East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival: Seans’ perspective.

Hellooo Paddlers,

I’ m back from ECCKF in Charleston, South Carolina. What an AWESOME time I had while I was there. Also I ‘m sure that Jeff had a great time too, but I will let him do his own posting and not speak for him.

Peggy, KayakKev and I left at about 5:30 a.m. headed for Charleston on Thurday(04/15). The drive up was pretty uneventful, the usual 8 hr. drive through the states of Florida, Georgia and Sth. Carolina. We arrived about 2:30 p.m. (potty breaks) at James Island Campground and went to check-in.

After check-in, Kevin and I went to drop off some stuff that we were carrying for Russell Farrow at the Sweetwater Kayaks Tent. Upon arrival at the tent we were greeted by Russell, Nigel Foster, and Jake Stachovak (Portage to Portage Project). It was great to see Jake again as he is still on his 5000+ mile expedition around the eastern seaboard to promote the fact that we are all connected by water! But thats a whole ‘nother story check out his site for full details( link on the side of our site). After dropping off the Sweetwater gear, Kevin and I headed back to set up camp with Peggy.

We set up camp in about 1 1/2 hrs. and Peggy started dinner. Kev & Peggy just got a new tent  “Mansion” that I just had to tell you about! Its REALLY BIG, like 1000 Sq. feet.(seems like it). I got to stay in the “Servants quarters”- a small Sierra Designs free standing tent. I’m not complaining- just a funny site to see GIANT tent vs. tiny tent. Anyway we ate a great dinner that the lovely Shelly(my wife) pre-made. After dinner was spent around the campfire enjoying the beautiful Charleston weather.

Friday(04/16): Begins with a cool spring morning and the sounds of nature all around. Peggy made Kev & I, a wonderful breakfast of eggs, cheesy hashbrowns; and Shelly sent turkey sausage & bacon cup quiches also for us to eat- Yummy!! After breakfast we all went down to the lake by bicycle(thank you, K&P for the bike rental) to see old paddling friends and instructors/coaches we knew. I also got to do some paddling of 4 new boats- Tiderace Explore, P&H Cetus LV, North Shore Polar(exped.) & Shoreline(play/daytripper). Also got to lay my eyes on a Rockpool Alaw Bach- very nice looking British design. After spending some time at the lake and hanging out with the paddler people it was back to camp for a cuban dinner of black beans, yellow rice & Picadillo meat courtesy of Shelly. Followed by a shower and more time spent around the campfire eating vanilla ice cream and some strawberries with Peggy, Kevin, and Don & Donna Thompson(from Big Ds’ Kayaking). We had a saying this trip: Camp 8, Stays Up Late! that was pretty accurate as we were up late every night.

Sat.(04/17): Got up and had another awesome breakfast provided by “Cracker Peggy”- Blueberry pancakes, peanut butter on top, then covered by strawberries and a light drizzle of syrup. Followed by a bike ride to work off some of the calories! Then it was down to the Sweetwater Tent to help Russell out with the goings on of the symposium. It was during this time that Russell borrowed Jakes’ kayak for a kayak camping lecture he was giving across the lake. After Russell was done he came back and told Jake he had left his boat on the other side.  I could tell Jake was having seperation anxiety, so I offered to tow him back over to get it.

Jake agreed with me, that would be better than swimming the whole way across. We commandered a kayak from the demos and Jake jumped on the stern for a tow across. WAY TOO FUNNY!- Jake on the back kicking like a preschooler at swim class and me paddling half sinking all the way across! I am sure those who saw us were giggling as much as we were. We then finished helping Russell out.

This was followed by dinner with Jake at camp 8! Peggy out did herself with a dinner of: Steak, Salmon, sqaush/zucchinni & fresh tomatoes. I am sure I left something out, but @#^* was it GOOD! Then Kevin, Jake and I rode the bikes down to the lake for a paddling show put on by Karen Knight, Nigel Foster, Dubside, and last but not least; wait for it…….. Don & Donna Thompson of Big Ds’ Kayaking! Very cool show and it is obvious why these paddlers are at the top of the sport! After this there was more time spent around the campfire with Kevin, Peggy, Jake & Jeff and those darn good Vanilla Wafers- YUM!!

Sun. (04/18): Got up and started to break down camp as this was our last day in the World of the Paddlers. Peggy made eggs and we finished the bacon cup quiches up with Russell who showed up and joined us for breakfast! Thanks Russell we enjoyed your company. After breakfast we finished packing up camp and I headed back over to the Sweetwater tent to help out for a couple hours till Russell was done with his last class of the weekend. Peggy & Kevin showed up shortly after and we left Charleston around 1:45 p.m. We did manage to stop on the way out for lunch at Bessingers Bar-B-Que for a buffet that was just down right great southern food! The drive back was pretty uneventful except for the fits of 8 hour carride delirium, yes we got to laughing like darn fools on the ride home!!!

So if you ever get the chance to go to the ECCKF- DO IT!! Way Too Much Fun!Later post coming on the demo kayaks I paddled!!

— Sean

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