We are surrounded by bodies of water here in the Ohio Valley, from the banks of the Ohio River to the creeks that run deep into our more rural areas.
One local group is taking advantage of this natural resource to have some fun.
When you think of kayaking, you may think of white water, raging rapids, and expert skill.
But in the Ohio Valley, it’s a growing hobby for families and friends at a much calmer pace, especially for beginners.
“I love the exercise, being outside in nature, I love the friendship, comradery, all the people I’ve met– a great sport for all ages,” said Justin Ebeling with the Creek Yakkers group.
If you’re thinking you’re ready to hit the water, there are some key things you need to know first.
“First things first, you want to go with a buddy. Go with someone who knows the water. A flotation device, kayak, a route planned out, tell somebody where you’re going in case something happens,” said Jesse Mestrovic with OVAdventure.com.
Some great resources you’ll want to utilize are Jesse’s website, OVAdventure.com for lists of float trips you can do across the Ohio Valley.
Also, you can use the Hydrographs from the National Weather Service to check the levels before heading out on the water.
“We’re a little over two-feet today. 1.8 is lowest you want to go on Wheeling Creek, don’t go over five-feet, that’s flood stage, if you can’t swim in it, don’t boat it.”
A great route to start with in the Wheeling area: put in behind Patterson Ballfields in Elm Grove, following Wheeling Creek to the Mt DeChantal Kroger area to take out. The route takes about two hours.
The Creek Yakkers Facebook page is another great local kayaking resource.
“We decided, we need to meet these people, so we started the page, printed decals, five years later we have almost 1,000 members and people are out almost every single day,” said Ebeling.
Kayaking is an initial investment in the equipment, but once you have your boat and life jacket, and learn of course, it’s a hobby that your entire family, even the dog, can enjoy this summer.
You can connect with the Facebook group mentioned by just searching Creek Yakkers on Facebook.
Also check out OVAdventure.com for more outdoor activities you can do with your family this summer.