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I’ve only gotten to go paddling a few times this spring so far, and both were on the Little River in Montgomery County. Both trips though revealed to me how much the river has changed as a result of the two hurricanes we had last year. It is really remarkable how the small trees on the edges are all pushed down, and dirt and sand have shifted around and filled in areas and opened up other areas.

The first trip, a friend and I put in at the Smitherman access off Troy-Candor Road. We met a father and son paddling shortly after we got on the water, but did not see any one else on the water the whole time we were out there. This is a flat-water section, due to the dam on the southern end by Capelsie, and we paddled all the way to where we were in sight of Capelsie Road before turning around and heading back.

Everywhere along the trip there were small trees on the banks that had been pushed over by what must have been a tremendous amount of water rushing through here during the previous year’s storms. I remembered one area from paddling there last year that a tree was almost across the river, and that must have been washed away by the flow.

The second paddle trip of this year was on Little River putting in at Pekin Road. A friend and I paddled upstream about an hour to see a large sycamore she had seen on a previous trip. My friends who are big tree hunters are coming back into town in a couple weeks and we’re looking for a place to paddle where we might spot a large tree, so I was eager to check this one out. Unfortunately, though the base of the tree was extremely large, the tree broke off into three stems shortly up from the base. My friend told me that if there are multiple stems on a tree, you can only measure the largest stem, so this one was not a contender. However, it is still a very nice tree and I was excited to get to see it.

Just like the first stretch of the Little River, the smaller trees along the banks had been pushed down and many washed away entirely. One area shortly after you leave the put-in I’m pretty sure used to have a divided area, where you could paddle either side, but that had filled up with sand. It looked like some of the two old bridge pilings before you get to that spot had washed away as well. Paddling this area in the past, I don’t remember hitting rocks so close to the put-in, but there were a few spots along the way where I ran into them with my boat. It may be that the water was just low, but it could be that the storms moved some of those around as well.

On the way back, there were a few folks near the put-in chain sawing some trees making a campsite. They were grateful there were still some trees left in that area for shade, as much of the river they had been washed away entirely. I look forward to paddling other sections of Little River and other rivers in our area this spring and summer and seeing how they may have changed from last year’s hurricanes and related flash floods. It’s amazing how much power nature has and to see the visible impacts really drives that home. I’ll report back on other findings I make while kayaking other stretches in the future.