That’s not to say they are bricks in the water, just that you will probably not win an olympic medal in an inflatable kayak.  For the type of paddling I like, mostly flat water rivers, streams and lakes or along the coasts and bays in the ocean, an inflatable kayak has been a great choice for me!

The Innova Kayak backpack which easily fits into the duffel.
The Innova Safari Kayak before inflation.
The Innova Safari Kayak ready to sail!
The Green River in Casey County Kentucky.
Kayaking the Green River in South Central Kentucky.
Nesting Blue Heron Cranes.
A few obstacles along the Green River.
The appropriately named Green River.
During the take-out, I came across a few cow-sucker snakes.
A cow-sucker snake on the 1640 bridge over the Green River. 
A beautiful creature, a cow-sucker snake!

I don’t know why I always seem to find snakes…. Mambas in Africa, Rattlers in the Mojave Desert, Copperheads on the Kentucky River and now…. Cow-suckers on the Green River!