The Haw River Paddler



“Man is whole when he is in tune with the winds, the stars, and the hills . . . Being in tune with the universe is the entire secret.” – Supreme Court Justin, William O. Douglas


I intended for all of our blogs to be about nature, paddling, conservation, upcoming events and the Haw River, but I am diverging this time to brag about two people who work here at The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co.; Jake Matheny and Lawrence Petersen.

Late in the day last Sunday, we received a call from a private paddler whose friend pinned a kayak in the Haw River and was calling for help.  She described where the incident had taken place and wanted to know where they might walk out.  They tried to free the kayak, but it was getting late, and they were not sure how far downriver their planned take-out was.  After her brief description of the area, we were able to tell her how far downriver she could go ashore and begin walking to the nearest residence and eventually the take-out.  We also described how her friend could safely ride on the back of her kayak so that the two of them could reach land.  Leaving the pinned kayak, the two women were able to make it to where we told them they would be able to walk out.  It did not take long to find someone at home to help them get to their car.

Lawrence was able to stay in communication with the two women, so he was aware that they were safe and the kayak was left behind.  After we closed up shop for the day, both he and Jake went to retrieve the kayak.  Jake threw a kayak and rescue gear into the back of his pickup truck and Lawrence led him the 9 miles are so to where Jake could gain access to the river.  Jake paddled upriver, got the kayak un-pinned just before dark and brought the kayak to our office.  The women will pick it up this coming weekend.

The reason I am writing about this is because I am so proud of who Lawrence and Jake are.  They didn’t have to go rescue the kayak.  They could have left that problem for the two women to solve.  The fact is they put themselves out because it was the right thing to do, not because somehow they would benefit.  If they were my sons, I could not be prouder.