Trip report by the youngest member of the group: Brooke Corso just graduated from TC Central HS, and will be starting college in the fall at Wellesley.
"Well, these people sure look like they know what they're doing" was the first thought to cross my mind as I laid eyes on the Traverse Area Paddle Club. I was about to embark upon my first paddling trip, and I was doing it with the pros. With their sleek kayaks, arsenal of trash grabbing mechanisms, high spirits, and of course, close toed shoes, they were ready to get down to business and collect mad trash. Count me in!
Before we took off, however, Lois had to show me how to properly get into a kayak. How hard could it be? Well, a little hard for someone as clumsy as myself, I learned. I fell in the water on my first attempt. Though eventually I got the hang of it, along with "ferrying" my kayak, which allows you to paddle upstream quickly and easily. Once I felt fully acquainted with my vessel and paddle, I began my journey down the Platte on the hunt for trash.
I searched, scoured, and scanned everywhere I could for anything trash-like. With 17 of us paddlers on the prowl, there wasn't too much trash to go around, making a find all the more exciting! By the time we stopped for lunch I had picked up a fishing ball, pieces of paper, and several wrappers. After eating, we displayed the finest finds, one of which being a small plastic children's chair. Like the tale of Cinderella we tested to see who could fit in the chair, who would be the real trash queen. Thanks to my incredibly small size, it was me!
I was now ready to tackle the afternoon paddle. Along the way several people asked me what our group was doing, and they were incredibly supportive and grateful of our mission - one group even gave me a rice krispie treat treat as a thanks! I collected more wrappers, a piece of rubber, a bottle, and three carabiners, saw snapping turtles and a small army of young kids on tubes.
By the time we reached our landing spot I felt that my paddling had vastly improved and my trash bag was brimming with success. In all, we collected a grand total of 5 large trash bags over the whole trip. The Platte River's beauty is wholly appreciated while kayaking, making it feel so good to fish nasty old bottles out of the mud. It was an absolutely wonderful experience, and I look forward to the more cleanups to come!
Back row: Ben, Will, John, Tom, Sarah, Tracie, Jackie, Terry, Marlene, Marv
Front row: Brooke, Megan, Lois, Camilla, Linda, Doug, Lindy
Doug tries to prove he "fits" on the chair
Brooke shows Doug what "fit" means
Ben and Megan