Hiker Trash Turned River Rats

The idea of aquablazing has intrigued me from the start. It seemed like something that would be a nice change of pace to break up the hike a little bit. I never knew I would actually do it until it happened.

The decision….

Hooter has to go home for a while. It saddens both of us.  We’ve been hiking together for 2 years and started this trail together. I figured it would be awesome to do something different before her break. She’ll pick back up on the trail with me at some point.  I had to brainstorm things that we could do to make the week just a little different…. it was a good decision.


Opportunity knocked….

We woke up one morning in Glasgow with every intention of hiking to Waynesboro. That didn’t happen. We suddenly found ourselves in a truck with Yonder and his canoe. We made it to Waynesboro and that is when the decision was made. Before I knew it, Dur-pa-dur (our long time trail friend) was meeting up with us in Waynesboro after going home for the weekend. So, with me and Dur-pa-dur in one boat, Yonder and Hooter in another, and Shades and Tattoo taking on another, we all became river rats.


The experience…

Aquablazing goes against everything we have adjusted to as hikers. You get to carry as much food as you want. You don’t have a pack on your back for 10 hours a day. I didn’t touch my boots all week. For a few days, it seemed like we were the only ones on the river. So here’s what I now know about aquablazing…

  • Camping on the river is a challenge. We are so used to setting up camp where ever we want. Finding an actual site is rare. You may find yourself asking homeowners if you can camp on their land…..
  • Getting into town is a challenge.  Before Front Royal, I’m not sure if towns exist on the river.
  • Ever skimped on a resupply because an item was too heavy? Go ahead and grab those twizzlers and hotdogs! While living on a river, you have the luxury of a cooler!
  • Be prepared for anything. After a gash, a hole,  and a panel falling off of a boat, you realize accidents to happen.
  • Rain is colder on the river.
  • Paddling is not faster than hiking.
  • Aquablazing is not nearly as popular as I thought it would be.
  • The smell that lingers off of you is way worse than hiking. Take that hiker smell and add nasty river water, muck, and mildew to the mix.
  • Lunch breaks are more interesting


  • Packing and unpacking is even more tedious on the river. It’s a pain in a whole other class. Not only are you packing and unpacking for camp, you are packing and unpacking for portages, rides, and everything else.



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